My brother-in-law, B, and sister-in-law, P, have recently adopted a little baby boy. The extremely long, drawn-out, complicated process is nearly over. Next week it will be official and final. They will have completed all the paperwork, home studies, life adjustments, legal proceedings, and court appearances.
B & P were able to watch this precious baby’s development all the way from the womb to birth, were present when he came into the world, and brought him home when he was a couple of weeks old. There was never any real doubt that it would be finalized, but the reality will be a relief, I’m sure. No turning back, on anybody’s part!
There is something special about an adopted child. One that has been longed for for such a long time is especially treasured. I have another sister-in-law who is herself adopted, and it could not be clearer how crazy her parents are about her!
So, I’ve been thinking about adoption (as a concept, not as a we-ought-to-do-that!). It occurs to me that I have done a lot of adopting in my life. Not babies, and not in a legal sense. But there are people I’ve adopted as closely in my heart as if it were a legal matter.
My sister’s family-in-law, for instance. My brother-in-law is one of 6 siblings, and every one of them, and his parents, are part of my adopted family. I could not love them more if we actually shared blood. When I get to see any of them (far too rarely), it is like coming home. As long as I live, I’ll never forget the day my sister’s breast cancer was diagnosed. I sat by her bedside while she slept, trying to assimilate the awful news. The door to the hospital room opened, and her mother-in-law stepped in. I got up and fell into her arms, instantly feeling better just in her sweet presence. When my first baby was born, this woman wept over her as if she were her own grandchild. This family is as surely mine as any legal relative.
My oldest niece, my brother’s daughter, actually is adopted. She came bouncing into our lives at the age of 4, and we rarely even think about or remember that she was not originally of our blood. She is a grown woman with a lovely daughter of her own now. I am so proud of her and love her so much!
A little more complicated to explain is my relationship with my sister’s daughters. I love all my nieces and nephews, very, very much. But because I was blessed to live near them and watch them grow up, I am probably closest to these two girls. Well, they’re young women now. When their mother, my sister, died (and probably before that, to be honest), these two girls took up residence in my heart as daughters. In my heart, I’ve adopted them as my own. I pray for them each day in the same breath I pray for my own daughters. The other nieces and nephews have their own mothers for this. These two are mine.
I have recently also adopted the best friend of my niece (my sister’s oldest). She is a lovely young woman from Trinidad that my niece brought home with her a few months ago, and she instantly became family. She calls me “Aunt Amy”. She has this beautiful accent that makes it come out “Ahhnt Amy”. I am very excited that she is coming to visit next weekend.
There are actually quite a few people that I consider family. People older than me who’ve known me my whole life and are like parents; people who are my peers who are like brothers and sisters; and little ones who are like my own little nieces and nephews. I’ve adopted them, and, maybe more importantly, they’ve adopted me. They say blood is thicker than water. But real love is just as thick as blood, and I am one very blessed woman to have this much love to call my own.