I think one of the biggest misgivings people have about adoption is wondering if they can love an adopted child as much as a biological child.
I've been asked it.
And I've answered it in various ways....depending on where we were on this journey.
I'm going to be honest here.
Back when we adopted Rylie, deep down, I might have answered in a way that showed my doubt. She was tough. And a lot of the time, I was faking it. And a lot of the time, I wasn't very good at faking it.
And I wondered.
Can I really love this kid? I mean, really love her like my others?
Without convincing myself? Without trying to convince other people?
And if I can....when? When will it happen?
Because it wasn't instantaneous. And I was completely unsure if she would ever really feel like my daughter.
It was hard to love a kid who gave you absolutely nothing in return. Who fought you every step of the way. It just was. And I'm only human, so I'll admit that.
With Jude, it was much more instantaneous. Because he was so darn lovable. And he made loving him easy.
Same as Jonah.
Same as Reagan.
Love at first sight.
Now back to Rylie....
Let me say...unequivocally....without question...I. LOVE. THIS. GIRL.
I love her as much as I love my other kids. I don't always get along with her as well. But I love her.
She doesn't make me mushy with the warm fuzzies.
She is usually pushing my buttons in some way....and I sense she gets a great bit of joy out of that. ;)
But still, I love her.
I love her in a "I can't handle her dealing with any more injustice and tragedy in her life than she has already experienced" kind of way. In a vengeful kind of way. In a fighting kind of way.
Because her life hasn't been fair. And it's wounded her in a lot of ways.
But I venture to say that in the end, SHE will be the one I am the most proud of.
Because when I look at her on the playground at preschool.....playing by herself because the other kids can't understand her, I realize how brave she is. And I realize how much I admire her tenacity.
And I realize that it makes my heart physically hurt to see her experience that.
And I want to fix it and shelter her from it.
She's got a lot to overcome. She risks a lot of hurt and rejection coming her way in the future.
And I know that loving her doesn't change that.
But I hope it helps her get through it.
I hope it helps her realize her value. Her worth.
I hope it shows others a glimpse of God's love for us....despite how utterly unlovable we sometimes are.
So....can you? Can you love an adopted child as much as a biological one?
Well, let's just say if you mess with her, I will mess. you. up.
And if that's not love, then I don't know what is.