I’ll be honest at first I didn’t even understand the question. Maybe I’m a bit snappish about questions like these because I don’t have any biological children. Maybe I feel offended when people ask my astoundingly beautiful little girl where she got her curly strawberry blond hair from when it was obviously not me. It could also be that I genuinely feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t been so blessed by a non-blood-related friend that they don’t understand how I could possibly love my children any more or less because they aren’t biologically related to me. I have friends who are closer than my sisters and I have family that I chose that I like better than some of the family that I was given by birthright. So why are pen and paper as good as flesh and blood? To me it isn’t as good it’s better. My children are chosen. I had to swear vows and sign papers, and wait for months to be sure that these kids were mine for good.
Here are 10 reasons why Pen and Paper are as Good as Flesh and Blood
- The newborn baby’s smell is exactly the same perfect scent if the baby is biological or adopted. Babies are perfection. Okay, some of the smells they put off are not particularly enjoyable but the same can be said for all babies, not just adopted ones. All jesting aside, adopted babies make the same sweet noises, give the same adorable cuddles, and have the same precious little toes as a biological baby. An added bonus is that there is no birth pain for mama to make her question why she even looked twice at daddy.
- There is a chance to completely miss the potty training stage if you adopt an older child. This may not seem like a big deal but I can tell you from experience that not having to potty train two three-year-olds at the same time was so nice. My husband was particularly interested in older child adoption and this was one of his main selling points on the idea. Added bonuses of adopting older children include that they can dress themselves, bathe themselves, and can tell you what is wrong instead of crying for an hour (or tell you what is wrong while crying for an hour).
- Pen and paper come with hand cramps and paper cuts, biology comes with nine months of sharing your body with another human. Having not experienced the latter, I can’t say if one is better than the other but having watched friends experience both, I can say I am probably less physically scarred from my experience, though, I will say that both experiences can bring emotional scarring.
- In theory, pen and paper take less time than a biological baby. I know couples that went from no baby to having a baby in a few weeks after signing paperwork. It can, and often does, take longer than it seems like it should, but while there is waiting and anticipation it can be for less time than a biological child. At the very least, they are tied.
- The love is just as real for my adopted kids as it is for my biological family. I have friends who have both biological and adopted children and will say the love they have is no different for their adopted children than their biological ones. In fact, some will say the love is deeper and more special with adopted children because their children’s love for them was earned and learned instead of just assumed. They had to prove they had a safe, good place for their adopted child to land, while their biological children just assumed their love was there. There are just as many broken relationships between biological children as there are adopted children and though the reasons may differ the heartbreak is the same. Don’t let that stop you. The rewards far outweigh the heartbreak in the long run.
- Lots of families don’t match. Ask in Adoption.com/forums. In fact, today it is just as normal to see a family made up of two moms, one kid, and a dog as it is to see a mom, dad, and two kids. Children whose hair doesn’t match mom or dad’s is pretty normal. Even skin tone not being exactly matching doesn’t raise as many eyebrows as it might have 20 years ago. The stigma of adoption, mixed race, and non-traditional family structure has largely been erased. Yes, there are still pockets of people who can and will be picky about these things but that doesn’t make them right. None of my children have my hair color but all of them look like siblings. My neighbor who did not know us well thought my oldest girl looked just like me but with strawberry blond hair. It used to make my girl concerned. Now it makes her proud.
- The needs are the same for both an adopted and a biological child. They need food, clothing, and affection. There is no difference. I have friends who only have biological children and their daughters struggle the same with them as mine do with me. The power struggles, tantrums, fears, anxieties, needs, and desires are the same for my kids as hers. In some ways it is easier for me to identify the problems we are having because of the training and required reading I have needed to do to prepare to adopt. Ask on forums to talk to other moms and dads who have gone through an adoption plan and had biological children and they will tell you much the same thing.
- If you’d like a visual of how special the prospect of adoption is visit Adoption.com/profiles and look at the thousands of people who are so hopeful for a son or daughter. Just as biological parents pray and plan for the birth of their child, hopeful adoptive parents dream and prepare for a child to call their own. They have the same hopes and dreams for an adopted child as a biological parent has for their biological child.
- The milestones are the same. I got to witness my youngest daughter’s first words, first crawl, first steps, first bike ride, first day of school, the works. I was afraid that with my older children I’d miss out; however, even with my oldest son I got so many firsts I wouldn’t have expected. He rode his bike for the first time with my husband. We had our first camp out, first day of school ever, first “A” on a paper, and first chapter book. He had missed out on so much and we got to help him make up for lost time. At the time it was exhausting and heartbreaking. Now I’m so proud of all he has gone through.
- They need mama and daddy just the same as biological children do. I waited so long to hear my name be “Mama” it still takes my breath away years later. Yes, there are days that if I hear “Mama” one more time I may go hide in my closet. Even a good thing can be too much sometimes but I still cherish the fact that I have that name. Furthermore, even if they never called me “Mama” or my husband “Daddy” or “Papa”, they 100 percent still need us. They run to us whenever they skin their knees or have a bad day at school. They need cuddles at night before bed and comforting when they have a bad dream. They need magical Christmases and birthdays where their wildest dreams come true. I will never forget the first Christmas I had with my oldest. We worked hard to make it memorable as we were fostering him and didn’t know how long he would be with us. He walked out that morning to cinnamon rolls, hot cocoa, and a tree piled with presents. The look on his face was of disbelief and delight. He just stared for a minute and for that minute he was a little boy who was watching a dream come true. Every child deserves moments like that. The reality is that some will never get those moments if people don’t step in and help them.
Pen and paper are just as good as flesh and blood, but sometimes it is better. I am a chosen mama. My family are chosen aunties and uncles and grandmas and grandpas. There are days when it feels like swimming upstream. There are days when it feels like I’m floating in clouds and living in a dream world. Today I’m wrestling with a child who does not want to go back to school after Christmas break. There is no amount of negotiating that makes her want to obey. I hope that as my kids grow up they will not feel the stigma of being adopted but instead see it as the blessing I see. I cannot imagine loving a person as much as I love these people of mine. My blood flowing through their veins could not make me love them more or less. Having been through what we have been through together I can say with certainty that there is nothing they can do to make me not love them fiercely and fully. If you are concerned that if you adopt a child you will love them less than a biological child, I’d caution you to consider if you really should adopt. That being said, I truly think that Pen and Paper are as good as flesh and blood. In some cases, I think it may be even better. If you think you’d like to find out more about adoption visit Adoption.com.
Christina Gochnauer is a foster and adoptive mom of five. She has a bachelor’s degree of Psychology from Letourneau University. She currently resides in Texas with her husband of 16 years, her children, and her three dogs. She is passionate about using her voice to speak out for children from “hard places” in her church and community.