Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Adopted? Yes. Really my kid? Even Yesser.

Please welcome Kitty!  Today's Special Guest Writer...

I feel the need to write about this after a disturbing encounter this weekend. Let me start by introducing myself. I am the mother of 3 beautiful children…let’s call them Mario, Luigi and Peach. (Yes. We have a bit of a Wii addiction in our house!) My babies are the loves of my life and the direct cause of all of my insanity. I used to be a fairly normal person that had not yet surrendered, but now….well, let’s just say the surrender has fully taken over. What most people don’t know is that one of my babies is adopted.

This past weekend, my darling husband (let’s call him…..Bowser) was sweet enough to let me go to a scrapbooking retreat ALL BY MYSELF. 48 full hours of ME time! I know…you are sooo jealous! The bonus, it was at the Embassy Suites where they have a FREE happy hour for two full hours every evening. Can you say awesome? Scrapbooking and free drinks. I was in heaven. But, I digress….

While sitting at my station, getting all nostalgic over baby pictures of my sweet little terror suspects, I overheard another girl talking about her fertility battles. Now…I want to say here for the record, that I COMPLETELY sympathize with her. I, too, had fertility issues and know the pain of not being able to get the baby that you so desperately desire.

So, nosy girl that I am, decided that of course she wanted to hear my 2 cents on the subject. After all, we could bond, right? WRONG. I casually mention that one of my lovely little cherubs is adopted and that it is a wonderful option when you are struggling and want to build a family. OK. So, maybe it was none of my business, but I must say, that I was not at all prepared for the response that I got. It went something like this…

Me: Infertility totally sucks. I remember all of those awful feelings when I was struggling myself. Have you ever considered adoption? It is a wonderful way to add to your family.
Queen Mean: I would NEVER consider something like that. Adopted babies aren’t even like real babies.
Me: Ummmm….what?!?!
QM: Well, everyone knows that you don’t really love your adopted babies the way a real mother loves her real babies.
Me: Oh, I can guarantee you that my Luigi is every bit as real as Mario and Peach. And so is my love for him.
QM: If you were being honest with yourself, you would admit that you feel differently about him than your “real” kids.
Me: Why do you keep saying “real” kids? All of my children are actual live human beings.
QM: Well, I just mean that an adopted baby isn’t really like having kids….

The conversation kept going along these lines, and…well, you get the point. [Editor's Note: Was the point that you punched her in the head? Or that you Squared Up? Please say YES. - Kate]

I found it hard to believe that someone so desperate to love a baby, could be so ignorant about what family really is. So, just to clarify some things from my unique perspective as a mom with both biological and adopted children :

1. All of my children are, in fact, REAL. I have cleaned enough butts, kissed away enough tears, tickled enough bellies, and wiped enough noses to say with all confidence that all 3 of my children are most definitely REAL.

2. Yes, I love them ALL THE SAME. Let me repeat that. I love them ALL. THE. SAME. I may not have bonded with Luigi in my womb, but I was there the day he was born and can promise you that the amount of love I felt the first time I saw his beautiful little face was the same as when I first saw Mario and Peach.

3. All three of my little monsters, er…children, get the same kind of discipline. And all three get the same kind of affection.

4. Each child comes with his own set of issues, problems, quirks, etc. I have drank many a beer over my “bad days” with Mario, as I have with both Luigi and Peach.

5. In case you may still have doubts about whether or not my Luigi is a “real” member of our family, I will take this opportunity to let you know that on his “adoption day” a judge declared us a family. That is right. It is legal. He is mine, all mine! Boo-yah!

6. No. We are not afraid that Luigi’s birth mother will come back and try to take him back. *See #5. When the judge declared us a family, her rights were terminated.

7. However, I do send letters and pictures once a year through our adoption agency to let her know how he is doing. It is the least I can do. The day she put him in my arms, as happy as I was to hold my new son, my heart broke into a million pieces for what she was losing. Her strength and her love for him were actually tangible in the room that day. I will fight you to my last breath if you think that a birth mother “gives her child away” because she does not love him. It is exactly the opposite. I have seen that love and I will forever be touched by it.

