There was a part of me that was afraid I wouldn't love Kate.
Sure, I was over the moon excited about tiny onesies and PINK! and painting her toe nails. Of course I would love her in the sense that I would care for her and raise her and be her advocate. But there was a part of me that worried. Maybe repeating the toddler stage will KILL ME DEAD. Maybe three will be a company I just can't handle. Maybe I won't love her as much as her brothers.
The fact of the matter was that I already did.
More than that, so did my husband and our entire extended family. Her brothers loved every inch of a sister they'd never laid eyes on.
How can this be? How can I so deeply grieve a child that was neither carried below my heart nor held in my arms?
I think about Matthew.
He's less than an hour old when his adoption blows up. He's in the nursery. I haven't held him. I've never kissed his face or made him giggle. He didn't grow inside me. But, suddenly, everything his mother wants and everything his father wants are antonyms. His biological grandmother is telling me to pack up and go home. I'm hyperventilating in a hospital room and my husband is trying to clear everyone out. In the middle of it all, a nurse brings Matthew to me. She puts him into my arms and all I can think is that I already love him too much to lose him. I'm grieving. I didn't know how deeply I loved everything about him until he almost slipped through my arms...
I didn't know how deeply I loved everything about Kate until she was gone. I never held her or carried her in my body. But I love her tiny lips--even though I've never kissed them. I love her laugh--even though I've never heard it. I love who she could have become--even though I never knew her.
In our adoption journey, I have had so many people say to me, "I just don't think I could love a child that wasn't biologically mine."
I'm just going to go ahead and say that I think that's one hundred pounds of bologna. Or horse manure. Or one hundred pounds of bologna mixed with horse manure. Tell me you don't want to adopt because you want to buy a house or go to Australia or, even, keep feeding the kids you already have. Valid. Tell me you're terrified that a birth father will suddenly show up leading to a fourteen month legal battle or that the baby will be stillborn. Fair enough. Tell me you just don't want to or you've prayerfully considered it and God hasn't opened any doors or a hundred other reasons. All fine and good. But do not tell me that you couldn't love a child that wasn't biologically yours.
BECAUSE I DO NOT BELIEVE YOU.
My reality is the polar opposite of your hypothesis. And I know a lot of people who have adopted children and not a single one of them has said to me, "You know what? I totally regret this because, as it turns out, after holding this child and feeding this child and listening to the sound of this child's laugh, I've found that I simply don't love him because he's not biologically mine." I honestly don't believe that God wires us to only love what we give birth to.
I didn't have to give birth to Kate--or even lay eyes on her--to fall desperately in love with her. My world will never be the same for having loved that little girl. My world will never be the same for having loved her brothers. Biology hasn't made a bit of difference. Whether they grew under my heart or in it, they are mine.
You may suppose that you cannot love a child that is not biologically yours.
I am walking the road of deeply grieving the loss of a child who wasn't biologically mine, a child I never even got to hold while she was alive. I will tell you, with certainty, that with no effort whatsoever on your part, you absolutely can. In fact, I don't suppose I could have kept myself from falling in love with Kate.