Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Love O' Meter

Recently I had a conversation with one of the sales people at my favorite clothing store.  She asked me how old my children were, I told her 22, 18, 8 and 5.  "Second marriage?" she asked, "Nope, same old husband".  "So was your third child a surprise?"  I smiled and told her that he was so planned that we went to the other side of the world to bring him home and then his brother 2 years later.  She asked a little more, I answered and then she said, "Wow...I could never do that.  I don't think I could ever love an adopted child as much as my own."  I told her that once you adopt a child he is your own.  She replied that it couldn't really be the same.  I started to tell her that there is no difference in how I love my children but I could tell she had made up her mind.  I realized it was silly to try to convince her that she could love an adopted child  in the same way as her children by birth.  Maybe she couldn't.  What do I know about her heart and it's capabilities?

I wonder if other people see our family and wonder the same thing, if we could possibly love the boys as much as the daughters who were born to us?  If asked, Kurt and I will tell you that we love all of our children individually and equally.  But I am pretty sure that is not exactly true.  If you were to hook us up to a Love O' Meter (if there was such a thing), and measure the love we feel for our kids, the Love O' Meter might tell you something that would make us feel embarrassed and the doubters surprised.  It would probably reveal that we love our boys (that right, the children not born to us!) more.

There is an extra protectiveness,a real fierceness, that we have for the boys that goes above and beyond what we have for the girls.  Raising the girls, no one questioned who we were as a family, we didn't get stared at on  a regular basis and no one wondered if we could really love them like our own.  No one ever told the girls that their parents 'bought' them.  The girls have been cherished and deeply loved since we knew I was pregnant with them.  The boys had difficult years before they became ours.  We hurt for the losses they have endured and yes, we love them extra hard to try to  make up for those losses and the doubts of others.

When Mikias was had been home for a few months we brought him to the local track club.  He was grouped with kids his age and they played 'duck, duck, goose'.  I was watching closely and by the forth kid to go around I was really angry and turned to tell Kurt what I was seeing.  Before I could open my mouth, he said "I know..none of the kids will touch Mikias's head."  He was the only black child in the group and the kids clearly didn't want to touch his unfamiliar hair and no one made him the 'goose'.  I sprang forward to set things right for my new son.  Kurt pulled me back.   He was strangely and annoyingly calm.  I wanted him to go fix it, for starters by kicking the butts of the other parents for not noticing .  I don't recall exactly what he said but it was something like "Blah blah....develop thicker skin....blah blah...calm down, we will be interacting with these families for years....blah blah....remember Mikias will see how you react to these things...blah blah...this is not going to be anything like raising the girls."

He was right...it is nothing like raising the girls, who we love wildly.  And that is the difference.  It is why our love for the boys is extra big and why if that love o' meter is invented we could be in hot water with our girls.


  1. Grownups fear what they don't understand, and children follow suit. Parents need to teach their children that "different" does not equal scary. I brought my "South Boston" raised 3 year old step son to one of those kid play and eat places in Braintree one Saturday afternoon. He was playing in the plastic ball pit by himself, when a little black girl about his age entered, and started playing with him. My stepson had never seen anyone like her before, but the first thing he did was hug her, then he turned to me and said "Mama, a chocolate girl!!". He was so excited, I thought he was going to explode. I must have turned 2 shades of red, and another two shades when he licked his hand and started rubbing her arm, trying to rub the color off. The girls mother walked over to me laughing and said "Where are you from, or should I ask?" Mortified, I apologized and said "We're from Southie. He doesn't get out much."... she nodded, and said, "Uh huh... I knew that, but at least he's not afraid of her. Last time we came here, she cleared out the whole pit. You've taught him well.". I never really thought of it that way, because for me it was automatic...different is for curiosity, and acceptance...not for fear.


  2. I love the mom "KRN" who posted. She's awesome! I fear for the woman at your favorite store - to be so ignorant - how could she not love another child who wasn't her own?! Even if she didn't adopt them into her family(WHICH MAKES THEM HERS!) How could she not love other kids? I love your kids like they were mine - they know I will protect them and help them for life. I hope I never meet her - it won't be pretty. xoxo Bethe

  3. bethe-
    i'm on the phone with my mom now. I told her that maybe I shouldn't adopt because i will kill people who say things like that stupid retail woman....
    i love you like "you were my own"

  4. Allison I think I would feel the same way you always want to protect your children from harm. Even tought this may not feel harmfull it still feels that way. You love your children in different ways because they each need dufferent love.