So I heard the other day was “National Sibling Day” which I’m assuming to be similar to Mother’s Day or Father’s Day but not quite as nationally recognized. It got me thinking about my family. Not just about my husband and kids but the bigger picture. And what really makes a family, well, family. I am still learning about myself everyday and what makes me……….me, but as I am learning I always joke that there are two things I do know and have always known about this girl…the first is that I was adopted. The second being the fact I have always desired to be a stay-at-home mom and wife with a bushel of kids—both biological and adopted. So today, and for a while now, God has been nudging me to open up about those things…
When I was born, my biological mother made the most loving and then selfless decision one could ever have to make and that was to not only give me life, but then to place me for adoption. Growing up I always knew I was. And even though I always knew I was, there was times I tried to convince myself that I looked like the rest of my family, but I definitely didn’t. It just was what it was…and always will be. It didn’t really make me feel different despite that word, or looking nothing like my family, because I always knew I was loved and a still just as much a part of it as anyone else was. I will admit though, there have been times where it would be nice to know some of the history behind my adoption or who I get my insanely strong will from, but honestly, I can say I have never wondered why she did it. As a mother myself, I know it has to be the greatest act of love there is—to know that for whatever reason, you cannot give your baby the life you feel it deserves so you find someone who can. Honorable. Courageous. Selfless. I guess I have always chosen to look at the silver lining of it if you will. I have always been grateful. I know that it not only helped me to become who I am today (the good and the not so good), but it allowed me to fully understand God’s gift of family…because you see, had I limited my view of who my family was to only the blood related people in my life I would have been a real sad kid growing up…only to grow up into a real sad and probably bitter adult. Because let’s face it, until 8 years ago, I had ZERO blood relation to any of my family. By the grace of God alone, I now know what it is like to look at someone and physically see a bit of yourself in them. Does it change ‘how’ I love my kids them because they are biologically mine? Nope. I don’t love them more than I love my family from when I was a child growing up because they look somewhat like me. I might love them differently because they are my kids, but that has nothing to do with looks, genetics or how they were entrusted to me. God could have brought them to me in a cardboard box on my front porch and I would love them just the same. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful I was able to experience pregnancy and the things that go along with that, in fact if I could be pregnant all of the time, I would be. Seriously. I loved it. But I also know any of my kids ultimately aren’t really mine per say….they’re God’s and are simply entrusted to me for our short time in this world. I love them because they are a gift. No matter how He gave them to me.
I also truly believe God gives us family in many different ways…which extends much beyond the biological gene pool. Does it mean that those who are related to you by blood aren’t important? Absolutely not. Consider those an extra special blessing. 😉 Does it mean people who cannot conceive biological children shouldn’t feel sad about that fact at times. Absolutely not. Does it make the moments in my life when I tried to ‘fit in’ by telling myself I looked like the rest of my family disappear. Nope. So what does it mean? Well, for starters…be conscious of how you refer to people’s children. Please realize that referring to adopted children as not a parent’s ‘real’ child is extremely narrow minded and hurtful. Or perhaps you’ve heard people say things like ‘they have one of their own and one adopted’…….COME ON, you guys. How about saying, they have two children…one biological and one adopted. I’m bringing it to everyone’s attention because I realize that until you walk in someone else’s shoes or are at least made aware of the shoes others might have to wear it’s hard to think differently. And even when it is brought to your attention, it takes constant effort to guard your tongue. As an adopted child myself, had I ever heard someone say to me that my adopted parents weren’t my family or I wasn’t their ‘real’ child it would have shattered my world. Because that is what you are doing when you say things like that. And a child’s perception is their reality. So my reality would have been unimaginably sad. Not to say I didn’t go through sad times…because let me tell you, I did. But not because of being adopted. Not because I didn’t feel like I didn’t have family. Ultimately, I wasn’t sad because I wondered if I was loved. Because that’s what family is to me. Unconditional love. Corny? Maybe. But it’s true. It has very little to do with my genetic relation to anyone! That’s not an opinion. It’s a fact…
Fact #1 (the only one that has anything to do with being genetically related to someone): 33 years ago my Creator chose for my life to be knitted together in a young woman’s womb. I guarantee you, she loved me. But even beyond that, the biggest act of unconditional love began…which is God doing exactly what he did. Giving me life and giving her courage to place me for adoption. Boggles my mind to think that from that very moment, my adoption was already planned! I love knowing that. Knowing my adoption was His very best. His Plan A.
Fact #2: A short time later, my Dad and Mom who adopted me, loved me from the moment they laid eyes on my squishy newborn face because I was theirs. Not by means of conception, but due to the same ultimate reason…God’s unfailing love and design.
Fact #3: Seventeen years ago at a pivotal time in my life after my adopted Mom died and life was a little rough, I was given more family. They lived across the street from me and took me in as a daughter and loved me because God showed them I needed them and beyond that, needed HIM.
Fact #4: Sixteen years ago, God introduced me to my husband (who won’t admit it but I’m pretty sure loved me from the moment he laid eyes on my face too…this time though not due to its squishy appeal) and to this day he loves me not because I am the perfect wife (because I’m far from it) or what I do for him but simply because he loves ME.
Fact #5: With my husband, came more family…
I could go on and on about how God has richly blessed me with family that might be other than what most might consider ‘real’ family…but aside from that there is a greater point here I want to make sure I don’t miss. That is WHY I believe it is important we open our view to how we define family. Because ultimately, I believe it affects how we view God and our relationship with Him. I also believe it can and does affect others and how we show love to them. Open your hearts….your mind will follow…..God’s gift of family is much greater than our human limited definitions and minds. Someone out there needs that gift. Someone needs to be shown God’s unconditional love in the form of being family to them just as people in my life did for me. My adoption and ultimately the people he placed in my life to be my family was never His second choice for my life. It was always His Plan A! So now I believe it to be my…and really your responsibility to show others love in the form of being family to them. Allow God to use you as a vessel to be His Plan A for someone else! Or look around you today. Who are your people today that might not be ‘really’ your family by worldly vision by ultimately are family to you in the bigger picture of things. Thank God for them today and perhaps even go out on a limb and thank them!
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Ephesians 1:5