For National Adoption Awareness Month, we asked adoptees and their families to share with us their thoughts, feelings and experiences regarding adoption. This is one adoptive father’s perspective about what changed HIS.
Written by Super-Spouse, my favorite guest blogger of all time
I am not quite sure how the topic of adoption always seems to come up when I meet new people, but it seems that I have had the same conversation hundreds of times about being an adoptive father.
I never mention that I have adopted sons because I don’t think of them as adopted. They are just my boys, no different than the two biological children we have. But somehow, new conversations frequently turn to them.
Sometimes the conversation starts when I show a picture of the family.
Other times it may begin when I mention our time in China or that we purchased a large van to haul our boys and their medical equipment.
Regardless of how the conversation begins, I always enjoy the opportunity to talk about our family experience with adoption. But when I was thinking about what to write for this post, I started to wonder why the same questions and comments generally come up during each conversation.
The closest thing to an answer I could come up with was PERSPECTIVE.
It really is hard to understand adoption until you have experienced it. Although at times it has been difficult, frustrating and emotional, adoption has changed me more than almost anything else in my life, all for the better.
And it has changed my perspective.
One of the first things people say when we breach the topic of adoption is how lucky our adopted boys are to have a loving family — how they are blessed that we chose to adopt them.
This is the one that is hardest for me to understand but is the easiest to answer.
They are not the lucky ones. WE are the ones who are blessed.
We didn’t choose these boys. God, in His grace, chose them to complete our family. And even though each boy came from a place of brokenness we would give anything to fix, each boy filled a hole that made our family complete. Something was missing before they arrived. And I can’t even remember what our family was like without them.
They taught me that flesh and blood don’t make family. Love does. The relationship, which takes time and effort to foster, is what is important. And there is no difference between biological and adopted children.
In a father’s eyes, they are all the same.
I have learned from their strength.
Even though they started life with brokenness, abandonment and “special needs” that my wife just calls “superpowers in disguise,” they have never for a second let those things hold them back. They continue to excel, not realizing that they are supposed to be “disadvantaged” and never letting anything keep them from their goals. In fact, I often feel caught off guard when others ask about our children’s “special needs” because most of the time I forget they have them.
These boys don’t for one moment let those get in their way.
These two boys have taught me what true strength of character is. I am amazed at how they have grown, overcome and exceeded all expectations of what conventional wisdom said would be possible for them.
They are amazing, and I know there is no limit to what they will achieve.
They are not the lucky ones. WE are. And I am so grateful for what they have taught me.
The other common questions I often hear: Why special needs? How might that affect the family’s future? And what if they are not self-sufficient when they are older?
The only answer I have to these questions after being changed by these boys and this process — WHY NOT? I don’t see these boys as children with “special needs.” They are just boys.
Boys who need a loving family.
Boys who want to wrestle on the trampoline.
Boys who want to build forts and climb trees.
Children who have so much potential and who are stronger than we can imagine because of the adversity they were forced to overcome early in life.
They are God’s children, no different in His eyes.
They are no different in mine, either.
Once again, I often forget that they are considered “special needs” because I see what they are capable of. They don’t let special needs get in their way.
Why should I?
Then I try to remember how I felt before we adopted.
It is hard to mentally go to that place because I feel like these boys have always been with us, and it’s hard to remember a time when I didn’t love them as my sons.
But I do remember worrying.
I wondered how the biological boys would adapt. I worried about the unknown.
What if these children had more significant needs than the doctor reports stated?
What if they didn’t attach?
What if this was not the right thing for our family?
I don’t know if these are normal thoughts all adopted fathers have before committing to their children. But I do know that, although I felt confident in God’s calling, I worried … all the way to China.
The thing is, all these concerns completely disappeared on Gotcha Day.
Seeing these boys, just for what and who they were, as perfect and deserving children of God, made me realize that they were already a part of our family.
They were just boys who needed a home.
They were just like our biological boys.
And God was giving us the privilege of calling them sons.
Immediately, the doubt was gone, and my perspective completely changed.
Now, I really can’t imagine our lives without them.