While there are different reasons a person would adopt someone else’s child to raise as their own, the level of compassion, understanding, patience, commitment and love that it takes to make this happen is the same on all counts.
Some people adopt because, for whatever reason—medical, age, etc., they cannot produce a biological child of their own. Some people have started a biological family and decide the best way to grow their family is through adoption. Sometimes people adopt because the child is a relative who has been displaced through death of their parents, neglect, abuse or abandonment. And the reasons are endless.
Many things need to be considered when contemplating adoption. Single-child adoption or multiple? What age—infant, toddler, older? Boy or girl? Open or closed (meaning will the biological parents maintain contact or no)? If open adoption, for how long—one year, five years, entire life? Tell the child they are adopted or not? If yes, at what age to tell them? What type of background is the child coming from—unwed teenage mom, deceased parents, abused or neglected?
When parents adopt, they bring a child into their home who is not necessarily their blood but is most definitely their heart. They bring not just the child, but they bring the child’s personality and background, which is not an offshoot of their own. They bring the child’s happiness and sadness, accomplishments and fears, emotions and scars, handicaps. They bring ALL of it into their home…the good, the bad and the ugly. They dedicate their lives to molding the child into a well-adjusted, happy, successful adult. They deal with the night terrors, the temper tantrums that no one understands the root of, the child’s fears of being left alone in the dark, the child’s fear of a cow looking at them (yes, this was ME at one time). They celebrate the birthdays, the Christmases, the vacations. They dedicate themselves to teaching the child who may seem unteachable, but if loved and cultivated could become valedictorian or salutatorian someday. They deal with the hearing impairment, the speech impediment, the wheelchair. They cheer from the sidelines. They survive the ups and downs. They do everything a biological parent would do.
The love and dedication of an adoptive parent is no different from that of a biological parent. I know. I was lucky enough to be adopted at the age of three. I always knew that I was adopted, but they were never my “adoptive parents.” They were my parents. They never once gave up on me, although I know without a doubt, I gave them good reason to many times! I have an older brother, nine years older, whom they adopted before me when he was young. We were never faced with any form of doubt that our parents loved us BOTH, unconditionally with patience and commitment, until their dying day.
If there are parents reading this that are raising an adopted child, please stand up. Stand up tall and proud. Take a bow and accept a pat on the back and hear my applause for making the choice to be a family to a child who may otherwise have none.
Adoption. It is not for everyone. But for those who have chosen it, you have made a difference. You ARE the difference.