To my dear adopted child,
It’s both ironic and frustrating that there are so very many days that you question whether or not I love you. You often look at your mom and I and think that we don’t love you as much as we love the children that came from her womb. You think that we automatically favor your siblings because we had them biologically. There are so many days where you have this “us and them” mentality, as if we are constantly thinking about how life would be different if we only had “bio children”. You’ve said as much before. You’ve told us that we play favorites, not understanding that your siblings who we’ve had biologically are just younger, and need a different type of care or attention. You have at times, even acted unkindly toward your younger siblings, your “non-bio” siblings, because you have resented this supposed difference between you and them.
And I must confess, there have been times where I’ve been at a complete loss to prove to you that it’s not true – that I don’t love you any less than them. That I don’t see “bio” and “adopted” labeled on top of your forehead, but that I only see “my child”. I’ve tried to help you see that I don’t have a double standard, but that I have a “multi-faceted” standard – I treat each of my children differently as each of them are different. I have wanted to find a way to explain to you that you do not have to doubt my love for you, or doubt my commitment to you. But I have just felt absolutely defeated at times as to how to do that. I’ve stayed awake so many nights with mom, just trying to figure out how to combat this wrong perception in you.
And I know that part of the problem is contained in the very fact that you are adopted. Your biological parents didn’t die, they chose to give you up for adoption. For some terrible, unknown reason, they chose to be done being your parents. It’s a horror that is so incredibly difficult to imagine, and yet you handled it with such stoicism – but I know that it’s affected you. I know that there is some sense in which they put it in your mind that no matter what we’ve got, and no matter how much I demonstrate my love to you, that at some point, that might change. And so because of your biological parents, there is part of you that will always doubt that I love you unconditionally and without end.
So, why is it ironic and frustrating that this is the case? Why is it ironic and frustrating that I have to be compared to your first parents, and that you doubt whether or not there’s a difference in how I love you and how I love your “non-bio” siblings?
Because…I chose you.
I chose you. I knew who you were, and I chose you. You were not a surprise. You were not a mistake or an accident. You weren’t “unplanned”. The fact that you became my child was something I chose to pursue, and strove to accomplish.
You see, at a time in your life when others had seen you and chosen to give you up, I’d seen you and loved you. I’d “read the file” and I’d “talked to the professionals”. You were older, there would be problems because you would bring all the memories and baggage from your whole life before now into our new family. I knew all that – all that and more, and I still chose you. The first time that we met you, it was like I was meeting MY children. When we met you, we loved you. We saw you for who you were, and we saw you with all your baggage, and all your inner turmoil, and all your struggles, and all your heartache…and we loved you. We loved you, and we chose you, and we did that even knowing the worst things about you. We knew what types of sin you were prone to. We knew the difficulties you were having, and that those difficulties would be ours to share in, and help you through – and we still chose you.
I chose you, and I did it with my eyes wide open, and I have not looked back since.
See, that’s actually something that you, as my adopted child, can have that biological children can’t. They weren’t chosen the way you were. I didn’t know that my 6 year old would be the way he is. I didn’t know my 1 year old would love to dance. Up until your mom was pregnant, we didn’t even know a child was coming (we weren’t trying or “not” trying, just leaving it up to God). When we found out she was pregnant, it was a surprise. And even then, meeting our biological children was still about discovering someone you don’t know. Well, although we “got to know you” over time, it was after we knew you that we chose you, not before. That’s something that you can claim that any biological children can’t. “My daddy knew who I was, and all the mess that I was, and still chose me.”
And it’s a cruel irony that you would wonder if we loved you as much, in light of that fact that we knew you so much better, and still chose you. That’s not to say that I’m frustrated at you, of course. You can’t help but have those feelings, given what you’ve gone through. It just seems so strange that our brains are wired that way. My hope is simply that you would see this truth, and you would realize that yes, I do love you as fully as any parent loves their “bio-kids”. Of course my love for you is different, but it’s different not in degree, but in perspective. I love you as someone that I knew and still chose to love. Again, it’s not the same when you’ve known your child from birth. But, the fact that I chose you and accepted you even though I fully knew who you were shows that I love you, period. You don’t have to worry about whether or not something could happen that would make me no longer love you. I chose you and wanted you to be a part of my family, no matter what.
But, please know that I don’t get upset with you, or angry with you, that you struggle to believe this sometimes. I know it happens, and it’s ok.
It’s just like with God.
See, God adopts us into his family, even though he knows how messed up we are. He vows to never let us go, and to always love us, no matter what. And yet, there are so many times that I wonder if God really loves me like he says he does. But, I remind myself that he loves me in spite of who I am. He loves me unconditionally. He tells me that there is no condemnation for me, because I am his. He tells me that nothing can separate me from his love.
And although my love for you is nowhere near as wonderful or as full or as good as God’s love for you, the fact that I’ve adopted you and chosen you is a picture of the love God has for us. And so I strive to picture that love with you. I try to show through my love for you, through my choosing you, a small reflection of what God has done for me.
So, my dear adopted child, remember that I chose you. When you wonder about my love, remember that I chose you. When you imagine a rift between biological and adopted, remember that I chose you. When you think back to a time when parents gave you up, remember that I chose you.
And even if this doesn’t convince you that I love you, I still love you.