“For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also.”
Can you love someone before seeing them?
Of course, as parents, we love our children as they are growing in the mothers’ womb.
But, what about adoptive parents? Can they love a child before having a physical or emotional connection with that child, as a biological parent can?
In my experience as being an adoptive mom twice, the answer is an unequivocal “YES!”
We knew about our first child a couple of months before she was born. The lawyer kept on cautioning us to not get our hopes up too high, but deep within my heart, I knew this child was going to be my daughter. With my maternal instincts already in place (even without the benefit of hormones), my daughter had already captured my yearning heart. I kept on thinking about the poem:
Not flesh of my flesh
Not bone of my bone
But still miraculously my own
And never forget for a minute
You were not born under my heart
But you were born in it
I had such plans for her! We chose her name, painted a bedroom, imagined what she would look like, and prayed for her birth mom and a safe delivery. I kept a journal of my hopes and fears, and wrote about my growing love for her. When I first met her in the lawyer’s office, my heart was already filled with motherly love and devotion. When my eyes first met her eyes, she softly gazed at me as though she had always known me.
Our second daughter came upon us rather unexpectedly. Our lawyer had called us one afternoon and asked if we were ready to be parents again. We thought it was going to be another six months before another child became available, so this was quite a shock! He asked us to think about it over the weekend, but my heart was beating so quickly and already filling up with love for this new little treasure. He cautioned us this time to really think through our decision, as this baby was biracial, and he wanted us to be aware of what could be in store for us with other people’s prejudices. I was already aware of the issues facing us because of my professional background, and even though the issues can be very difficult to work through, I knew that we could “handle” anything, with love in our hearts and God as our strength.
When we met our second daughter, she was in a foster home. Her foster mom was holding her, and she was wrapped in a small blanket. All I could see was a ton of tight black curls peeping out of the blanket, and my heart just melted. My oldest daughter, who was almost three years old at the time, walked over to her new sister, patted her on the head, and said to me “I want her, I love her, let’s take her home.” With that, our family was complete.
Through the years, we’ve faced many issues, but our love has held us together. We have faced highs and lows. We have overcome obstacles, and created memories. We are a “typical” family in many regards. The only difference in our family is that our love was created, not by nature, but by nurture. Our love was given to our children, sight unseen. Our love is based only on the miracle of life, but the miracle of another woman’s selfless sacrifice.
We’ve been asked, “how can you love somebody else’s child?” This question is based on fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of finding that the ability and desire to follow God’s command to “love each other as I have loved you.” Is lacking in one’s heart. But, as promised in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.” Without a doubt, we have loved these daughters as if they were our “very own.” They have been God’s gifts to us, and we treasure them deeply. Their presence in our life is a miracle, and “where there is a great love there are always miracles.” (Willa Cather)
This Valentine’s Day, I thank God for the priceless gift he gave to me by allowing me to be “my kid’s mom.” I thank God for His wondrous love, the love of my husband, and the love of my girls. I thank God for the selfless love of my girls’ birthmothers. God has provided me with treasures to always love, to always cherish, and to always hold onto in the quiet of my heart.
©2009, Valerie Wolff