Thursday, February 14, 2013

Practical Love

3 of my Valentines
This morning, Kurt and I both got this text from our 21 year old daughter, Maddy:

"Happy Valentine's Day to the original love birds!!  Thank you for showing me perfect examples of every type of love.  I love you both so much it hurts!  xoxoxo

Pretty sweet, huh?

Kurt's response to Maddy got me thinking.  He told her that we've had lots of practice, so we are bound to get good at it, and then he informed her (tattletale that he is) that on our first Valentine's day together I "scoffed" at the pink carnation that he gave me.  That was 1979!  We were in 10th grade!  Let it go, right?

It is a flaw of mine that I am not very romantic.  I would probably die laughing if Kurt ever did something like cover our bed with rose petals.

I may not be a romantic, but when it comes to love, I have been lucky.  Crazy lucky.  Lucky and loved right from the day I was born.  My birth mom, Jean, loved me.  She poured her love into me for the week we had together in a Boston hospital.  She continued to love me after that, praying for me and hoping the best life possible for me.  My parents loved me from the moment that they knew I would be their daughter.  I have siblings who love me.  I have always had good friends that love me.  I married the first boy I loved.  I have four kids who love me.  I have never not known love.  Never.  Not one day.

I don't take love for granted, but I also don't over-think love either.  I am practical about love, and although I don't think that sounds very flattering, I do think my love attitude has served me well.

I think too many people over-think love.  Take romantic love, for example.  Recently someone told me that their spouse said, "I love you, but I am not sure I'm in love with you."  I hate that line.  That overused cop-out of a line.  As if we are entitled to feel the rush of chemistry that comes with attraction every day!  That's impossible.  That's how God designed us so that we would make babies.  He also designed us not not always feel that or we wouldn't get anything else done!   Come on.  Don't suddenly act like love is out of your hands!  Do your job.  Love your spouse.  Stop worrying about how you feel.

I have similar thoughts about the love we have for our kids.  A bunch of adoptive parents were talking recently.  They were discussing about whether their kids would have been better off if they hadn't been adopted internationally.  If the loss of their birth families, homeland, culture was too great, too damaging.  These parents love their children.  They agonize for them.  They see the hurts that their children suffer.  They are open, honest and raw as they share this with each other.  I honor and respect that.  I hurt for my boys, too.  They have lost so much.  However, I don't find myself wondering if we are what is best for them.  Not because I am sure we are what is best for them, but because it doesn't matter.  There is more than one path to a good life.  Our paths led us to each other.  We'll just take it from there.

When I was a baby,  I spent a couple of months in foster care before being placed with my adoptive parents.  During that time, my birth parents went to the adoption agency and told the social worker that they planned to get married and wanted me back.  After spending time talking with social worker, they decided to stay with the adoption plan.  But, had that happened, when I was older, they may have told me the story of how they almost went through with an adoption plan for me.  They may have told me about their last minute change of heart and how they got me back so we could be a family.  I would probably be horrified that I had almost been given away and raised by strangers!

Instead, I found this information out as an adult, an adopted adult, and felt horrified.  I wouldn't have been me!  I would have a different name, a different life, no Kurt, Devyn, Maddy, Mikias or Jemberu!   I wouldn't have had my parents!  I would have had the wrong life!

But of course the thing is, I wouldn't have had the wrong life.  I would have had the life I got.  Just like our adopted kids.  This is the life they got.  We can't change the circumstances or decisions made that led them to an orphanage.  We can't change the fact that they were in a place where needed a family.  We honor their past.  We acknowledge their hurts.  We do our best.  We love them.




22 comments:

  1. I LOVE THIS POST SOOO MUCH!! Thank you for sharing! This was so wonderful to hear.

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    1. Thank you for taking a moment to let me know!

      Alison

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  2. Allison...this was so good for me to read this today....as an adoptee and as an adoptive mother...I have thought many of your same thoughts.

    We have to do our best and most of all do what we can to learn what is best for each child.

    The last paragraph hits home for me especially, because today was the day I lost my first mother and she lost me. It is a huge loss, but this is the life I got. My life with her would have been a good life...it just did not happen that way.

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    1. Julie,

      It is a huge loss. I wish I could give you a huge hug.

      Alison

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  3. Not everyone has been as fortunate as you and your adopted very blessed children. Love hasnt come easy or at all for some of us . If only I could had been adopted I might also have had that love. Its nice to hear that others have been lucky , blessed whatever it is with love.

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    1. Rita,

      I wish you had been loved the way you (and everyone else) deserves to be. I really do.

      Alison

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  4. Alison, I love this post! As an adoptee and adoptive mama, I was shaking my head in agreement through the entire post.

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    1. Hi Sue,

      That is really good to hear! Thanks for letting me know.

      Alison

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  5. Thanks for writing this post and this blog. I am an adoptive mother of 3 (2 AA children from domestic adoption, and a daughter from China). I've wondered this too, but agree that we don't get to choose something different. This is what we (and they) have for a life journey. I will try my best to help them in all areas, but we'll never know where a different path would have taken us. So, I will love our kids and hope for the best.

    I love your thought! I only wish you were able to post more often :) thanks!

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    1. Hi Carrie!
      Thank you so much for letting me know your thoughts about this post! It means a lot to me.

      Alison

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  6. This is an amazing post, and an wonderful perspective on adoption. I too am an adoptive mother, and am so thankful that things have turned out the way they have for me, and my family. It's not what "the plan" was, but now I can't imagine it any other way, and I hope that when my boys are grown, they feel the same way.

    PS: I love your blog, and share tons of your posts with my mom, because they relate so well to our family's own situations.

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    1. Hi House 54 (cool name)!

      Thanks for writing and for sharing with your mom!

      Alison

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  7. Um, I just love you! Seriously. Love the way you think. Love your oh so pragmatic view of the world. Love everything you write and how it always makes adoption a little clearer for me, and simply rings true. Thanks for writing what can sometimes be so hard to vocalize and to explain.

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    1. Hi Leah Jane!
      Thank you! You just made my day. For real.

      Alison

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  8. Awesome, awesome picture and your writing is always heart-fealt.

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  9. Great perspective. I hope I get a text from my daughter like that someday!

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  10. Just found your blog and loving it! I'm an adoptee too who is adopting! :) Hope to keep reading more of your adventures as my husband and I work through our first adoption!

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    1. Thank you! We are a unique club...adoptees who adopt! Would love to hear more as your journey progresses!

      Alison

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  11. Just stumbled onto your blog and this post hit home. I am in the middle of planning another visit with my son's birth parents and I find myself over thinking and questioning everything I do. What will my son think when he's old enough to talk? Am I doing everything I can to ease things for the birth family? What and where are the healthy boundaries? What can I do to make things fun for our visits? How will things be a year from now, five years, twelve? How would his life be different or the lives of his birth parents? But the what ifs rarely do any good, nor the incessant worrying. My family (which now includes two great birth parents that amaze me with their love) lives by the saying...It is what it is...we all just do the best we can and put our little man first. Let love and honesty lead and hope for the best.

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  12. Hi last comment above was mine. Little man is teething and lack of sleep has made my brain fizz out on how to list user names

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