I have had a lot on my mind lately when it comes to our sons. I wanted to share my thoughts in hopes of it raising awareness in at least our situation. I may be the only (adoptive and/biological) parent dealing with this, but honestly, I doubt it.
We adopted our son, Zeke, almost four years ago now. [our miracle]. He is the most beautiful, brainy, observant, quick-witted, strong-willing, vivacious snuggle monster. He makes every moment an intriguing experience. You can’t help but to be engaged in every moment you spend with him, because you never know what he is about to do or say.
After we adopted Zeke, we were found ourselves completely content with not having any other children. He was what God wanted for us and he was better than anything we could have ever dreamed up on our own. Two and a half years later, we found ourselves pregnant. [another miracle]. Jasper was a complete surprise and he has been a beautiful addition to our family. He is our joy-filled ball of energy. He has turned out to be quite the momma’s boy [and we thought Zeke was bad]. To say God has blessed us, despite our lack of faith in Him at times, would be an understatement. Our journey was not an easy one, but God has truly taught us more than our tiny brains can comprehend at times.
That being said, since our biological son, Jasper, has been born we have had some interesting things said to us. Those things I believe have not come from a place of malicious or spite, but of excitement for our family. It has come from a place of knowing how long we prayed to be able to conceive. The scary part to me is how I NEVER want our sweet sons to overhear those comments especially Zeke.
Here are some of the general statements which have been said to us, as well as how we want to address it:
1.) “Are you guys are glad to finally have a child that is REALLY ya’lls?”
Who’s child is Zeke if not ours?!?! Zeke is ours! He could not be any more ours had I given birth to him myself. We prayed for God to give us a child and He did. Zeke is our eldest. Our first-born. The first grandson. The first grandchild on one side. The first answer to our prayers. We are glad God FINALLY gave us a child three years ago who is really ours. We went through 9 months of labor; doctor’s appointments, fees, interviews, home studies, lawyers, preparations, praying, waiting, and wondering. He is really ours. He was in our hearts from the moment his birth mom said she knew we were the ones she wanted to raise Zeke.
My fear is our intelligent and tender-hearted boy will overhear comments like that and feel he is not as much a part of our family as his baby brother or that he will develop a sense of insecurity, outside of our home, thinking others do not see him as an Ivey. Let me reassure you… He is an Ivey! He is ours!
We also don’t want Jasper thinking he is better, more privileged, or more loved than his older brother.
2.) “Does he knows how lucky he is that you guys adopted him?”
We are the lucky ones. Before we were given the opportunity to adopt him we were in a dark place. We were wrestling with God’s faithfulness, His promises, and His Sovereignty. We harbored so much bitterness and resentment in our hearts that we struggled to rejoice with our closest friends’ pregnancy announcements and the births of their children. We cut ourselves off from those people, because seeing their baby bumps or their children were painful reminders of what we did not have. Every month brought more disappointment and deeper longings to be parents… to give love to a little one and to raise a Kingdom changer. We were sinking into a deep sea of depression… we were drowning in desperation with no life-raft in sight. God threw us a life-raft when He brought the possibility of adoption into our weary hearts. We were the lucky ones. The lucky ones God chose to direct into his birthmother’s life through precious friends who knew our story and hurt for us. We were the lucky ones. Somehow, even through our lack of faith, our selfishness (thinking we deserved anything from God), our billowing sin (anger, bitterness, envy, and resentment) due to our desires the Holy Spirit spoke to me through His word.
