When you are introduced to a couple that has adopted a child, what’s your first reaction? Do you become uneasy? Unsure what to do, what to say, how to react? Being adoptive parents, let us reassure you… you are meeting just another child. We’re not talking aliens here. It’s laughable because at first, many people don’t know how to react to the fact you’ve decided to adopt and we’d like to take the taboo out of adoption.
You’ve probably heard, “you’ll never love another baby like your own” before. When you adopt – that baby IS your own. While there are certainly families that are made to be biological families, just the same – there are families that adopt and they genuinely were made for just that. Here’s what we hope you take from this, though: Whether you adopt or whether you have children biologically – we’re all families just the same.
There are families that take great care to hide the fact that their child is adopted for fear that the child will be rejected. We have no room to judge those families. We, on the other hand, chose to adopt a beautiful baby girl from China. With two red-headed parents, there’s not much hiding that LeeLoo isn’t our biological daughter… and that’s perfectly fine with us
We adopted LeeLoo at about 1.5 years old and any question she’s asked us about her adoption – if we have the answer – we’re very honest with her. When she was about 4 years old, we started getting the questions from people. “Does she know she’s adopted?” Sometimes it’s hard not to be sarcastic when answering that question. Clearly our daughter doesn’t look like us – we weren’t going to lie about it. As she’s grown and people have come to know her, the questions have slowed quite a bit. Finally, people are seeing her as LeeLoo. Not “the Chinese girl” or “the adopted girl”… simply LeeLoo and that’s exactly who she is.
LeeLoo is the goofy girl who runs out the door, leaving doors open behind her – just the same as your children do. And when I follow after her yelling, “Were you born in a barn?!”, her quick witted response typically goes like this: “Could have been but we will never know now will we.” To say she doesn’t see herself as adopted would be misleading you. She does see herself as adopted and she embraces it because she knows her family loves and accepts her. We chose her. Sometimes, she even assumes other children are adopted too if they come from multi-cultural families. We all tend to see life from the perspectives we know.
Our hope is that others stop seeing Mya – the girl from Ethiopia or Milo – that kid from Kazakhstan and start seeing the person behind the name or behind the nationality. LeeLoo is the same as your teenagers, but she has qualities that make her unique and beautiful like your kids are. Sometimes she’s shy. She’s in gymnastics just like your kids. She’s playful, she’s funny, we quarrel, we laugh and sometimes we’re sad together. Just like your family.
When it comes right down to it, there’s nothing taboo at all about choosing to love someone and to make them part of your family. There are plenty of people that informally adopt brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, moms and dads. Do you have someone in your life that you couldn’t love any more if they were blood related? That’s adoption. That’s love – and there’s more than enough to go around.