Adoption is a Wonderful Thing

Shelly - Chanute, Kansas
Entered on October 2, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: children, family
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Looking at my daughter, the cashier said, “She must look like her dad.” I just smiled and walked out of the convenient store. This was not the first time that someone had said something to the fact that my daughter didn’t look like me. Normally people tend to notice right away that our daughter is a lot darker complexion than me, as I am a very pale white. They are normally polite and say things like, “She has such a pretty complexion,” or “Those sure are big brown eyes that she has.” Other times, people are just very bold and say things like, “Is she yours?”, or “She doesn’t look like the rest of your kids.” This kind of behavior gets under my skin. I usually can’t keep my mouth shut with comments like that. I have said things such as, “She is unique in her own way,” or “Isn’t she just adorable?” I have found over the past six years that when someone makes comments about your children, that are really not appropriate, the mother lion instinct comes to life.

My daughter, Kaitlyn, started in my daycare when she was two months old. Her biological mom was more interested in going out on the weekend than she was in being a mother. Slowly, we had Kaitlyn more and more until finally I asked her mom if she just wanted Kaitlyn to move in with us until she got her life together. To my amazement, she said yes, without any hesitation. Three years went by and Kaitlyn’s mom moved away. Kaitlyn needed to be enrolled in preschool, so we got up the nerve to ask her mom if we could adopt her. Again we were shocked when she quickly said, “yes”. Three months later, after all of the paperwork and court hearings were done, she was finally ours.

Kaitlyn is our fourth child, and the baby. To see us out as a family, people most generally take a second look. See, we have a little Cherokee Indian in us, so we can tan if we are in the sun all the time. However, it only takes Kaitlyn just a few times of being in the sun to get dark. I’m not sure if she is Hispanic decent, or Indian. It doesn’t matter to us, because she is a part of our family now.

Kaitlyn is involved in everything that our other children are involved in, such as softball and cheerleading. She fits in so well with our other children that I often forget that we adopted her. She has forgotten about her biological mother, but my husband and I decided that we would never keep that information from her, and that we would tell her when we thought that she would understand. Just the other day, Kaitlyn asked me, “Hey mom, remember when I was in your tummy?” I just smiled and asked her, “What were you doing in there?” She started laughing and ran off to play. I was relieved that I was able to say something back to her that would detour her, but not lie to her.

I never imagined that I could love someone so much, who I didn’t give birth to. I always questioned people’s true motive for adopting. It never occurred to me that someday I would be one of those people who would have the opportunity to be blessed by God in a way that would continue to bless me for the rest of my life.