To those who have been immersed in the adoption world for decades, it’s easy to forget some of those little surprising things that popped up at the beginning of our journeys. For those who have not yet been touched by adoption, it may seem that it’s all cut and dried – no surprises out there. Following are a few fun little facts that may surprise you – no matter where you are in your adoption process!
Although your love is just as strong for an adopted child as it is for a biological child, parenting an adopted child is different. That came as a huge surprise for me! Our adopted son had different needs – not more needs, just different. His biology is different than ours, so when we gather round the piano to sing, he’d rather take apart an old stereo. And that’s OK! We learned early on that our bonds, and our other children’s bonds, with him are just as strong – but our relationships are different!
When there is no shame associated with adoption, adoptees and adoptive families can have a LOT of fun with it. Our adopted son and his sister (our biological daughter) are very close in age. And very close in relationship. They had lots of fun at school letting people get themselves into awkward conversations about their relationship! (Some assumed their mom had multiple partners, some assumed they weren’t really related but were actually dating, and more.) They’d let people get pretty uncomfortable with their assumptions and conversations before setting them straight.
Sometimes adoptive parents really DO forget their children are adopted. I remember one time at a church picnic when someone I hadn’t yet met approached me. She said that most of my kids look just like my husband – but one doesn’t. I was actually thrilled that someone would think one of my kids looks like me! “Thank you!” I told her all about how much I’ve always wanted people to think my kids look like me and was thrilled that I finally met someone who thought so. It was a full 10 minutes later that I realized she never really said that. She was talking about our brown-skin, adopted son. I had completely forgotten he was adopted!
The extreme exhilaration of adoption is every bit as strong as the extreme joy of delivering a baby! After carrying and delivering babies, I really thought that nothing could ever compare. But I was wrong. The day we brought our little boy home was surreal. I could hardly contain my happy emotions. What a surprise that was for me!
What are some of the surprises that you didn’t anticipate? Please comment and share your experiences … we’d love to know what fun little things took you by surprise!