I'd rather have my own....

This is a common statement made by people in order to shut down a subject they feel uncomfortable with: Adoption. I recently  heard it from a woman, who, at 45, desperate for a child and single, is now considering going through all sorts of financial, emotionall and physical strain in order to have the experience of giving birth. 

Did it bother me, like it used to only a couple of months ago? Strangely it did not. Believe it or not, I simply offered my phone number in case  things did not work out as she hoped and she'd like some insight into adoption...

As I was scrolling through my older posts I noticed that somewhere along the way my focus shifted from advocating and talking about all things adoption - and the many why's and how's  and all the weird things I have encountered being and adoptive mother -  to more general issues (and race and color of course).

This for some reason makes me strangely happy as I realise that a subtle shift happened: in my mind my children are no longer my "adopted" children: they are simply my children.

Even though I always knew that loving my children was in no way influenced by how they would come to me, often, when asked if I had children,  I had to stop and think whether to add "adopted" to the answer.

Sometimes I deliberately didn't and waited with mixed feelings for  looks of surprise and comments like: oh are they adopted? (duh!). Not mentioning the "adoption" word was almost like daring people to react and to say something out of line, which then, in turn, could make me roll my eyes in exasperation. Of course they mostly didn't and actually many made beautiful recoveries :-)

 I now realise that a lot of my strange encounters and negative feelings about people's reactions came from my own insecurity - which had nothing to do with the fact that I had adopted children -  but simply from being thrown into a whole new world of parenthood and - yes - feeling ever so slightly marginalised because I  did not fit the norm.

Even though adoption was always my first choice (as opposed to "last resort")  a part of me still  felt alienated from "normal mothers" for not having had what is still widely regarded as the "real" mother experience: Conception.Pregnancy. Birth.

As I am growing into and in this experience of being a mother, I realise that somewhere along the way this has changed.

I am now - almost 6 years later - totally at ease in my role as a mother and no longer feel the need to view my family  through other people's eyes, in order to establish our  current "not-fitting-in" factor.

And as I no longer feel the need to mirror the view from an outside world, where we are often reduced to being an unusual family with two adopted children, the outside world ceases to influence my mindset.

I no longer think about whether or not to give additional information, when asked if I have children. I have two of them. Girls,  in fact.

I don't wait for and often don't even notice other people's reactions to my children anymore. In a way these past years of learning how to become a mother was like a second chance at growing up.

Where fitting in is of utmost importance as teenagers, when we are battling with a lot of change, starting a new chapter in our lives as independent adults, it becomes less important as we are growing in maturity and confidence. And as I was battling coming to grips and redefining myself in my new role as a mother, fitting in seemed a lot more important than it is now that I am happily and confidently settled into this next chapter of my life.

And this is what growing up should be, when we  -  ideally one day  -  reach a level of self awareness where we are at peace with who we are and don't need to defend ourselves against anything and anybody who seems "other than us". (yeah well, maybe this part is to be a death-bed achievement for some of us - but hey, I am on my way...).

So coming back to my initial thought, it now does not offend me anymore when people say things like: I'd rather have my own, when I mention adoption as a natural way of having children. It still makes me sad but I don't feel the need  to bare my teeth and growl: they ARE my own.

Today I just wish I had the time and the words to convey to all potential parents how wrong they are, when they think,  their children can only be "their own" when their genes are involved.

If you have it in you to be a parent, genetics don't matter. If they do matter to you, maybe you should re-evaluate your motives when it comes to parenthood. Because ask yourself this:  is this about you and your self image or about the child you are going to be a parent to?

And to all the women who have been brought up thinking that giving birth is really what defines them as a woman, really think about this for a while before you let it take over your life! There are so many different and beautiful experiences that we as women can have in a lifetime - motherhood amongst them - but the couple of months leading up to a birth are by no means necessary in order to be all we can be. If it happens, fine, if it does not, don't even let it break your stride. Just take what life offers you instead. In my world this is the key to happiness. And love.


Popular posts from this blog

Using my white privilege

Dear Black People