For the second post in my Adoption Series, I have a guest post from Melissa of White Noise about her family and experiences with having 3 biological children and 1 adopted child. For more information about Melissa, be sure to check out the bottom of this post.
Guest post from White Noise:
We have four children; three crazy rambunctious boys and one small but noisy baby girl. Three of our children are biological, and one of them is adopted. Three grew in my body, and one in my heart.
People are often curious about the story of our family because the fact that we adopted is visually obvious. In late 2005 we packed up four suitcases, two adults, and one two year old and flew to Northeast Thailand to meet our second son, Matthew, a fifteen month old energizer bunny on hyperdrive. He had long eyelashes and round thighs and a smile that charmed everyone he met. At first it was awkward. Here’s this strange creature with a fully developed personality running laps around our legs, and we’re expected to swoop in and squish together and come out the other end an interconnected family of four. It was weird.
We brought him home on the longest intercontinental flight known to man. He specialized in the flail-and-punch, a full body wiggle designed for escape that generally resulted in getting inadvertently backhanded in the face. It is hard to nurture a fledgling love when you’re so busy containing a toddler! We learned, though, that you don’t have to nurture it so much as wait it out. We got to know him on the fly; discovering that he holds his breath until he faints when, overtired and hungry, he caught his foot in the door of our car, and discovering his passionate love of swimming while visiting family at the local pool. We were so busy caring for him, we didn’t really notice when he slipped into our hearts for certain. Isn’t this the way it happens with biological babies, too? They freak out and pee on your shirt and all they ever need is one of three things: milk, a new diaper, or a nap, but it’s the hardest job you’ve ever done and suddenly they’re irreplaceable.
Always, people want to know, Do you love him the same?
Generally they don’t ask outright, but it’s there. The elephant in the room. Sure, it grows differently. It starts outside your body, outside your family, outside your known world. But adopted love grows just the same, as you do life, as you stumble around fumbling to change diapers in the wee hours of the morning and trying not to cry when your kid pukes on your last clean shirt right before his church dedication service. This is how love grows. It also helps to sneak in and study their faces while they are sleeping. Or enjoy the enthusiasm when you make their favorite banana chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and an electric burst of joy jolts across their body. Eventually, there is more joy than work. And one day, they look at you all mischievous and sparkly and you think, How did I ever live without you?
Melissa is a mother to four active, noisy children and blogs at White Noise. She is a board member and writer for a Canadian birth advocacy organization, Mothers of Change. Melissa also works part time as a paramedic, doula, and visual artist, and aspires to be a midwife. She is passionate about family, natural birth, healthy food, breastfeeding, babywearing, attachment parenting, environmentalism, fighting poverty, and all forms of art, including artful living. She holds a special place in her heart for adoption, having adopted one child from overseas and embraced being a multicultural family as a result.