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Our Own

Posted by on February 5, 2014

Too many times Varun and I have been asked, “Oh, are you going to have your own kids too?” Or some variation of this question.

To be fair, I get it. Not every family has read books and blogs and forums about adoption. Not everyone has thought through the nuances of words like “birth Mom”, “biological kids” or “your own”. So in one sense, that’s why I’m writing. So we can think about and change our vocabulary to words with more grace-filled implications.

But on a deeper level, I believe that all of us have some idea of what we mean when we refer to some kids as “(y)our own”. That in some small way, we want to delineate. And that is what compelled me to write this post.

Ranas-3_medium

Photo credit: Shelly Spithoff Photography

What does it mean for our child to be “our own”? It means that they belong to the Rana family. It means that we promise to love and protect and nurture them. It means that they are our responsibility, and our joy. It means we will sign their permission slips, walk them down the aisle, co-sign their first bank account and fight for them.

By persisting in differentiating between adopted and biological children, by delineating between which ones are “our own”, we are subtly sending the message that children who join our family via adoption are less our children.

On every level, this is not the case.

Legally, once the adoption is complete, every adoptive family is just as much family as any other family. The parents have the same legal rights and status, the children have the same legal rights and status. Not very lovey-dovey, but true.

Financially and physically, all of our children are our responsibility. We have the privilege to feed, care for and protect every child who becomes a part of our family.

Emotionally, we will commit to love and support every child who joins our family. Whether they enter our arms wrapped in a fuzzy blanket in a hospital room or donning second hand clothes in an orphanage waiting room, they will be ours. To love and to cherish for life. We are from that moment the kissers of boo-boo’s, confidantes in times of trouble and, if we do our job right, the givers of roots and wings.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly for our family, our children belong to us in a spiritual way. We believe that God has adopted us into His family, and that we are His own. As such, we have prayed for years for the hearts and futures of whatever children God gives us. We intend to pray with and for them, to teach them the truths we hold dear and to commit their ways to God. We want to hold their tiny hands and walk along the path God has laid for our family.

Photo credit: Shelly Spithoff Photography

Photo credit: Shelly Spithoff Photography

I realize that welcoming children into a family via adoption is very different than having children biologically. It is not the same for the parents, nor for the children. I want to talk about and learn together about these differences. However, let’s not confuse the way the child entered a family with their identity in that family. Both adoption and biology bring children, but it’s love that makes them family.

What does it mean to have children of our own? I picture dimples and giggles, tantrums and sticky fingers. I imagine helping with homework and laboring together over hobbies. I envision chats about dreams and waiting up for a return from a first date. I dream of proudly waving goodbye to our young adult, over-joyed at their confidence and ready to support them should they stumble. I desire a mature friendship with our adult children, smiling and reminiscing as history marches on in their lives.

Our own. It means that our children will call us Mom and Papa. It means they will snuggle with us during bedtime stories. It means we will hold them in their brokenness, and rejoice with them in their triumphs. It means they will trust us, and fight with us. It means that we will love them and pray for them and forgive them, even when they’re raging and in turmoil.

So, you ask me, are we planning on having our own? Absolutely. Will they have chai-coloured skin and have a frizzy Amelia-and-Varun-hair? I have no idea. But I do know that all of our children will be cherished with a fierce and deep love. And they will all be our own.

Photo credit: Shelly Spithoff Photography

Photo credit: Shelly Spithoff Photography

19 Responses to Our Own

  1. gaylemcguireGayle

    Tears. Sniff, sniff.

    Bless you for your eloquence…..I imagine my folks felt similarly……And tho not biologically my parents, they were, and are, my mom and dad, who gave me everything you described and more, stuck through the good, and the bad, and loved me. And LOVED me!

  2. Roslyn

    Yes!! Love your thoughts and so thankful you took time to share this.

    • Amelia

      Thanks, Ros. I’ll be honest, I was a bit nervous to hit ‘publish’! Thanks for your encouragement.

  3. John Belder

    Thanks for articulating this so well. It’s a journey we went on “second-hand” and our grandsons are very much “our own” as well.

  4. Beth (@bethaf)

    Love it. Beautifully expressed, friend.

  5. Jen

    The most heart-felt, honest, biblical, touching pieces I’ve ever read about adoption. It is so exciting to hear how the Lord is already growing your family through your prayers! Blessings, Amelia and Varun! Love from snowy Mississauga <3

  6. zecucumber

    Thanks for sharing! I like your description of family as it matches the Biblical idea of once God making us his sons and daughters!

  7. Spops

    I’m glad you got up the courage to hit publish! I especially liked the part about being adoptive children in God’s family 🙂 Though I want to ask: if someone wants to know if you want to have kids with “frizzy Amelia-and-Varun hair”, how should they ask it? Or do you think it too personal or insensitive question to ask in the first place?

