Posted tagged ‘children’

A Question About Love

August 21, 2008

It was a question asked out of the clear blue about eight years ago. The Prince had gone to school with me and was running around on the playground with my Kindergarten students. A mom had stopped by to take her child home early and was standing with me enjoying the sunshine, the sight of healthy, happy little kids racing all around, swinging and climbing on play structures. She noticed my Korean born child and started to ask me something. Something that was stuck in her throat and then came out in a rush. She said she loved her child more than she could possibly have imagined. She had from the very first…as he grew inside her. She stumbled over the next part and finally asked me how I could possibly love MY children in that same way?

Wow. That was an interesting moment. It has stayed with me all of these years. Pops up at odd times. Wierd times. I can still see her face…and the face of her child so much like hers. I have thought often about this incomprehensible, defining kind of love that she was talking about. Did I? Do I? I have never felt the stirrings and movements of a little body inside mine. I have not shared that sort of thing with my husband. I have not gone through physical labor pains. I have not given birth. I don’t know if those things could possibly make my feelings any different than they already are.

My husband has daughters from another marriage that he loves desperately. I don’t know that he feels anything less intense for the son and daughter that arrived by plane. He has definitely has had more ‘quanity time’ with these two. Back in the days of weekend visitations we used to commisserate by telling each other we were giving his girls ‘quality time’ at our house. I have since learned that ‘quality/quanity’ doesn’t really matter. It’s ‘time’ that does. Any kind of time. But that’s getting off subject.

My son was four months old when he was first placed in our arms. My daughter was five years old when we first hugged her. We did a paper chase and a homestudy process and bared our souls to strangers and to one another trying to decide if we were right to be parents…and if we were ready to be parents. We waited with hearts in throats for those phone calls and papers that validated our decisions and searches. We put together a crib …and later a bed. Selected clothing we wanted to see them wear. Chose curtains and first books and first toys. Is that kind of what you go through with a pregnancy?

I would imagine that those first photographs that we saw were very much like the first ultrasound images that other people see. I knew instantly that these were my children. I didn’t cry…which I think surprised our caseworker. But I remember a definite tightening in my throat. A swelling in my heart. I couldn’t wait for them to be here. To be in my arms. To feel the softness of their hair. To kiss their cheeks. To smell their smells. Is that what you go through too? The waiting?

Our labor took place in a court room. The ‘birth’ was completed with the dash of a pen. But those days were the happiest days of our lives. Overwhelming happy days. They were safe. They were finally here and they were ours. Is that what you go through too?

We celebrated and stressed over first steps…first teeth….first missing teeth…first days of school…homework woes….and little friendships and fights. We planned overwhelming birthday parties and laid back sleepovers, attended parent conferences and programs. We’ve sat in emergency rooms waiting and worrying. Looking ahead we see boy friends and girl friends, first dates, proms and….shudder…..driver’s licenses on the very near horizon. Is that so very different than you?

I worried about missing the babyhood firsts with my daughter….but I didn’t. We shared a different kind of firsts. The firsts of an older child. The look on a five year old’s face when she bit into her first piece of watermelon….sat on her very first bicycle….went swimming for the first time. It was all there. On a different level. Much like your experiences?

It’s hard for someone who has not gone through an adoption process to understand how we could – so completely and utterly – love someone elses’ child. But they miss the point totally. This is our child. Our son. Our daughter. No more. No less. Completely. Incomprehensible. Defining. Like yours.