Below is a quote from a mother. I found this notion on an evening when I was wondering if the fact that I always feel less than my sister, who is a biological child, was my insecurity or rooted in my status as an adoptee. The first thing that showed up was this.

“I have biological and adopted children, and I have to admit that, while I love/adore them all fiercely, there is something primal about the way I love my biological children. It’s not something I control– it’s just there. They all feel equally special.”

They all feel equally special. Except some know that they are adopted and that no “primal” love exists for them. We assume they would never guess it– never notice. After all, they were chosen.

I certainly hope my mother has never felt that way. It’s one of my biggest fears. I would hate to think that she feels a stronger, more primal love for my biological sisters. I feel loved by my parents. My relationship with them is different than that of my sisters, but I can’t guarantee that the difference is a result of adoption. Adoption is real and always comes with a matrix of relationships that are not easily described or even talked about.

I found my first mother shortly after my daughter was born: almost 20 years ago. Although I saw her only once, we spoke regularly and exchanged mail for all of those years. Many of the conversations were lengthy, even deep by many standards. I can honestly say I loved her.

She died almost two and a half years ago. I miss her, and she is frequently on my mind. I didn’t love her like I love my second, or adoptive, mother. I am tied to her in a different way, however. Through her I feel tied to a history that I can call mine. I hope that the love I have for her never hurts my adoptive mother. Maybe that what the mom whose quote I found meant by “primal.”

I believe that love is expansive and multifaceted and it need not exclude anyone. Maybe it would be best if we learned to talk about our love and be less afraid of differences.