    • Amelia

      Hey Joanna! Thanks 🙂 I don’t think it’s too personal or insensitive, if we’re close friends (which we are). I think it’s along the same lines as asking someone who’s pregnant when they’ll have another kid, or asking someone who is single if they’d like to get married. It’s okay to ask with kind words, a humble heart and a deep bond of friendship. I think that more than the words people use, it’s the implication that biological kids might be somehow more valuable than adopted kids that bothers me. Does that make sense?

  8. Evelyn

    Love you guys and will love the one(s) you call “your own” 🙂

  9. JenP

    I love this.. So well written.. Im adopted, a foster mum as well as an adoptive mum (2 weeks away from finalizing #2)… And I can say adoption has touched pretty much every part of my life.
    It used to really get to me when people would ask why we haven’t tried to have children “naturally”.. And it bothered me because adoption IS natural for us.

  10. adoptedson

    No matter what YOU do, your adopted children will feel and know the presence of your biological bonds that you have with your biological children. I was adopted as an infant and was part of an adoption support group, over the years I got to know other adopted kids who had siblings that were biological to their parents. They were never blatantly treated different but they could see the difference their parents interacted with, looked at and touched their biological children. My one friend told me “if there was a fire I know they’d get my brother and sister first”. What would you do in this situation. I remember when my mom became pregnant for the third or fourth time and I became an emotional wreck because I didn’t want some other sibling who was real to them and would get the natural love and affection that I couldn’t get, especially since all I knew was how much my mom wanted to have kids. I met my birth mom when I was 16 and I have an amazing relationship with her, I also have an amazing relationship with my adopted parents who, I just call my parents as that what they are. I tell you this. I have this totally different connection and unspoken understanding with my birth mother that I never knew could exist in this world. It’s the best thing I’ve ever experienced and my adopted mother encourages me to continue having a relationship with my birth mother. Actually at my wedding this past summer I danced with both of my mother’s for the mother son dances. You have lots to think about. No matter how hard you try and unbiased you want to be it’s your kids who will know and feel the difference even if for some reason you don’t.

    • Amelia

      Hello! Thanks for your honest and heartfelt comment. Your perspective is so insightful and valuable. I’m so glad to hear you have such beautiful and loving relationship with both of your Mother’s.

    • Amanda

      Adoptedson, do you think that it is just an adoptee’s perspective that we are treated differently? Perhaps it stems from unresolved loss & confusion being adopted as an infant/small child? I’m not sure I ever felt this, despite being an adopted “girl sandwich” between my two brothers who are my parent’s biological sons.
      I too met my biological Mother (14 years ago now) and have a special connection with her, but again I wonder if this more has to do with the fact that our personalities are much more alike (and that we share our faith in the Lord). However, when I think of “Mom”, the first person that comes to mind is always my adopted Mom. One thing that knowing my birth Mother has done for me is cemented the understanding that nothing can change who you grew up with. That establishes its own memories and bonds that nothing can change. I am grateful for my adopted parents giving me a stable upbringing and many opportunities that my 6 full-blood biological siblings who remained with my biological parents never had. I deeply love all my biological family, but try as I might, they truly feel more like an Aunt, Uncle and cousins to me.
      Unfortunately my adoptive parents stopped being okay with my knowing my birth family a year or two in and told me in no uncertain terms that if I choose to continue my relationship with my birth family that I am not to mention anything about them. This has obviously made things very difficult for me, and now my husband. When our son is old enough we know he may “talk” and I don’t know how we are going to handle that yet… I love my adoptive parents and don’t want to hurt them, even if this jealousy of theirs stems from their own insecurities. I still choose to honor them, as God commands us to do, and hope (and pray!) that they will receive Christ as their Saviour one day, perhaps being able to be a part of that some way.

  11. Ana

    Hi! I was in Anchord with Mark and he’s told me about you guys a couple of times in the past. I find your decision so wonderful, and it’s something that I decided to do as well a while back (which is why Mark told me about you guys, actually). My Brazilian family is very keen on 1. Offering their opinion about my decision to adopt; 2. Including in such opinion that very question: “But you’ll also have your own, right?” So this post is really relevant to my experience as well! I can’t wait to keep hearing more about your journey and hope to meet you and your wonderful family some day!

    • Amelia

      Hi Ana, welcome! So fun to see a friend of Mark’s stopping by! It’s very interesting to hear people’s responses, especially when their are cultural differences at play. I’d love to hear more about your journey sometime. I’m glad this post was relevant for you, hope to meet you sometime too!

  12. Melissa

    Amelia,

    I am new to your blog and love your writing! This posts speaks volumes to me, for I am an adopted child. My parents adopted me from the hospital when I was born. I could not have asked for a better family because I felt so loved from my Mother and Dad. I was an only child, well taken care of and we had such a loving family. Hopefully soon you and Varun will have your, “own” child. You both have such great personalities. Both of you seem to enjoy doing things together with your family and friends and that is important. I feel like I never really wanted to know who my biological family was, as I had no desire to find out, because I had such a great life. I wish the best for you both.

    Melissa

Thoughts? I love hearing from you!