“They are like a dream after one wakes up. O Lord, when you awake you will despise them. Yes, my spirit was bitter, and my insides felt sharp pain. I was ignorant and lacked insight;I was as senseless as an animal before you. But I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me by your wise advice, and then you will lead me to a position of honor. Whom do I have in heaven but you? I desire no one but you on earth. My flesh and my heart may grow weak, but God always protects my heart and gives me stability. Yes, look! Those far from you die; you destroy everyone who is unfaithful to you. But as for me, God’s presence is all I need. I have made the sovereign Lord my shelter,as I declare all the things you have done.” – Psalm 73:20-28
The whole chapter of Psalm 73 spoke so deeply to me. I found myself relating to Asaph. I did not understand why God seemed to be blessing others around me. I became judgement of those I felt did not deserve to have children for whatever reason… and I was envious of those I felt deserved to have children and I knew would be incredibly selfless Godly parents. I had on green-shaded lenses no matter what direction I looked in. I did not understand why God was not blessing us when we were honoring Him and serving Him. I saw us as righteous and living how He wanted us to live, so why would He not give us a child?! I had become someone I never wanted to me, so believe me, when I say I was the lucky one. Nick and I were lucky that God worked out our adoption story so effortlessly and so seamlessly. We were lucky God entrusted us to raise someone else’s child as OURS. To love him. To let him love us. God enriched our lives through being able to adopt our wild man. Adopting him brought us back to life and pulled us out of an scary and ugly place. God knew we needed Zeke. He wanted to use our story to encourage and inspire other couples not to give up. To remind other’s we aren’t promised anything in this life. He are lucky that God choice us to adopt Zeke to glorify Himself and all He can do despite our short-comings. I hope that when Zeke gets older he feels lucky to have Nick and I as parents just like I hope his little brother feels lucky. Not because he is adopted or not, but because hopefully we will be good honorable parents. Hopefully he feels lucky, because he is proud to have us as HIS mom and dad.
3.) “Is it easier to love your biological son since he is your own flesh and blood?”
Refer to number 1. He is our own. If anything, I was afraid I would not love Jasper as much as I love Zeke (which I hear lots of mom’s deal with adopting/having their second child). My heart still has room for loving more adopted or biological children. I love lots of people who aren’t my flesh and blood and some folks who are my flesh and blood make it difficult to love. Amen? HA.
4.) “Does your adopted son realize you guys aren’t his “real” parents? But you are his brother’s?”
Excuse me. If we aren’t his “real” parents, then who are? We have been there through the entire process. Does he know someone else as mom and dad? I think I am confused. We are his “real” mom and dad. We were the first to hold him. The ones who have cared for him since birth with grateful and loving hearts. We are not pretend parents. We are the real thing. We discipline, love, nurture, pray, and provide for both of our boys just the same. If anything, at times, I have felt sorry for Jasper. He does not get the undivided attention that Zeke received, but it is the nature of the beast for a second child. We are real and tangible to them equally.
5.) “Hard to understand why someone would give up their own flesh and blood?”
Please understand something. You are not just insulting the birthmother of our beautiful son, but you are also insulting me who made that same decision. She did not give him up due to lack of caring for him. She made a decision to give him a life she could not provide for him. She made a decision to give him a family that would provide for him in a way she could not at that time. It does not means she did not love him. In fact, she loved him in a way, hopefully, most mothers will never have to understand. Sacrificially. She gave up one of the greatest loves of her life so they could hopefully have a better life. When you ask or make comments like that you are attacking the woman who’s blood and DNA making up my precious son. Trust me. It was not a careless or callused decision; it came from a place of love.
I hope anyone reading this understands this does not come out of anger or frustration. I simply want to help folks understand that both of our children are just that… OURS! Neither loved less or more. God created both of them. He knows them well and loves them deeply.
We want our sons to know we all have an opportunity to be adopted and how great that is. We want “adopt,” “adopted,” or “adoption” to be a word worthy of praise, because of what God did for us.
“But when the appropriate time had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son, then you are also an heir through God.” – Galatians 4:4-7
Hopefully, we will do a good job raising them and by the grace of God, may they turn out as men of character, integrity, and virtue. May they be real men contributing to this crazy world they have been born into and may we take our responsibility as their parents very seriously. Please pray for our family as we continue to raise these precious miracles God has entrusted into our care. It takes a village. 😉