What if?

Recently an employee at my gym stopped me as I was dropping Little Dude off at their child care center. She wanted to talk about our adoption experience. She said that she and her husband are unable to conceive naturally. She wants to pursue adoption, but he says he doesn’t think he can love someone else’s child as much as a parent should.

That statement floored me.

Even more recently I was chatting with some friends when one of them asked the rest of us what we would do if we couldn’t have another baby. She said that she worries about her son being an only child. The rest of the girls nodded in agreement.

I wasn’t floored this time, but I was taken aback.

(Now . . . I don’t want those dear friends to take offense – assuming any of them even read this thing. Please don’t email me and explain or apologize. I completely understand what you were saying.)

I felt a little out of place during this conversation. My friends have every right to worry about this possibility. It could happen. Their child might not have any brothers or sisters. It’s a sad thought, for sure, but I was wondering why no one recognized that there are other ways to build families.  They seemed to think that their question “What if?” only had one answer.

I really hope that our family can set a good example to others. I want them to see that adoption is a great thing. True, our experience of the entire process was miserable, but the majority of cases are not so painful. Most go through relatively easily, or with minor hiccups due to some paperwork snafus. I want people to know that finding themselves unable to have biological children does not mean that their family cannot grow.

For us, adoption was always on the table. We wanted to adopt whether we had biological children or not. It was definitely heartbreaking to have our infertility treatments fail, but since we knew we had adoption available to us, it wasn’t utterly devastating. We KNEW we would be parents no matter what. We didn’t believe that we would go through life childless. There are so many children who need families; it was just a matter of these two parents finding the right child.

And this idea of not being able to love someone else’s child enough? I never even thought about that concept until this woman mentioned it to me. I was standing there, with Little Dude’s hand in mine, thinking, “How could I love him less?” I can’t possibly love him more. Some crazy parenting books would probably tell me that I love him too much – like that’s a real thing. I am 100% certain that I love him just like any parent loves their biological child. Heck there are parents out there who DON’T love their biological child. If my mind hadn’t been blown earlier, the idea of this would make it positively implode.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Sometimes I forget that Little Dude isn’t my biological child. I know that sounds ridiculous. After all, I’m pasty white, he’s African, and S is Cambodian. I certainly didn’t spend 9 months dealing with morning sickness, cankles and weight gain. Yet I have to remind myself at times – infrequently, because it doesn’t matter most of the time – that his mother and father are (maybe?) somewhere in Ethiopia.

I realize that there are people who don’t consider adoption for a variety of reasons. I realize that one of those reasons is this idea of being unable to love a child who is not one’s own. I feel that it is my duty on this earth to tell you to throw those reasons and ideas out the window. Consider adoption. It might not be right for you, or it could be the perfect answer. You could end up with the 2nd most awesome kid on the planet – 2nd to my amazing son.

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