Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Human Heartbeats

It's odd the things you don't think of when you adopt a baby. It never occurred to us that Maggie would be any less our daughter than a biological daughter would be.

But now I realize people think all kinds of odd things about adopted children. 

My husband recently listened to a friend talk about his first grandchild and the wonders of the experience.  Then the friend said, "But I know it won't be like this for you because your daughter is adopted."

What?  She isn't really our daughter so any children of hers wouldn't really be our grandchildren?  Therefore, we couldn't possibly love them completely?  We couldn't feel an equivalent happiness to that of a genetically spawned extended family?

Do divorced people who remarry ever get told they can't really love the new spouses because only a first marriage is a real marriage? No one ever writes about that kind of love being non-transferable.

Yet some children are more real than others in the minds of some.

There are plenty of things I don't believe in, but I do believe love is love. The same love that makes you smile also makes you cry. It floats your spirit just as easily as it sinks it. It isn't measured with a different set of rulers.

If your baby cries, you don't run faster in the night to a biological baby than you do to an adopted one. The human heart moves at the same speed.

The power of adoptive love is captured in Ladybug Love by Kat Lamons and Trish Diggins. They offer 100 charming vignettes from adoptive families on the day they were contacted about their match with a baby in China. That tiny picture they receive of a child on the other side of the world causes smiles and tears that rival those in a hospital delivery room. Without a caption, who could tell the difference in the parents' faces?

The book contains sweet stories about the goodness of mail carriers and adoption agency staff who sometimes faced extreme challenges to deliver the news about a long-awaited baby. There are difficult accounts about the agony of governmental delays, crippling self-doubts, and years of bitter disappointments. International adoption is not an easy path. But more importantly, they provide a firsthand account of joy when the parents learn the news in a grocery store or a garden or an office cubicle. Who would say theirs is a lightweight joy?

I looked up details about the human heart. They are all about the same size and beat approximately 100,000 times per day. It didn't say they beat faster or grew heavier for biological children than for adopted children.

Love for a child weighs the same in any heart.

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