my children’s stories

Thursday, May 30, 2013

When you adopt children, people who have been there will tell you that you love them no less than you love the children that are born from your own womb. That is true. There is no limit to the love I have for my younger two children and my older two children. They are part of my heart and soul, all the same.

What people neglect to mention when they say those things is that you might not love the children who joined your family through adoption less, but you love them differently. The parenting experience is most definitely not the same. This was never more evident to me than this past week as I walked behind my youngest son and his older sister (the one who doesn’t live with us) at our play-date/visit. I watched them and thought about the strangeness of parenting my littles. I love them more than life itself, but it is different than my big kids.

IMG_1092There is no part of my big kids’ story so far that I do not have a piece of. That will change the older they get, I know, but right now, I know nearly every bit of their stories. That’s not true for my youngest two. There are pieces of their stories that I don’t have any part of and never will. That is the strangest feeling. It’s not something I ever experienced with my older two, this feeling of other-ness. There are things my littles will share with each other, with their sister that I will never understand, never know. That thing I feel with my big kids, that intangible thing where I actually have ownership in a big piece of their stories because we lived it together - I don’t have that with the other two. And it feels odd.

I know a lot of what I’m describing here is grief. It grieves me that I don’t know every part of my youngest son’s story. I grieve that I missed his first smile, his first tooth, his first steps. I grieve that I don’t know what his baby cry sounded like, that I couldn’t be there to comfort him when he felt sad. I grieve all those pain-filled moments that I couldn’t be there for, that I couldn’t stop. I missed two and a half years of his life. Two and a half YEARS. I can’t even imagine missing two and a half weeks of my big kids’ lives. I missed only four months with my littlest, but some days, days when we fight what those months did to her little brain, four months seems like an eternity.

There’s this selfish part of me that feels left out. Even a bit angry that I didn’t get to experience all of life with my littles. There’s a bigger part of me that is grateful for this gift. It’s easy to deceive myself with my big kids. I think they’re mine. I think their stories are mine. Adoption has given me a constant reminder that all of that is an illusion. I don’t own my kids. I don’t own their stories. I’m not in control of what happens in their lives. Both the missing pieces of my littles’ stories and the every known detail of my big kids’ stories remind me to lay it all down at the feet of the One who holds both their pasts and their futures in His hands.

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