1. Adoption Teaches Giving
As the mom of five children, two of whom are adopted from China, I am sometimes asked these personal, but important questions. Not everyone would answer the same way, and I think the way in which an adopted child fits into your family depends on:
- The age of the child at adoption.
- The preparation of the family for the adopted child.
- The experiences of the adopted child before adoption.
However, I do believe that adoption is something that adds to a family in a way no other experience can. Adoption changes you, other children in the family and your extended family because you see the world differently. Cross-racial adoption helps you to see the prejudice in our culture and also helps you be an agent for changing other people's perceptions.
Adoption is the ultimate gift of giving. You give your life and family to another person who has no family. When you and your children learn to do that through adoption, you teach yourself and your family to give throughout your lives.
Adoption Questions I'm Often Asked
Do you really love adopted children the same?
How do your biological children feel about adoption?
Does adoption help or hurt families?
2. Adoption Builds Character
Whose character? Yours and your children's. I didn't really realize this until our second adoption. My oldest daughter, Maggie, was 13 years old at the time. She had been feeling discouraged with not always doing as well as some of her friends at school. I had been encouraging her by explaining that her ability to work with people by encouraging them and seeing the best in them would make her a great employee, but also a great mom. I was surprised at her reaction.
"I'm looking forward to being a mom," Maggie stated decisively. "Actually," she grinned, "I want to adopt kids and be a mom to them because adoption is really AMAZing. When are we going to go to China anyway?" She hugged me (she's a hugger) and we drifted off into a conversation about plans for our eventual trip to China. It wasn't until later that I had time to think about what she had said.
"I'm looking forward to being a mom." I would never have said that at 13. In fact, at 13, I was very worn out with being a second "mom" to my two brothers, who were five and three. I was convinced I never wanted to have any children. I was going to be a lawyer, live in a beautiful house above the ocean and go on amazing vacations.
In fact, fourteen years after our first adoption, my children are now getting to the age when they are seriously thinking about the time they have children. Without an exception, all of them plan to adopt along with, or perhaps instead of, having birth children.
3. It Makes Your Life More Meaningful
Adoption adds meaning to the everyday experiences of life. When you adopt, you realize you have made a choice to add to your family and take another human life into your circle of responsibility.
"I'm looking forward to being a mom." Maggie's comment made this hit home to me. I don't know if she would have said that if we had stopped having children after we had our allotted two biological ones, a boy, and a girl. When we adopted, we added to Maggie's load of responsibilities as an older sibling, but we also added to her enjoyment of childhood. She was able to "play" again with her sisters at dress-up, tea parties, or dolls.
4. It Changes Your Family for the Better
I have enjoyed motherhood, but motherhood extended through adoption has made my life and the life of my family much better. Frankly, the job of laundry, cooking and cleaning is not always fun. So when Maggie said she was looking forward to being a mother, I wondered what she was thinking about. Have I really made this look like a fun job? Her dad is a scientist who gets to make interesting discoveries. I've given up my career to do laundry, cooking, and cleaning. What exactly was she looking forward to?
"Adoption is AMAzing," When you are making the decision to adopt, you always wonder how this will really affect your other children. I knew Maggie was excited about our adoption of Mollie and Steffi, and when she was 5 or six she had talked about wanting to have two children and adopt two children. What I didn't know was that her experience as the older sister of adopted siblings had shaped her sense of her own future. She looks forward to the time she can adopt children and be their mom.
When my husband and I chose to adopt from China, we did not realize all the benefits it would have on our own lives and on our other children. Why adopt a child? Because adoption is the ultimate act of giving of yourself and ultimate giving brings rewards you could never expect.
Are you interested in adopting a child from overseas? Or maybe you are considering domestic adoption. There are many challenges in adoption, but the experience is also deeply rewarding.
What Do You Think?
I'd love to hear more about your adoption thoughts and journeys. Please share in the comments below!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Amy Starkweather on August 23, 2017:
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on May 12, 2015:
Quynh--I am so happy that my essay helped you to think about adoption in a new way. My adopted children are now 13 and 11 and I can honestly say that our lives as a family would never have been so rich and full if we had not adopted. We traveled to China as a family two years ago and it really changed all of our lives. My oldest daughter (not adopted) has been studying Chinese in college and spent the summer volunteering at a Chinese orphanage. She is an international business major and wants to work in China after she graduates. Adoption, especially internationally, gives you a different perspective on the world and on your own life.
Quỳnh Thư on May 12, 2015:
I have never thought about adoption before but reading your essay make me decide have one when I afford.
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on February 24, 2012:
I absolutely love this! So glad to hear about your dear little one! I was single until I was 32, and was planning to adopt when I met my husband. Our decision to adopt together came later. It is the one decision I am most glad about in my life.
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on February 24, 2012:
Thanks so much for your comment Lisa--I especially appreciate the perspective of someone whose kids are even older than mine. I teach college students and we've just done an essay unit on families and several of the students chose to write about adoption. I've discovered that today's college students are much more willing to think about adoption as part of their plans for building a family. Although we talk a lot sometimes about the bonding that mothers and infants have, I agree that bonding really is something that happens in all parent child relationships over time--just as you said.
BakingBread-101 from Nevada on February 24, 2012:
My only child is a beautiful 5 year old. We adopted each other. She wants me to adopt a daddy and a sister, but no brothers because boys are icky. Two years ago she asked if we could adopt each other again, so we solemnly made up our own adoption vows and said them to each other . . . sealed with a kiss, of course!
Lisa HW from Massachusetts on February 23, 2012:
My first child (now grown) is adopted, and his two younger siblings are kids I had myself. They weren't awfully aware of the adoption factor until, I think, they were older; but I think the main way having a sibling who'd been adopted may have affected them is (as you've mentioned) that they can grow up and not see adoption as "all that big a deal" or as a whole lot different from building a family "the more conventional way". One thing I've always hoped they see is that parents love children for who they are, and because of the bond that has formed between them - not primarily because they gave birth to them. I've always hoped it helped my children see that they're loved for more than just that "delivery connection" (that, of course, ends with the cutting of the umbilical cord anyway).