Adoption: Remembering the Miracle

Time and experience have taught me a priceless lesson: Any child you take for your own becomes your own if you give of yourself to that child. I have born two children and had seven others by adoption, and they are all my children, equally beloved and precious. Dale Evans, Singer, Actress

Most human beings yearn for the opportunity to hold the title of mommy and daddy. There is something instinctual about this desire but when conception fails to occur, whether caused by infertility or otherwise, a crucible can ensue. Some resign themselves to a childless future. Others seek medical intervention such as in vitro fertilization or other procedures. However, a growing majority seek adoption as a means to begin or increase their posterity. Whatever the purpose, the common denominators when a couple decides to adopt are desire and love.

My wife and I adopted our first girl when she was a day old. Before she was born, we had the opportunity to meet her biological mother. She was beaming and in full bloom with her large belly stretching out her maternity clothes. This beautiful young woman became pregnant at a time she wasn’t ready to be a mother. Given her difficult situation, she decided to go to an adoption agency. She found our file and fell in love. So did we. This woman was an answer to many nights of praying and pleading that the miracle of parenthood would be ours. Two months later, a 7 lb. 11 oz. bundle was placed in our arms all because of the sacrifice of a young woman—for the love of her child.

Many who have gone through the emotional process of adoption have similar stories although others’ experiences are quite opposite. Regardless of circumstances, the foundation of desire and love are constant. The reality, however, is that anytime we open our hearts to love, a chance always exists that our hearts can be broken. In the case of adoption, difficulties with the biological parents or families might arise; a child might exhibit chronic health or behavioral issues as a result of past trauma or neglect; parents might find themselves struggling with bonding to the child. The miracle of adoption can fade as a dim memory with only a flicker of the original bonfire.

Parents need to remember the miracle of adoption and re-kindle the fire of love and desire. May I recommend some helpful suggestions as they relate to the adopted child:

  • Celebrate your child’s adoption story. If you adopted your child as an infant or a toddler, find unique ways to celebrate a special adoption anniversary. The way you react and speak of their adoption will mold their thinking on how they feel about being adopted. Tell them their adoption story every so often. From the moment of their adoption, let them know they are adopted and how special they are. Not only will your child feel loved, but you will remember and honor the miracle as well.
  • Consider a child to have special needs if adopted over the age of one. An older child may have experienced difficult things in their young life but try not to label them as such. This is your child. Advocate for them, educate yourself, learn of community resources that can help. But above all else, allow your child to be a child. Let them play and explore their interests. Children must have love, nourishment, support, and structure—consider that your child may not have been originally given these critical needs.
  • If you haven’t informed your child that he or she is adopted, now is the time to make this known. Children should know from the beginning that they are adopted. Parents who are uncomfortable telling their child are missing out on sharing one of the most powerful stories their child will ever hear. If you are still uncomfortable or fear the child will react angrily, I would advise that you seek out a good therapist. They can help.
  • If you have both biological and adopted children, please remember the importance of treating your children with equality. For example, if you celebrate an important anniversary with the adopted kids, make sure you create equal opportunities to celebrate special days for your biological kids. If your family visits the biological family of one of the kids, create an opportunity to have your biological children to visit somebody or do something special. The more the consistency, the more they will see each other as equals.

These are just a few recommendations among many situations that could come up with adoption. As you remember the miracle of your children, whether biological or adopted, the more you will find joy in your day-to-day parenting. Do you have any suggestions or special circumstances that you’d like to share if you’ve gone through the adoption experience? Share your stories and let’s learn from one another concerning this important topic.

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