When I was around three-months-old, I was adopted into a loving family. My older brother is also adopted. Adoption was a major part of our family’s story and culture growing up.
We were told about how my parents struggled to get pregnant and pursued adoption, only to find the “perfect” babies to form their family. My relationship with my parents was healthy and probably no different from many other kid’s who weren’t adopted.
We laughed together, cried together. They taught me to ride a bike, bake a pie, take care of the dog.
Now, I’m a parent of two lovely babes. Although they aren’t adopted, I can’t help but consider how being adopted myself has affected my parenting.
Being an adopted mom, there are a few things I can’t help but emphasize in my parenting style.
Here are a few ways I feel that being adopted has affected my motherhood:
1. I focus on loving my kids for exactly who they are, not where they came from.
What I hear from strangers regarding my kids:
“He looks just like his daddy!”
“She’s got your red hair!”
“He’ll be a ball player like his daddy!”
What my parents heard:
“Where’d she get her red hair?”
“Who does he look like?”
“Oh! They’re adopted? What do you know about their real parents?”
It is tempting to look at my kiddos and admire the traits I see reflected from myself or my husband. But kids aren’t extensions of ourselves, they are completely separate beings with their own set of emotions and passions.
Being adopted, I couldn’t contribute or blame certain traits on my parents. I was loved for the different little girl that I was apart from them. That was so liberating to me. I loved horses because I loved horses, not because my mom loved them. I wasn’t “smart like daddy” I was smart like me.
Adopted or not, each child is his or her own person.
My mom and I finish each other’s sentences, share interests, mannerisms and values. And now as a mom, I love seeing my influence on my own kiddos and I view my job as their mother as extremely important.
But I also truly believe that they have interests and decisions they will have and make that are all their own. I’m excited to learn more of their quirks and passions and love them for exactly who they are and are created to be.
2. I am intentional about teaching them to hear and value other’s stories.
Being adopted gave me a unique story. When I tell my story, I hear so many others come out and tell theirs. My birth mother was 19 and pregnant. She needed someone to hear her story.
My parents were struggling with infertility and chose adoption. Their story needed to be heard.
Listening and caring about people is important. Helping others to feel validated and loved gives hope. I want my kids to not pass by people without wondering about each and every important story. I want them to love each individual not for their occupation or looks, but for who they are deep inside and to know their stories.
3. Each day, I am thankful for the chance to mother my children.
Growing up, my parents would tell me the story of how they “got me.” It was unique and special and made me feel wanted and secure. They would talk about how thankful they are for my life and that someone was so loving to give me up. That has always stuck with me.
When I look at my babes, I feel overwhelmingly thankful. I feel thankful that I get to raise these beings and be with them every day.
4. I am openhanded when it comes to parenting and adoption.
Parents who adopt realize that they’ve been given this big and beautiful gift, but that fact rings true for every child. My kids, even though I birthed them, don’t “belong” to me. In a sense, they were given to me.
As an adopted adult, adopting other kids feels very natural to me. Watching my parents raise and love me has allowed me to be very open to the idea of adopting my own kids in the future.
5. I am passionate about the pro-life movement.
Many babies are aborted for many reasons. One reason, I believe, is because adoption isn’t encouraged as an option to many people. When talking to a friend in college that was considering abortion, I told her my story of adoption. She had never even considered carrying the child and giving him to somebody else. Our culture says that a mother must have an abortion or raise the child.
When talking about adoption, many people say, “I’m not opposed to adoption.” I think that’s great—but I feel like not being opposed is different from being passionate. Being passionate about adoption will influence mothers to choose adoption.
When they see people adopting, supporting mothers and families that are involved in the process, and talking about adoption with love and excitement, as opposed to whispers and grimaces; that is when the culture of adoption will change.
Do you have a story to share about abortion, adoption, life, or motherhood? Email us at [email protected].