I was adopted as an infant. The people who reared me are my parents. So are the people who caused my birth. But the ones who were there every day, did “diaper duty,” and went through my teens with me are who I have in mind when I say “parents.” I pray for all four of them, and for my in-laws, who I’m fortunate to be able to say I like.

As an adopted child, I know for certain that my parents wanted me, went to great lengths to have me in their lives, and chose me. My birth parents, too, valued my existence, allowing me to be born. Considering I was born in 1971, they could have made different choices.

Knowing I’m adopted, knowing I’m wanted and how much effort went into making me a part of my family has had bearing on my understanding of what it means to be God’s adopted child, too. It has given me clarity that being an adopted child means I am not “second best”, “runner up “, or some alternative to the real thing. I’m a child who was wanted, worked for, prayed for, and suffered for to make me a part of my family.

A big thank you goes to my mom, for her candor, openness, and honesty so that I could know these things about myself, and for never resenting me or my brother for all the hoops she and Dad had to jump through to make us a family.

Having known other adopted children who don’t feel this way, and who don’t have this clarity, I must say the way my parents handled these discussions was beneficial. Their candor, honesty, and even-handedness made a world of difference. Their assertion that they couldn’t have loved us any more if we had been biologically theirs was believable and supported by their words and actions. This was true for most of our extended family as well, and my parents’ actions made up for the few extended family members whose hearts and minds were too small. We knew who was at fault for their behavior and unequal treatment, and it was not us children.

Each parent will know their own child best, but I cannot emphasize enough how important my mother’s candor has been for me. Because she shared their struggles, I know how much my parents wanted me in their lives. Please consider sharing with your children your own stories, as appropriate for their ages, comprehension, and temperaments. My parents shared with us in a way that was tailored to my brother and I, with rather good results.  I asked more questions, and was more willing to listen, so I got more details and am, as a result, more comfortable with our adoption history. Receptivity on the part of the child is a critical component in the success of your candor and courage.

More than once, my mom related something her mother said that I would like to share. My mother was, understandably, afraid that one day, one or both of us would reject our parents in favor of our birth parents.  We never did, but she dreaded hearing, “You’re not my real mother!” What my grandmother said was this: if you raise them with enough love, they’ll have room in their hearts for both of you.

I’ve never had the desire or energy to find my birth parents- one set of family plus in-laws is all I can handle! But my grandmother was right. If they had found me, I would have tried to make room in my life for them. The proof is in my ability to incorporate those wonderful people who are my husband’s family. There’s plenty of love to go around.  That’s the beautiful thing about love – the more it’s shared, the more there is!

Delsonora lives in Central Ohio and has been married to the best husband a woman could want for over a quarter century. She has a disability and was adopted as an infant. Delsonora loves pets, crafting, and food, and she thinks that coincidence is often a “divine hint”. Catholic from conception, she’s convinced that the faith is why, despite the prevalence of other options, she was able to be born.