Saturday, August 18, 2012

Puzzle Pieces: Thoughts on Adoption

Some days, I don't realize what my family looks like.
I mean, I KNOW what they look like, but only through my eyes, not others.

When I was 16, my family brought home one of its missing pieces, a nine month old baby girl from China we named Davie Anne. It was like she'd always been there.
First batch of professional family photos, and my brother and I told our mother that Davie didn't look different--to us, she looked like us. She fit, she was ours. We looked like a whole family, not a now multi-racial family, not a family with a story, not a family that was unique. We were just US. She fit us just like we fit her.
You don't ask a jigsaw puzzle how the pieces fit together or how they came to be. You just accept that they were meant to be united as one.

Davie's referral picture--the very first picture we saw of her. We went NUTS.

Meeting Davie for the first time! She just smiled and smiled and bounced in her walker!

My Dad and Davie Anne on the first day--She was one day shy of 9 months, and my Dad was 51
Three years later, we completed the family with a baby girl just shy of one-year-old. This time, Davie went with our parents to bring Eliana Joy home from China.

Ellie's referral picture--again, we went nuts . . . and we have no idea WHY she's in a car

Again, there was no thought crossing our minds that this might be odd, that we might look different than other families.

A friend of mine has recently blogged a while back about her experiences with their second adoption, mostly about the reactions from the people around her.
Because, really, for those in the middle of the adoption process, it's just like bringing a baby home from the hospital. You hold that child and she is YOURS. She's always been there, she always will be, she's one of you. There is no adjustment switch, this "I must teach myself to love this child." It simply is. It's the most natural thing in the world.

We loved Davie and Ellie even before we began the adoption process. We had been praying for these children before they were even born, asking God to bring completion to our family. We loved them long before we saw their pictures, and, when we did, let me tell you, that love exploded. It reached immeasurable amounts the first time we held them.
I may not be a mother yet, but isn't that how it's supposed to be? Isn't that how it is when you give birth to your child?
You love her in the expectation, you love her when the pregnancy test dances with a little pink plus sign, you love her in the ultrasound, and then, you hold her, and you wonder how on earth you don't spontaneously combust with love.

Still it's a touchy subject. In my own experience, I've noticed men are more hesitant to adopt than women--I guess it pulls on our maternal instincts. Some men express, "I want to have my own, first" or "I don't think I'll love it as much as my biological kids."
Ok, here's the thing: an adopted child IS your own, maybe not in DNA but in heart and soul. And you will totally love her as much as your bios. I promise. You won't even tell the difference. But I understand that not everyone wants to or will adopt, and that's ok. There's no right or wrong to it . . . BUT . . . well, I guess the "but" is that I can't imagine a life without it, without the beauty of discovering your own family in a place you never thought you'd find it. Of sharing love and hope with someone feeling lost. It changes people. It changes the parents and the children--bio and adopted. We literally watched Davie and Ellie blossom in our homes. It's hard to describe unless you see it, feel it, their little personalities wiggling through, smiles appearing on stoic faces.

I'm not here to preach, I promise. It's just something that's near and dear to my heart.
Next time you see a family with a child that doesn't look like the others, remember, she only looks different to you. To them, they see themselves and their own completion.

My family's 2011 Christmas photo--we all totally fit. Totally.


  1. love it! adorable. I have always wanted to adopt, especially from China, and/or work in an orphanage!

  2. The gift of life and love is beautiful and powerful thing!
    Your family is one of a kind, and I agree, everyone just fits in perfectly :)

  3. This is so beautiful. "you don't ask a jigsaw puzzle how it came to be." I love that. And this. You have such a beautiful family and you're so right. You guys do fit.

  4. Beautiful family! And you're right, about everything. I'm still wondering if my Mom and Dad are ever going to adopt some more siblings for me--I know my Mom would has always wanted to but Dad is a bit more hesitant.

  5. oh my gosh you guys are amazing. love your family. my brothers (and dad) are adopted and i/we feel exactly the same. while they "look" a lot like us, so we don't necessarily get the questions and looks that maybe a mixed race adoptive family would, but my parents and i are much older so we get a lot of questions. But it just wasn't ever a question or a feeling that they weren't our family .


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