There’s a lot of advice about WHEN to tell, WHAT to tell, and HOW to tell your child that they are adopted.

I was reading a Facebook post recently that posed this question in an adoption group: “As an adoptee, what do you wish your adoptive parents knew before they adopted you?”

There were a myriad of answers. Two really stood out to me. The first was, “That I’m nothing like you.” The person went on to say, she was adopted as a baby and always acted different than her adoptive parents and once she found her ‘real’ parents, she found out she was “exactly like them”.

OK. I guess this person has some strong genetic coding. I believe there is a lot to be said for nature over nurture. But I do think in 18 years, you are bound to pick up some of your parents’ traits. Parents being the people that raised you. I guess because I’m an adoptive dad, I bristle at the comment, “those are my REAL parents”. Truth be told, I had the same reaction before we adopted. I know a lot of people, family included, that were raised, cared for… PAID for, by a person other than the one who gave birth to them. Like it or not, this is your parent. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If they tuck you in, fix your meals, bandage scrapes, and repeat it all the next day – THAT’S your parent.

As far as the nature vs nurture goes, we got extremely lucky, (ooops… church folk get angry if I don’t say Blessed), that our kids are extremely close to us in habit and attitude. I’ve often said, I doubt that Ollie, (genetic spawn), will be as similar to our natures as CJ and Mia. There are too many similarities to list, but you can see CJ’s and my love for art by clicking around this site. I definitely did not push him to draw comics. I did, however, give him a place to nurture and grow his innate ability.

The 2nd comment that stuck with me was, “That by adopting me, you aren’t saving me.” I heard this a lot when we were going through the adoption process. A lot of it was focused towards white parents adopting black children. I’m sure this mindset exists with some people. With us, not so much. But there is a shred of truth to the ‘saving’ principle.

My son was starved by his birth mother. My daughter was, inadvertently, poisoned by said mother 2 years later. Their Grandmother saved them. No air quotes. She SAVED my children. In my daughter’s case, she went in, took her from the house, and went straight to the hospital arms wrapped tightly ’round her. Then social services was called. Once the birth mother’s 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chances were exhausted, the children went onto a list for new parents. So I thank God daily that their Grandmother saved them.

Now, after seeing the way social services worked, and how the kids were treated as by the book commodities, we could discuss whether we ‘saved’ them from they system, but that’s neither here nor there. I don’t consider my wife and I as saviors. I do acknowledge a Savior who put us together as whole unit, that was previously separated by circumstances of birth.

When it’s all said and done, we are a family. When my kids ask why we adopted them, we explain to them (at an age appropriate level) the exact reason they came into care. We don’t beat around the bush. They still see their Grandmother on a regular basis. Birthdays and holidays are surrounded by a very large and extended family. We celebrate the adoption. We celebrate our life. We have been blessed.

In this week’s comic, you can see a running joke we have on My son is just happy to finally touch a zombie and live to tell the tale.