8. Yes. We will tell Luigi that he is adopted. Why should we keep it a secret? His is a wonderful story of love. Without him, our family would not be complete. His birth parents are in his baby book. His birth mother wrote him a letter that I will give to him when the time is right. It doesn’t matter if he grew in my belly, or in someone else’s. What matters is that he is here.

9. Having been through both, I must say that adoption is the best “pregnancy” you will ever have!!! Nothing can boost the ego quite like walking through Target and having someone look at your newborn baby and say, “WOW! You look great for having a week old baby! How did you do it??” Seriously. No better feeling. Not to mention the lack of morning sickness, weight gain, stretch marks, body aches…oh, and that pesky thing called labor and delivery! [Editor's Note: Also, you can go to Five Guys without fear. - Lydia]

10. I actually get amusement out of it when some jackhole acquaintance says “oh, I heard one of your children is adopted. Which one is it?” I just smile and say, “well, if you can’t tell, then neither will I.” Love it.

Now, I realize that adoption is not for everyone. I just felt the need to clarify a few things on the subject. I was shocked by the reaction of Queen Mean at the retreat. I really did not know that people could still be so ignorant and closed-minded about adoption. Thank you, for the chance to rant!

Uh oh. I hear the LTS’s stirring in their beds. Naptime is over and the countdown to wine-drinkin’ time is on!

~Kitty

Thanks Miss Kitty, for writing this gem for us.  And for all you adoptive moms - the next time some old heifer dares to question whether your child is really yours - just close your eyes, take a deep breathe and visualize Kate and Lydia squaring up and kicking that cow in her junk.

xo, K & L 

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48 comments:

  1. Wow. Queen Mean really lives up to her name. Love Lydia for her list!

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  2. Love this post. You're an awesome mom Kitty, you rock!

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  3. I am so angry right now!!! (Sorry, this comment is going to be long.)
    I am adopted. My parents had a biological son against all doctors' advice and my mother almost died. She had lost a baby girl before that. After a couple years of constant bleeding she was given a hysterectomy, but still wanted a 2nd child. Enter me.
    My biological mother was 16. I never knew when my parents told me that I was adopted. It was just there. They told stories and sand songs. I always knew. I never felt different. During the teenage years when all daughters hate their mom I may have screamed at her that she loved my brother more because he was her 'real' child, but even then I knew it wasn't true.
    All my life people told us we looked just alike. If we knew them well we would laugh and tell them. If not we would laugh and say thank you. A few years ago my mom found a photo of her mother at 17, she compared it to my senior picture, its uncanny. People tell me all the time that my youngest daughter looks just like my mom.
    As an adult I met my bio mom. We are very close now. My mom helped me find her. We all know each other. My kids have many grandparents. But, when I talk about my mom, it's the woman who raised me and no other.
    I have also met people who have said that adopting isn't the same and even when I tell them that I am adopted they don't back down. They look at me like it must have been so hard for me to not really be loved. I just want to go all Scarface on them and tell them to say hello to my little friend. I couldn't be more loved. My mom gives me the long distance guilt trips about being so far from her, about not visiting enough, about not calling enough, just like a 'real' mom would. We email almost every day. She had been by my side through everything, even half a country away. Her 'real' son lives a mile away from her and she sees him less and talks to him less than to me. I am her daughter. An nothing could make us closer, not even genetics.
    You are an amazing mom and thank you for posting this. More people should take their head out of their ass. I guess that means they can't really love their husband, or their own parents for that matter, since they didn't birth them. What about dad? There is no womb time for him. GAH!!!

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  4. This is a fantastic post! You made me laugh and tear up. Loved it!

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  5. Love, love, love this post! My cousin is adopted and we all love her the SAME as if my aunt carried her in her womb! That woman is an idiot!

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  6. Oh my how I can relate! Be glad she didn't say this IN FRONT of your kids -- it has happened to us more than once. I love this post --especially 7 ( I still cry for birth mom every year on my daughter's birthday--and other days), 9, and 10. I'd love to add, to all the nonadoptive Mom's to PLEASE think twice before asking highly personal info - especially infront of kids. If you would like to know something for good reason, ask when my kids aren't within earshot.

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  7. I swear I stopped buying People magazine because of their penchant for identifying celeb's kids as "adopted".

    That - and the fact that People just isn't trashy enough. It's not quality stuff like OK magazine.

