Adoptive Parenting: Matching genes not required

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A few months ago, I listened to a friend tell another friend who is pregnant that there’s nothing like becoming a mother. “You’re making a tiny copy of yourself,” she said. “He’s going to have your DNA and be your own little mini-me. It’s amazing.”

I just smiled and nodded and took a sip of wine. “That is cool, but it’s equally as amazing if they don’t look like you,” I said. “Becoming a parent fills your heart with a love so true and pure that it absolutely rocks your world.”

To me, that love is what parenthood is all about–that selfless, do-anything-for-you type of love that one only feels for their children. I felt it the very first time I saw my son–this newborn baby who looked nothing like me, who I didn’t carry in my belly, who doesn’t share my genes. My love for him was not conditional upon biology. It simply didn’t matter.

I get it–I understand the primal urge to pass on your genes and to procreate with your partner. I felt it and grieved it. But that is a distant memory now. That wound, that pain, has long since healed. And I can tell you that there is no possible way that I could love my son any more–even if I had given birth to him. The moment I laid eyes on my child, I became his mother, unconditionally and with my whole heart.

Once and awhile someone will ask me if I still want to have a “child of my own.” I tell them that I already do have a child of my own and that no, I do not feel any need or desire to have a biological child. And I mean it, 100%. But some people have a hard time imagining that I could not possibly want a baby that is “biologically part me and part my husband.”

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The thing that people don’t realize is that my son is absolutely part me and part my husband. We are the ones who nurture him daily, we are the ones teaching him how to be in the world, how to act, how to love, how to treat other people. He doesn’t look like us or share our skin color, but everything he knows about the world he gets from us. We are his parents, his role-models, his family. Simple as that.

I even felt this way before Miles was born, after we started the adoption process. I worried that if I became pregnant that we wouldn’t be able to adopt. Once we made the decision that adoption was the way that we would create our family, I never looked back. It felt right and it felt good–in a way that trying to get pregnant never had. I put down the pain and disappointment of endless negative pregnancy tests and picked up the joy and hope of adoption and it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

To me, motherhood has nothing to do with sharing the same eyes as your child. Becoming a mother (or a father) is about so much more than that. It’s about truly unconditional love, always putting your child before yourself, and just plain being there to raise, hug, comfort, encourage, nurture, and adore him or her no matter what.

And that is more than enough for me.

13 thoughts on “Adoptive Parenting: Matching genes not required

  1. Adriana

    This post is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this. I would also like to add that you can be a mother in many ways, without even having a child. I’ve learned this, as I have accepted that having a child either biologically or via adoption might not happen for me. There are maternal qualities in all of us, and you can be a mom and know that feeling of unconditional love beyond just the typical societal norms.
    Thanks again for brightening my morning!

    1. That is so true, Adriana! There are so many ways to be a mother or to be motherly than just having a child. My pets have always gotten my unconditional love, and if you have nieces, nephews, friends’ children, etc you can always be ‘another mother’ to them. I always thought being a Big Sister would be a great way to do that too, or being a teacher, mentor, or even a daycare provider. Thanks for your comment!

  2. tsherm59

    Beautifully penned!! You are absolutely right and hopefully, one day your “friend” will have an experience that causes her heart to grow beyond it’s current limits. All children need a “mother” and they do not care if they grew inside their mother’s tummy or heart; they only care that they feel loved, safe and secure!

  3. Donna Stout

    Beautifully said Allie….your love for your child is no different no matter how they come into your life, they are yours!!! I feel sorry for that girl that she doesn’t see beyond that, she’s missing a lot out of life. We are so happy that you and Jamie brought Miles into our family for us to love, can’t image not having him as my great nephew! We love you all very much 🙂

    1. Hey Donna! I don’t know if everyone feels the same way I do, but I am honestly so happy that we went through everything that we went through to get here. I love my son with my entire heart and can’t imagine it any other way. Good luck to you!!

  4. We love showing your blog to mothers cosidering adoption. It comforts them when they see how much love an adopted child receives. Thank you! Would you be interested in telling a little about your story with a guest blog post on our site ? If so please let us know on the contact form. The women we work with would love to hear from you!

  5. Betsy J

    Beautiful words. My husband and I are in the adoption process, praying someone will pick us soon, and I so look forward to feeling the kind of love you describe for our child. I can definitely attest to the feeling of being completely set on adoption once the decision is made; I felt the exact same way!

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