I have always protested when people have said some version of what a wonderful thing we did adopting our two daughters. Actually, it has always made me a little angry, though I was never exactly sure why. Maybe it’s because I know that Russ and I are really the lucky ones. We got to choose this life change; they did not. By the age of three, both of them had faced major loss at least three times, as well as having open heart surgery alone. We took them away from the only families they had ever known, on an arduous 30-hour travel ordeal, to live with funny-looking people who spoke indecipherably and served them strange, often inedible food. Their new home wasn’t even “safe”, inhabited as it was by two scary-looking, large and hairy animals twice their size who seemed intent on getting as close to their faces as possible, presumably to make it easier to eat them. Over time, they worked through the transition happy, healthy and whole. My daughters are easily the bravest people I know.
We sometimes think about what our lives would be now without them. With our son grown and moved away, our home would be quiet, dark, boring. They have brought us activity, laughter, frustration, but most of all, love. We simply can’t imagine our lives without them. Maybe I get upset with those who believe we did something altruistic because I know the secret truth, that our act was purely and utterly selfish. My daughters’ response, however, has been noble–to persevere under great strain. I admire them as much as I love them. I will just keep protesting that it is we who are truly blessed.
“Where there is love there is life.” –Mahatma Gandhi