Two nights ago I received an email from someone who is considering transracial adoption. She had a few questions for me and I basically wrote the poor woman a book in response. I closed the email to her with a story that I'd been meaning to write about.
This story doesn't have anything to do with transracial adoption. It just has to do with adoption in general. I was brief in conveying the story to her. I'll expand it here.
I'd be lying if I said that adopting is the exact same as having a biological child. It isn't. While I felt instantly connected to my second son, it was a very different experience. Garrett grew inside me and, short of something happening during his delivery, I had no fear of leaving the hospital without him. He was born and placed, immediately on my chest. I was his only mother. Matthew grew inside his first mother, he was taken to the nursery for two hours before I could hold him. Our world erupted and the very first time I held him I had no idea if I'd get the opportunity to raise him.
Garrett's first year was all peace and poop and crawling and nursing and bliss. Matthew's first year was all crazy and poop and crawling and turmoil. But both children had a mother who cuddled them, loved them, changed them, tried to understand them. Still. I've wondered. Do I love them the same? I've agonized over it. Is my love the same? I don't think it is. I hope that, when all is said and done, they feel that I loved them equally but the experience has been so different that I don't know how I could love the same. They are different. I am different.
But a little over a week ago it suddenly hit me that he is mine. In the way that Garrett is mine. Despite the differences in their coming to be members of this family.
I was working in the church nursery. There were seven two and three-year-olds and, together, they got the idea to line up the little, blue toddler chairs in a row. Then, they walked, crawled, and slithered from the first chair to last. One would reach the end and run around to begin again. In this way, they played follow the leader for a good twenty minutes. Matthew was thoroughly enjoying himself.
Of course I watched all the kids, as they were under my care, but I really, intently, examined Matthew as he played. I thought about how deeply I love him and how proud I am of him. I love him more than the rest, I thought, somewhat subconsciously. Because he is mine.
Suddenly it hit me. In the physical sense, he is no more mine than any of them. In fact, if our DNA was explored, he is probably the least like me. All the rest of the children were Caucasian. I'm sure that any elementary aged student would tell you that Matthew looked as though he belonged to me the least. But as I watched him play, my heart was joyful, it swelled with pride. I wanted to gather that one child--out of seven--into my arms and kiss his chubby cheeks and spoil him and teach him and raise him. Biologically, he is no more mine than any of them. But I would throw myself into oncoming traffic for him. I would sacrifice everything for him. Why? Because he is mine. He was the only one, of those seven children, who is my son.
The same way Garrett is? No. Because of the nature of the way Matthew came into our lives, the extensive biological family he has and the situations he will face as he grows up as a transracial adoptee, I will, to an extent, raise him and love him different. But it is equal. And I think that's what matters.