A Love Like No Other: Stories from Adoptive Parents, edited by Pamela Kruger and Jill Smolowe; published by Riverhead Books
I was doing some shopping at Powell’s. I’d already picked up all the books I’d come for, so now I was enjoying simply browsing. I wandered over to the children’s room, which led me to the parenting aisles, which led me to the adoption shelf. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might remember our desire to become adoptive parents to a child from Romania. I saw this book, and I bought it.
A Love Like No Other is a collection of stories from adoptive parents. There were many books about the adoption process, but I already have a pretty good idea of what that consists. I knew that adopting is really only the first step. After you adopt, you’re a parent. What then?
I was drawn to this book because the stories in it are true lessons adoptive parents have learned about dealing with insensitive questions from strangers, interacting with biological parents, answering their children’s hard questions, raising older adoptees, and making a family when some parties are reluctant. I love what one of the parents said (I wish I could find the actual quote again!): It’s like getting married—you make a vow and sign a paper, but then you have to figure out how to actually live it out.
I appreciated the candid honesty of all the parents about the struggles they’ve been through. But all of them agreed: it’s worth it.
My favorite testimony was from Joe Treen and entitled “Reluctant No More.” Before he and his wife adopted their daughter from China, he was full of practical doubts: being close to retirement, did they really have the energy to raise a newborn? Would they be able to afford college for her? Heck, could they afford the adoption expenses or clothes or food? Did he really want to sacrifice their current lifestyle of relative freedom?
He says: “[Men] can figure out the cons—oh, can they figure out the cons—but what they don’t see ahead of time are the pros. They don’t see the big picture until they actually have a child. And then they get it.”
I love his story, and all of the stories, because it emphasizes one important point: Families are made in many different ways. Adoption is just one.
“Once you’ve become a parent, you stop thinking about how the kid came into your life. You’re her father. She’s your child. Topic A changes from host countries and adoption agencies to schools and summer camps.”
I was somewhat frustrated with a few of the stories. I felt that they focused more on the parents’ agendas and issues and lessons learned regarding their children, rather than with the children themselves. But I realized that this makes sense. Parenting is humbling. It forces you to confront all of your insecurities and expectations. Many adoptive parents (myself included, as a future adoptive parent) adopt because they wish to do something good and provide a home for someone who doesn’t have one. What they come to find out is that their adopted child actually brings home to them. I think that is so incredibly beautiful.
Obviously, I can’t help but think about how this affects our lives. Reading about so many different types of adoptions opens up possibilities I didn’t know were there. I also realize that, growing up, my desire to adopt had been mostly about the country I wanted to adopt from, Romania. While that would still be wonderful and God may very well open up adoptions in Romania soon, I know that what’s important is that we have a child somewhere out in the world. He or she might not be born yet. She might be from Vietnam or Russia or India. He might be five years old. I have no idea. But I’m looking forward so much to the time when we meet our kid!
Just want to say thanks for reading my blog. Writing this gives me much joy and I appreciate all of the support I’ve received from all of my readers. You rock!