The idea that adoptive parents are somehow better than birth parents because they voluntarily take on the responsibility bothers me. Biological parents of a special needs child have the choice to place their child with the state or give them up for adoption. They are not forced to stay committed to a child who will require more than they are willing to give. Commitment is a choice is either situation.
Sometimes people say “you are a saint” because of adopting Billy Ray. The truth is he was my answer to prayer and my dream come true. Growing up I dreamed of having as many children as my grandparents (13). Infertility was devastating. I longed for a baby to hold and love. At the same time, I recognized in myself that I was more patient with special needs children than my two stepchildren – both teenagers. I adored the personality of many Down Syndrome people I had worked with. It was perhaps a selfish choice.
As the saying goes “be careful what you pray for.” It has been a different road than I would have expected just as if a biological child had been born with special needs. The cute and cuddly experience was short lived. There was no way to anticipate ADHD, bipolar and Autism would become part of our life.
The idea that adoptive parents give up their children more than biological parents is unfair. It is about commitment not blood. If the bond to your child is there you do what you have to do however the child became your child. It was never a consideration for us.
Reading Lora’s blog on emotions I was reminded that when Billy Ray was little the bond became very strong. If I was having a bad day at work invariably the phone would ring from Headstart that Billy Ray wanted to talk to me. He just seemed to know and it could always perk me up. If he was having problems at preschool I just knew and called to check on him. The bond that occurred in those early years is what has carried us through his difficult times.
A different life than expected yes but I wouldn’t have missed it. Sometimes I look at him and say “I’m glad you’re my son”. The struggles we have faced haven’t changed that.
Peggy Lou Morgan