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  8. Are you eff-ing kidding me? There is a douchecanoe out there who suggests to a mother that her adoptive children aren't real and she is still walking upright with no visible scars? You are a better woman than I. Because I've never adopted a child and I want to punch her in the throat.

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  9. Oh. mah. gawd. As the wife of an adoptee and friend of many who have adopted, I would LOVE to kick that ignoasses ass! Great post. Just sorry you didn't slap her ;).

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  10. The best part of this post is the Mario brothers counterparts.

    Seriously, a great, great post.

    Love,
    another mom from a wii-addicted family.

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  11. Adopted babies grow in your heart instead of your belly. There's no difference. My father was adopted. My grandparents were the most wonderful people in the world. I still miss them every single day. The relationship we had was unlike no other. They were our (mine, my brother's and sister's) best friends. They taught us what unconditional love meant. I still love them so much that I rejected my father's birth parents when I first learned of them and that they wanted to make contact. Now I am friends with the paternal grandparents, but they still know who OUR "REAL" grandparents were.

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  12. thanks for sharing kitty, I have an adopted sister and I want to punch people in the nose when they tell me she is not my "real" sister. we were raised by the same parents, experienced the same hardships together, shared a bedroom, borrowed each others belongings without asking, all the things sisters do. because we ARE sisters. REAL sisters.

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  13. This is a beautiful post. I hope all the Queen Means out there read it.

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  14. Great post!! Queen Mean will hopefully have her eyes opened one day. And I too, have a friend who has an adoptive little sister, than another "natural" child. The family joke is that their adoptive daughter looks EXACTLY like the parents, and the "natural" children look like no one in the family. If you have a parent who loves you, then you are "real" no matter what.

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  15. I hate when people are so ignorant. I was adopted myself. I know that my birthmother loves me very much. I am lucky enough to have found her at the age of 24. We are very close. I also know that my parents love me just like they love my brother and sister who were not adopted. I'm sorry you had to deal with such ignorance and stupidity.

    I also am a birthmother. I found myself pregnant at a young age and I was in no way ready to be a mom. I placed my son for adoption. I am very lucky to have an open adoption so I get to see him grow up. Ugh, I hate when people assume that the birth mom is going to try to take the child away! Even if a judge called me today and told me that if I wanted, I could get him back...I wouldn't. I made my choice 4 1/2 years ago and it was the right one. He has a family and a life. I love him too much to disrupt that. He's still a part of my life and I'm thankful for that. I recently gave birth to a daughter and she gets to soon meet him.

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  16. I want to find that woman and punch her in her ovaries. What a moron.

    Thanks for sharing because yeah, adopted children are REAL kids. Shocker?

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  17. This might be my favorite post yet...well it's a toss-up between this one and the Five Guys post...but for totally different reasons. Great job!

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  18. I am the mother of two beautiful children. Our story is also one of the desperation of fertility and the challenges of adoption. Our daughter was 3 and our son 2 when they came to live with us after a brief period of time in child protective services and although it was difficult waking up on that first morning to a little girl looking curiously at me and saying hesitantly.....Mommy?, we could not love them more! We also have an open approach because of their age, but also because I belive that there is nothing to be ashamed of. Thanks so much for the post, there are SO many kids out there who need love, and the ignorance is so great.

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  19. As another adoptive Mom...yeah Kitty! And yes, I too have had people talk at me (not really talking to me, more just letting their ignorance spew into the air near me...) in front of The Spud - "oooh, where did you get him? Where is he from?" - to which I happily answer - New Jersey, just like me.
    The Spud knows there lots of people that are part of his "coming home" story....don't know if he will get to meet all of them, but my Hub and I would do whatever we had to in helping him get answers he wanted.
    And yes, applause for not decking the twit, Kitty.

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  20. I have an adopted brother and I have always thought this: I was brought into this world through a loving relationship. While they may have chosen to have a baby, they didn't choose me personally. My brother, on the other hand, was chosen. So, how could a parent NOT love that baby.
    I think that a parent bonds with a baby when they realize that they are the ones who are fully responsible for that baby...regardless of whether that baby came from your own body or not.

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  21. Love Kitty's, Lauri's and Chelly's posts! Thanks Lydia and Kate for this one.

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  22. Wow! This blows me away. First of all, I usually don't embrace violence, but I find myself unable to come up with a rational response when people say these kinds of things. Slapping or otherwise maiming the person is the first thing that comes to mind. Secondly, this happens to me ALL THE TIME with my biological children because they have such dissimilar coloring. I am Black and my husband is White and our firstborn looks like a cross between us and our second born is a complete platinum blonde with blue eyes. I can't tell you how many people ask if I am his "real" mother. I even had a DOCTOR ask me if my kids had the same father. The boys actually LOOK alike, but just like I colored them with different crayons.

    Seriously? I almost went all Keyser Soze on some lady in the park who asked me if I loved my youngest more since he could "pass".

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  23. First, I would like to observe that YES, I AM jealous that you got a whole 48 hours to yourself AND free drinks. And you forgot to gloat about making something that lasts for more than 24 hours and looks pretty. I'm not a scrapbooker, I'm a sewer, but I'm still jealous!

    But to get to the meat of the matter - my hubby's sister is adopted and I'm quite sure that a remark like this, made to her in her formative years, is what poisoned their relationship for YEARS. It wasn't until she got kids of her own that she realised (in her heart, where it matters), that yes, her parents loved her every bit as much as they loved my DH - that all children are different, but all children are lovable - she had been trying to keep 'score' to monitor and make sure Scott wasn't getting more of the love . I wish I could go back to whoever gave her that idea and smack them, which means that despite my vegetarian, pacifist ways I secretly wish you had, as Lydia said, squared up and kicked her in the junk ;>

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  24. Queen Mean is an idiot and I'm not sure she deserves to have ANY children, adopted or otherwise. She doesn't seem to get what having a family is all about.

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  25. I hope she got papercuts while scrapbooking. Turdlet. Lovely post. Lovely. Brought tears to my eyes.

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  26. Well, either this woman finally gets pregnant or she never has a family. I would NEVER wish a mother like that on an adopted child. NEVER. I am adopted, my daughter is adopted. We are just as real as any other mother/child out there. My mother had a stillborn child and waited years to adopt me and my sister. We were very much wanted. I quickly gave up on fertility treatments and spent two years filling out forms to adopt a child from China. Two years plus of waiting, planning, and worrying???? Yes, my child was definitely wanted (and still is). Thanks for sharing your story.

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  27. Loved your post, Kitty!! What a sad, ignorant fool QM is. Our son joined our family at 5 yrs of age, so I can't even count how many times I've heard the "well obviously it's not like he's really yours...you didn't even see him as a baby" etc., crap. They get even more flustered and horrified when I tell them that we didn't even try to get pregnant - we just straight off chose to adopt. It was what was right in our hearts and minds, and clearly was the right choice for us, because look, we found our "real" son all the way across the world. People that don't understand what a "family" really is can just suck it.

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  28. Loved your post, Kitty! What a sad, ignorant fool QM is to say those things. Our son joined our family at 5 yrs of age and I can't even count how many times I've heard stuff like "Well of course he's not your "real" child..you didn't even see him as a baby", etc. They get even more flustered and horrified when I explain that we actually chose adoption over attempting pregnancy because it was what was right in our hearts and minds. And it must have been the right choice, because look - we found our son all the way across the world, not in my womb! These people that don't have a clue what a family is, really, they can just suck it.

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  29. I've been dating my fiance (in a month, he'll be my husband!) since I was 15, & throughout our entire relationship I've always said I want to adopt. I get these blank stares sometimes, "Well, can't you have children? How do you know this is something you really want to do?" I'm sorry, as though getting pregnant when I decide that I'm ready for a child is any different? How do you KNOW you're ready then? It's the same freaking thing! And who knows if I can physically have children or not, that's not my concern. I just know that when I decide I'm ready to be a Mom, adoption is the way that will happen!
    I got upset with my Mom once, whose older twin brothers were adopted - along with 3 of her cousins - because she made some comment about "Every woman should carry at least one of their children." No, Mom, I'm not with you on this. Aren't your brothers just as much Grandma's kids as you are? There are no discrepancies, no differences there! How does being pregnant at some point in life make you more ready, more of a mother to a child than one who is adopted?
    Kudos to you, Kitty, for an awesome & eye-opening posts for some people/Moms. Super awesome.

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  30. I cannot say how much I LOVE this post. I am adopted and my parents raised me to know that. I have never been ashamed of it and have never felt like I wasn't their "real" child. My adoption was totally closed--I have no knowledge of my birth mother or who she is. Nor do I really want to go searching for her. But I am thankful to her every single day of my life that she loved me enough to give me to my parents, to give me a better life than she felt like she could provide.

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  31. Thank you so much everyone! And of course thank you to Lydia and Kate!!! By the way...It was very hard to control myself and NOT punch her in the throat. I just had to get up and walk myself over to the free happy hour to calm the nerves. :) I'm glad I had my chance to Rant about it. Cheers to all of you wonderful, amazing and beautiful Mommies!

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  32. I almost couldn't read the conversation part, it made me so mad. How long did she sit there? Sounds like a whole lot longer than I would have. Honestly, I would have walked away so shaking mad that I would have cried and boo-hooed and gone home. You know, to wash her blood off of my pinking shears ...

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  33. Whaaaat? I had no idea people had such screwed up notions about adopted children. Not real? Like fake nails or something? Holy Crap that's messed up. Queen Mean better do some soul searching because her cold heart is going to ruin her life! I would have glue-dotted her mouth shut then shoved my least favorite pair of scissors in her eye. You're a stronger woman than me, Kitty.

    A baby is a baby and while Big Time is my biological son, I know I would love him just the same if I had adopted him....and he'd still be real!

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  34. Wow! First, I thoroughly enjoy reading your post! A friend shared with me on FB. My husband and I would love to adopt a baby even though we have 3 children. We don't know where to start. My story here is not even mine, but a cousin who adopted a baby boy after she was unable to conceive. Just before her pre surgery visit for a hysterectomy at 30, she discovered she was pregnant and since has had 3 more children, and always regards her firstborn (thought not born to her) with the same love and joy as her three biological. I have always believed she was not able to conceive first because she was meant to adopt her precious boy.

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  35. My daughter was adopted and because she's obviously a different race than I am, people ask all sorts of personal questions. Or they just jump into adoption stuff. My husband likes to make up stories about a torrid love affair with an African lover. People, it's none of your freakin' business what my daughter's genetic history is!

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  36. Just be careful with the "we treat them equally" bit. I grew up in a family with 1 adopted sibling [oldest] and 2 "natural born" siblings. There were times growing up when it seemed to us kids that our parents were WAY overdoing the "we must treat all 3 equally" and the we-love-them-all-the-same's, as if the more they said it, the more it seemed they were trying to convince themselves and not us. The adopted sibling would sometimes use "I'm adopted, you don't love me the same" as leverage to get away with bad behavior... Also, the two others were jealous that the third got to celebrate BOTH a birthday AND an adoption day. I think it was especially hard on the oldest as an adopted sibling who knew they were adopted after years of struggle with infertility because the implication was always there that if our parents had been able to have the "natural" children first, they never would have adopted a child.
    You may not see it until the teenage years, but the resentments can be there. They certainly affected our relationships as teens and adults. That said, I can't imagine my life without my adopted sibling, and I will always be grateful that my parents adopted. So, just be careful. Good luck and congratulations on having a wonderful family.

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  37. Wow. Great post. As the mommy to 3 kiddos (2 bio, 1 adopted...and you'd never guess) I LOOOOOVE the "if you can't tell the neither will I answer". I'm *so* using that line. Soon.

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  38. Awesome post! I have 2 cousins who are adopted, it was never a secret, everyone in the family knew. However, I never looked at them as not my "real" cousins - to be honest, sometimes I forget they were adopted! They are just my cousins, and I love them very much!

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  39. I wouldn't normally say this, but I hope Queen Mean's fertility struggles do not get resolved, as she is clearly not qualified to care for a small human. It pisses me off enough when people refer to biological kids as "their own," as though adopted kids weren't, but "REAL"? Takes the cake. Mmmm cake.

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  40. Wow. I missed this post on Wednesday. Miss Kitty, I totally feel for you. I grew up with two adopted siblings. Both older than me, making me the "first born" to uncountable inconsiderate jerks. Even as an adult, I still hear from people, "so, you only have one real sister, right?" I bite my tongue and reply for the 5 millionth time, no I actually have two real sisters and one real brother. Most of the time I get a second response, just as idiotic as the first... something like, "but, I mean like, really real, those other two are just adopted..."

    It's at this point that I pick my jaw up off the table and say again, "Well, they're all my real siblings. I don't feel differently about them because they're adopted. We still grew up together, with the same parents, house, rules, etc, etc." I usually get a blank look from said idiot.... at which time I usually just exit the conversation as quickly as possible.

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  41. #7 was particularly beautiful and made me cry, I think because there's so much judgment out there about good vs. bad moms. It stems from insecurity, and I don't think everyone could be as generous toward the birth mom as you are. So, hats off to you!

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  42. Thank you for this. As a step mother who is working on adopting my daughter, I can't count how many times people ask about the differences I feel between my bio kids and my daughter. None. Period.

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  43. I must admit, I feel a little jealous of adoptive mommies because they get to experience bringing their child into their family in an entirely unique way. There is just something so beautifully poetic about adoption. Maybe I'll be fortunate enough to experience that one day, maybe I won't. But you, Kitty, are one very lucky lady to get that experience.

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  44. Wow...just yucky! I am sorry you had to deal with it. Sometimes there is no end to stupidity.

    I am a mom to 3 bio kiddos and 1 adopted from Guatemala. Here are my favorite 3 stupid things people have said:

    1) How much did he cost?....ummmm last time I checked humans were not for sale.

    2) Will you tell him he is adopted?....well since I am a pasty-white-red-headed Irish girl and he is from Guatemala I think he would have figured it out even if we hadn't been telling him all along.

    3) Is he an illegal alien.... *stare* *blink* *blink* *walk away*

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  45. Thank you for this excellent post!

    I have observed gorgeous examples of adoption from a very young age, and I've always viewed it as something special, and a wonderful way to build a family.

    Currently, I know no less than three families who were formed by adoption, and at least one birth mother who made the courageous choice to make an adoption plan when she became pregnant at a point where she could not care for the child.

    One family adopted 2 lovely children, after severe fertility struggles, had one child born to them, and then adopted a fourth from China. I assure you all 4 of their children are 100% real, and 100% loved. The domestic adoptions are open adoptions, and the family goes on frequent trips to visit the birth-family of one child. Her birth-grandparents act as grandparents to the whole family, it's really terrific.

    Another family are foster-parents. They have adopted one child who was placed with them at birth. It's funny how she looks exactly like her momma. Currently they are working tirelessly to adopt a sibling group. Ironically, the siblings are "caucasian, blonde hair and blue eyes" which according to the social worker some foster "parents" actually request kids who look a certain way. I can't express how vomit-worthy I find that. My friend of course wants to adopt these children because she bonded with them while they lived with her almost a year, worked with them to help them heal from the severe abuse they experienced, and loves them. They are a different race than she is, like that matters, and ironically the birth family was raising them to be very bigoted and racist. Now, when you ask those kids where they want to stay, they say they want to go with my friend and live there forever.

    I truly pity the fool who makes a stupid comment to my friend about her family. She is from New York City, and as sweet and loving as she is, she doesn't suffer fools gladly.

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  46. I get similar comments about my oldest daughter, who is technically my husband's child with someone else. We don't share DNA, but that's where the difference ends. I have been in her life much more than her biological mother (her loss), I am Mommy and she gets the same love and discipline as our son, who I carried. We are currently expecting no. 3, another girl, and that does not change how I feel one bit. When my son was born and I was in recovery after a c-section, I wanted to see my little girl just as much as the little boy I just carried for 9 months and had yet to meet.
    People who say I love my son differently or - this one bugs me - now I will have my boy and girl, just don't understand how this works. I have a best friend who was adopted and she dealt with a guy who wouldn't consider that option for them. I definitely appreciate the idea of imagining people like him and Queen Mean getting kicked where they deserve it.

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  47. This is beautiful! My husband and I know that we are going to adopt one day. I've known I was going to adopt since I was about 5, the moment I learned (thanks to Batman) that there were kids in this world who didn't have a mom and dad. When I tell people they say, "Oh you'll feel differently once you have your own." or "Well, you're going to have some of your own at least, right? You don't want to miss out on that feeling of really being a mom." It makes me furious.

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