When my husband and I were asked if we’d consider adopting my first cousin’s three year old daughter, my husband’s first reaction was, “Are you crazy?”
I knew enough to keep my mouth shut after that and let him think it over. Two days later we were driving , and he asks, “Is she potty trained?”
Now mind you we had three children 15 months apart, and had three in diapers at once, so potty training was a traumatic experience .
I answered, “Yes, she’s potty trained.” That was enough for him. He said he’d handle all the paperwork, I just had to drive from Florida to North Carolina and get her. Easy enough, drive 16 hours and be in North Carolina by 7:30 AM to meet the lawyer.
I had only met Jessica a few weeks before at my grandfather’s funeral. She was tiny. And at first she just hid her face from me. But when I went to my elderly aunt’s home where she was living, I found her watching Blue’s Clues.
My aunt was looking for her shoes, so I asked Jessie, “Where did your shoes go? Did they walk to the creek?”
She looked at me with a serious expression and said, “Shoes can’t walk they don’t have eyes.” It made me laugh and I pretended to be a shoe walking into the wall which made her laugh. But after that, all day I had a tiny shadow.
When we were going through pictures my grandfather had kept of me, she said, “That’s Jessica.” I had to correct her and tell her it was actually me. This seemed to put her in a ponderous mood. But that day she decided she wanted me as her mommy. Her biological mother had passed away in a car accident six months before, and my aunt explained Jessica had shut everyone out, till that day. My aunt was in her seventy’s and she knew she couldn’t take care of Jessica much longer, and my cousin was unable to care for himself, let alone a tiny little girl.
So when I got the call asking if we’d take her, my answer was, “Yes!”
Jessica is now a preteen and she asks a lot of questions about her biological parents. I answer what I can, but some of the answers we both have difficulty with. Recently we took Jessica to see the Superman movie, Man of Steel. She loved it. Now as you can tell from my blog I am a major comic book, and superhero geek. But I don’t think Jessica has the same fandom, rather I think she related to Clark. I had always told her, that I believed she was with us for a reason, that she had so many wonderful gifts she could offer the world.
I remember looking over at her when the 13 year old Clark asks his adoptive father if he could still pretend he was his father. She had that same ponderous look on her face she had the first day, drawing it all in, processing. Later in the car we talked about how what made Superman so great isn’t his biological parents (and superpowers) , but how much his Earth parents loved him. The Kents taught Superman to have a heart and an understanding of what was right.
You see when you adopt a child, they need your patience and your love. I have always told her we were gifted because we got to pick each other out. You love your child, support your child, and understand they have questions, and they do carry some confusion. In her case she carries anger with her biological father, for not giving up drugs and being her dad. But when it comes down to it, like Superman she makes the choices to who she is ultimately. And adopted or not, she is my daughter. My Supergirl. It is just a learning process for both of us.
If you are considering adoption know that as you watch your child blossom into the superhero they may become, you play a big part in the choices they will make. Give them your heart and they can fly.