I believe loving a child makes them yours. I’m the mother of three teenagers; the first two adopted, the third born to me. When I was pregnant with the youngest, it wasn’t uncommon for someone to say how lucky I was to finally be having a child of my own. It made me fighting mad. I already had two children of my own and was up to my ears in diapers, Spaghetti-O’s and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’m no Mother Teresa–did anybody really think I’d be willing to endure the sleep deprivation and constant demands of a couple of pre-schoolers who weren’t my own?
I don’t mean to take anything away from the women who gave birth to them. Both were young and their circumstances would have made it very difficult to raise a child. They showed their love by letting their babies be adopted. It is these women’s love and sacrifice, much more than the fact that they gave birth to them, that makes my children theirs as well.
Watching my kids grow up has been sort of like trying a new recipe. You hope it turns out well and have some idea what to expect, but you never know for sure. The influences of nature and nurture in the three of them have been fascinating. Why does one child share my love of reading but not my DNA while the child I gave birth prefer video games? How is it that two brothers—one dark and fiercely competitive, the other blond and laid-back—have the same goofy sense of humor?
Loving a child, any child, makes them yours. I more than believe it; I know it.
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