Of Your Own

As an adoptive momma and (now) a bio momma, there are a handful of thoughtless, "harmless" comments that prick me from time to time. The one that stings that most is "of your own".

In the minds of some, there is a slight difference between your biological child and your adoptive child. Surely, they would never say that it's different, but it leaks out, unassumingly. Over the past year, since pregnancy and Asher's birth, someone will say, "You have one of your own and two adopted?" They don't mean any harm. They don't even know what they're saying is hurtful - nay offensive! - but it's another wound my Judah and Addise have to bear.

"Of your own". They mean "biological", but it's received as they are not your own. They are other. They are not as much mine as the child that carries my DNA. That simple phrase is heard like the child I carried in my womb is somehow more mine than the children I carried in my heart. Those three words passively communicate that they are a little outside of our family.

I swear, every time those words are spoken I force a smile and constrain my hand from backslapping their oblivious face. I will tears away from my eyes. I demand graciousness out of my mouth, not rebuke and correction. I hate those words for Asher's sake. I hate them for Judah and Addise's sake. The love I have for my children is the same (I blogged about that here).

Maybe I should let my hand fly and words burst out for my three kids' sake - and all the adopted kids of the world. But I restrain partially because of my people pleasing addiction, partially because I would probably emote nonsensical words, and partially because I know they don't mean harm by it.

But please, please, if you know an adoptive family, please never use those words with them. And if you have accidentally, go back and apologize to that beautiful family. Because the Judah and Addise's of this world need to feel more "of my own" than any other. They need to feel woven into the fabric of a family, not hanging off like a loose button. Kids who've experienced loss, abandonment, rejection, and numerous transitions deserve to feel grafted to a mommy (and daddy) who love them like they are bones of my bones and flesh of my flesh. Their families need to be safe places of healing, not places where their wounds fester and grow.

My own children need it. Their healing requires it.

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April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, sheโ€™s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.