It dawned on me as I was reading an article a friend posted that I never explained why my blog’s title starts out “One of My Own…” The reason is because often times you will hear if you are adopting, “so when are you going to have one of your own?” or “they couldn’t have one of their own, so they adopted.” This phrase, ever since we started our adoption process, makes my skin crawl. Can you imagine if Ruth heard this and actually internalized it? “When are you going to have one of your own?” So, if or when we have biological children, Ruth will be considered even more of an “other” because she is not “our own.” This phrase is absurd. A lot of family members and friends use this phrase unknowingly (and trust me, I hear this phrase on a weekly basis, so yes, it happens), and it is so offensive to me. When Ruth begins to understand what that means, I think it may hurt her. Now of course, I am totally projecting and it may not have a huge effect on her at all, but can you imagine if someone walked up to a biological pair of siblings and asked the mother or father, “so when are you having one of your own?” It doesn’t happen–it typically occurs within the context of adoption and foster care–or perhaps in other blended families with step/half sibling combinations.
Again, I know people say this out of their own ignorance because it’s something they simply do not have to think about, but, to make it clear, it makes some adoptive parents and adoptees angry. I am sure we would hear it more if Ruth didn’t look like us. If you are confused as to what you should be saying instead of “your own,” here’s a phrase you can use: “have you ever considered having a biological child?” A caution with this phrase though, I would not recommend asking all adoptive parents this since some do have infertility issues. Since this is not our case, I openly welcome this question. If you’re unsure of the couple or single person’s reason for adoption, you can always ask, “so why are you choosing adoption?” That is appropriate and non-invasive/non-judgmental. It is so much better than hearing “when will you have one of your own?” I already have one of my own, thank you 🙂 Her name is Ruth and she’s all ours.
Speaking of Ruth being all ours, termination of parental rights occurred this week. This means that there are now no other birth family members that can come forward and legally claim Ruth as their daughter. Praise God that this process went well! We received the email confirmation yesterday that all the paperwork is in and that is our last huge hurdle to jump over before the finalization process begins. We are so thrilled--not that we were super worried that anyone would come forward to claim her, but the chances were still there.
Yes, I am thrilled, but it is still a loss. Ruth will never know who her birthfather is. How can I ever understand the pain and loss she may feel over this fact? Also, how about the birthfather–he probably has no idea that she is biologically half his. Adoption is a process of loss–continual loss. As my daughter grows older, she will experience loss differently–perhaps it will not affect her much, but perhaps it will. It is so hard to know. What I do know is that she does have a father who loves and cares for her very much and that she has a Father in heaven who is perfect and who loves her and me and all His children beyond any of our understanding. I take comfort in that and knowing that Brian and I are open to talking about her birth family to the best of our ability. I am grateful to have adoptees in my family and a church community where adoption is incredibly prevalent. God knows what He’s doing and I have faith that if my daughter puts her trust in Him, it will allow her to overcome her struggles with her identity, should she have any.
Please continue to pray for us as we learn how to parent our sweet little girl. She is healthy and smart and funny and gives me more joy than I ever thought possible. I love her so much and hope that she is able to see the image of Christ and His church in our marriage, so please also pray that Brian and I will continue to have patience with one another and overflowing, abundant love for each other and our little lady.