Are any of you familiar with a fabulous Christian speaker named Beth Moore? I was watching one of her videos that goes along with one of her Bible studies, and she was talking about an older child that she adopted. She shared that her adopted son had all sorts of issues, causing her to have to attend numerous conferences with school personnel. As the school personnel would rattle off issues, she would respond by saying things like, “Yes, I know he can be difficult…”
One day, the school called her in to talk with her about another behavioral issue. Instead of hemming and hawing, she snapped back, “Will you give him a break!?!! He is just a little boy!” She went home fuming about the whole situation to her husband. Her husband smiled at her and said, “I think you just became his mother.”
For many adoptive parents, the move toward becoming an adopted child’s parent is not quite as dramatic, and some might not even be able to identify a particular moment in which they truly became their child’s parent – not based upon a piece of paper but through a shift inside of the heart.
I remember when my moment was. I adored my son from the moment I laid eyes on him, but in many ways, I was more like a nanny, a babysitter, or a loving aunt. I did not believe that I had the right to get upset or complain about any aspect of parenting because I went through so much to become a parent. However, after five straight weeks of very little sleep, I had a meltdown at 2:00 a.m. when I could not figure out how to change the Diaper Genie refill. I wound up staying up for a couple of hours watching “Sleepless in Seattle” because I desperately needed some “me time.” I faced head-on that caring for an infant who was not sleeping through the night was very hard and that it was okay for me to get frustrated, just like every other mother on the planet.
The next morning, my son smiled at me for the first time, and I knew that it was all worth it. I recognized that, as family, I would get frustrated with him at times, and that was okay. His smile made it all worth it. In that moment, I gave myself permission to treat him like family.
What was your moment in which you realized you had embraced your adopted child as your child?
Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt