By Anne Sawan
I have just finished reading a very beautiful commentary about an adoptive parent responding to the comment, “Your daughter (son) is so lucky that you adopted her/him!” The piece highlighted the response all adoptive parents give when faced with this comment, “Oh no, it is we that are lucky” and went on to give examples of all the ways in which this child has blessed this family with his special love. It was a good article, very tender and touching. It’s not that I disagree with the premise, but every time I read about anything about the “lucky” comment, I am left with a niggling voice in my head that says, “Hey, wait a minute, this family is lucky, but isn’t it also true that yes, in fact this child of adoption is lucky?”
Now it’s not that I am full of myself and think that my daughter is lucky because I am some sort of super fabulous mom. Seriously, I know those “fab” moms and believe me, that is not me; I can’t DIY to save my soul (I have never held a glue gun in my hand), I have very little patience (trust me, you don’t want to be sitting next to me in a traffic jam, it’s not pretty), I have been known to let a dip in the pool suffice for a shower (actually this is pretty much my children’s daily hygiene routine all summer long) and I occasionally allow my children to eat Frosted Flakes (What? C’mon, admit it, they are tasty! It’s just once in awhile…), but if not me, in all my imperfections, then who? Then what? Then where?
Sometimes, in the evenings when my daughter is nestled beside me, I stare at her dreamy, drooly face and watch her sleep; I count her shallow breaths, I touch her soft cheek, I close my eyes and try to envision where she would be if she weren’t here. Perhaps, I think with a shudder, she would be in a family with a super fab-glue gun, and a toting-patience-of-a-saint, health-food-eating, daily-bath kind of mom or maybe it would be much worse; perhaps hers would be a life lost to child trafficking or spent toiling in a dusty, crowded sweatshop, or maybe she would be living in an ill funded orphanage in a war torn country where orphans are sadly low down on the list of social priorities. Who’s to say really what her fate and the fate of many others would be if they were not adopted into the families they were. So, are they lucky?
My sister has also adopted two children; unlike me her children are from the foster care system here in the U.S. and I often think how fortunate they are to have my sister as their mother. She is kind, patient and very invested in making sure these kids get the love and support they need to succeed. I sometimes wonder, what would have happened to her children if she hadn’t opened her heart and her life? Would they have lived out their too short childhoods in the foster care system, moving from house to house, only to age out and be on their own at the tender age of eighteen? Are they lucky to have her? Yes, you bet they are, and she is equally as lucky to have them. They have brought tiny, constantly-under-your-feet Lego pieces and Friday-on-the-crowded-couch family movie nights into what was once a routine and quiet life.
And isn’t much of any life based on luck anyway? I often think it was by some lucky, wondrous roll of the biological cosmic dice that I ended up in the large, loving family that I did with two wonderful, strong parents. But, what if the dice had landed differently, would I have had a less pleasant existence? And I often think how very lucky for me that I agreed to go with my friend to church that one Sunday back in high school, where I was suppose to be finding God but instead found a handsome young man in the back pew, who would later became my husband. And how lucky I am to have all my children, regardless of how they came into my life. How fortunate they are to have siblings to tease, and Frosted Flakes to eat. And they are in a family where they are loved to the ends of the earth and back.
And you know what else I think; I think there is nothing wrong with a little luck, because really, where we would any of us be without it?
Anne Sawan is a mother to five wonderful and aggravating children. She also is a psychologist and an author, having articles published in Adoptive Families Magazine, Adoption Today and several children’s books published by MeeGenuis.
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