Yeah, but is she your REAL sister?
Do you have any REAL brothers or sisters?
Oh, how I detest this question. As an adoptive parent or as an adoptee, the “REAL” question makes me want to scream.
Yes, my boys are real brothers – I left all the imaginary kids at home… They love, fight, play and get into stuff just like every other set of brothers you’ve ever met. Yes, they’re real brothers.
But that doesn’t make their biological siblings any less “real”. You know, the ones that don’t live with us. The ones they’ve never met. The ones they don’t know exist. Those siblings aren’t imaginary either. And those siblings are not less important.
I think this question is pretty universally despised in the adoption community. I’m sure it seems innocent enough to the person asking, but it just lands so squarely on so many insecurities – it’s not a harmless conversation-starter.
Yes, I am their real mother. Yes, the 1st mom is their real mother. Same with siblings. None are imaginary.
I take that back about it being the same with siblings. With siblings it’s even more important. I know this as an adoptive parent, but I live it as an adoptee.
Maybe I should back up. See, apparently a lot of people don’t know that I’m adopted. The technical term, I believe, is step-parent adoption. The short version is that my biological father walked out when I was less than 3 months old. My mom eventually met and married my dad, and he adopted me just before I turned 6. I have a mom, a dad, and a biological father. I also have 2 brothers and 2 sisters. I have an older brother from my dad’s 1st marriage, a younger sister from my mom and dad, and a younger sister and brother from my biological father’s subsequent marriage. (more…)
In the adoption community, we are what’s known as a “conspicuous family”. When you see us together, it’s pretty quickly obvious that we’re not all biologically related.
We didn’t set out to become transracial adoptive parents. We got a call about a baby that needed a family, and we had one to give him. I’ve read a few essays about how if you don’t meet certain wickets, you have no business becoming a transracial parent. I won’t link any, because they actually kind of piss me off. They are a big part of the reason that I spent so much time and emotional energy doubting whether I deserved to be Squirm’s mommy.
And if I had listened to those people, I wouldn’t be his mommy. And that would be very, very sad.
#AdoptionTalk Link Up
Welcome to the 3rd Installment of #AdoptionTalk: Adoption Ethics!
In this installment, I want to revisit a question that was asked the first week of the Linkup. A reader asked whether our agency gave us any problems about creating “artificial twins”.
They didn’t, but that got me thinking about all the things you’re “not supposed to do” when adopting: don’t adopt out of birth order, don’t create artificial twins, blah, blah, blah.
All the don’ts basically boil down to: “Make sure you find a child that will fit your family.”
But, wait. Shouldn’t adoption be about finding families for children, rather than finding the perfect child for your family?
To paraphrase a cliche: What’s more important – the needs of a family or the needs of a child that needs a family?
Honestly, when we got the call for Squirm, we weren’t thinking about twins or birth order or any of that. In fact, I had already told my agency that I wouldn’t be taking any more boys. But he needed a bed. And we had one. He needed love and security and arms to rock him to sleep. And we had more than enough to go around.
And then when, we got the call about taking Squish back, SuperDad and I discussed how we’d have to juggle and what we’d have to adjust to manage three kids under 2 years old. After we had already said yes. That’s actually the one call I’ve ever said yes to without talking to SuperDad first. Because what else would we do? He needed a family. We were the one that he knew. Since he couldn’t remain with his birth family, the next best option – the ONLY option as far as we were concerned – was to return to the home and the family where he had some familiarity and some continuity.
Sooo… as promised, here is the long-awaited Rest. of the Story.
I’m going to rewind a little and give you some of the back-story, in case you’re a newer reader, or just don’t remember everything you’ve ever, ever read.
So, basically, I’ve wanted to be a foster parent since I was 8 years old (if you’d like, you can read about why here).
Also, even aside from that, I’m adopted, so I always felt like I would want to check into adoption someday.
Strangely enough, these two pieces of information didn’t manage to intertwine in my head and heart until I discovered that I’m infertile and that SuperDad and I have essentially *zero* chance of conceiving without advanced assisted-reproductive technology.
At any rate, we ended up with with a matched set. And two weeks ago I promised you the second half of our adoption story.
Well, get comfy. Because when I say second half, it’s only in the sense that Squirm is the second half of the set. The road to his adoption was very bumpy and definitely more than half of the journey. (more…)