Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Adopted is a past tense word

This post has been on my mind for some time now, but I am only now getting a chance to sit down and write my thoughts out. This time last year, when we started the adoption process, Dustin and I each read the book Adopted for Life by Russell Moore. While this post isn't meant to be a book review, I would definitely recommend it to anyone considering or just wanting to know more about adoption. There are some parts of it that I don't completely agree with (e.g his views on IVF and any medically invasive fertility treatments) but I think that overall it was very beneficial for us. One of his chapters is titled "Adopted is a Past Tense Word".

This is a statement I agree with 110%.

Have you ever noticed when people talk about families with children that have been adopted, they are always referred to as "well Suzy just has the sweetest adopted daughter", "Suzy, mother to 3 adopted children" or even worse "Suzy has 2 kids of her own and 3 adopted children". Now this example isn't to pick on Suzy. I don't even know Suzy. It's just to make a point. Why must people feel the need to differentiate adopted children from biological children as if they are lesser than or somehow not a complete part of the family? Whether your child(ren) was(were) adopted at birth or as a teenager- they become wholly part of your family.

Another part of the book that was meant in a half-joking/half-serious manner that really stuck with me was when he talked about his children- two boys who were adopted as infants from Russia and two biological boys. He stated that he doesn't see the need in telling others (especially strangers) how each of his children joined his family. For example, here is Will, our natural delivery child, Scott, our cesarean child and Mike and Tim, our adopted children. Those aren't their real names, but the point is-- it doesn't matter how your son or daughter joined your family. When they joined your family- they are your family. Finn doesn't look at me as his adopted mom. I am his mom. I feed him and clothe him and play with him and comfort him when he's sad. He rests his head on my shoulder at night and smiles the biggest smile when I see him when he wakes up in the morning. It would not be any different if we adopted him at birth or at 15. There may be some more psychological issues to overcome if you adopt an older child who has memories from a previous family-- but that doesn't change the fact that he or she is your son or daughter.

We should be ever so thankful that our Heavenly Father doesn't view our spiritual adoption as His children the way that some people view physical adoption here on earth. He doesn't look at us as adopted children. According to Romans 8:17, we are co-heirs with Christ and you can't be more a part of God's family than that. "And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

 So yes. Adopted is a past tense word. It may be how your child joined your family, but it is not your child's permanent place in your family. As a helpful tip, when referring to a family that has both biological children and adopted children- never use the phrase "kids of your own and adopted kids". The term biological children is perfectly acceptable to use in this circumstance- if you even have the need to differentiate. I can tell you that Finn is 100% our own. And if God decided to bless us with biological children one day, Finn will remain our own. Though he doesn't share our DNA, he has had our hearts from day 1. He views us as the only mom and dad he's ever known and we are his whole world (right now anyway). Why would we ever want to view him as anything less than that? 

*drops the mic* Now someone hold my hand as I step down off my soapbox.
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  1. Beautiful and perfect. And needed. I love all the attention that adoption is getting recently. I actually just finished Adopted for Life... there were certainly good parts for me to think about that you mentioned. I loved how he dealt with comments from others. The ART part kind of pushed me over the edge, but all in all, I agree, a worthy read... just skip chapter 4. : )