“Dear Child: I Knew I Loved You Before I Met You!”

This is a guest post by our good friend, Natalie Brenner, who has also been a guest on our podcast, The Honestly Adoption Podcast. She is an adoptive and biological mother, as well as a blogger, and the author of the book This Undeserved Life. Make sure you check out her blog by clicking here.

Many adoptive parents are also the parents of biological children. But there is no difference, or degree, in the love they have for all of their children, adopted or bio. Here’s why…

“I just have to ask… do you love Sage as much as you love Ira? I mean, I know you say that you do…but I’m just so curious if it’s true.”

We sat on my living room floor when she asked me this. With a world of confidence and pride in my chest I was able to nod, and beam, and let her know that I absolutely love Sage as much as I love Ira.

I love them each as though I birthed them both…but I also love them as though I adopted them both. To me, it is the same unending mama love.

Our infant adoption journey infiltrated every piece of our attention. Sure, we still worked and focused on what was at hand, but our adoption journey infused every part of our lives and thoughts.

I was constantly day dreaming, praying, wondering, and breaking.

I had no idea if we would be adopting a boy, a girl, twins, or triplets, or a singleton. I didn’t know if we would become an interracial/transracial/multicultural family. We were licensed to be placed with a baby up to nine months old, so we were unsure if we would be meeting our future child at a hospital or somewhere else.

All we knew was that we loved our future child, whoever he or she would be, and giving birth to him had nothing to do with it.

Selling our possessions, quitting our current job with unhealthy people, moving across the valley, taking out a loan, fundraising like mad, and filling out about thirteen pounds of paperwork… it felt so trivial and small compared to the cost of becoming a family for a baby.

And then 2015 passed into 2016 and through a series of miracles we landed in a hospital room meeting you and your birth mom. The woman who carried you, who loves you selflessly, whose blood courses through your veins. She sat on that bed holding you, her tears falling onto your perfect self as she fed you one last time.

The room’s air was thick as molasses as I walked to the bed, wading through immense joy and grief, all in one tragically, beautiful moment.

And then she placed you in my arms and I about melted all over the floor.

There is something sacred about her choosing us to be yours, something I don’t take for granted.

When I met you, you were over a day old and only about 5 pounds small. Your body was teeny and tiny, with a deep red flushed over your brown skin. Your eyes were swollen.

It didn’t matter that I didn’t carry you in my body, it didn’t matter that we didn’t share blood or DNA, all that mattered in those moments was the fierce knowledge that I would do anything for you. That I had been yours and you became mine and this reality came at a high cost, a cost I would never dare diminish or devalue.

My boy, you are so much more than “my adopted son.” I know I often share online about adoption but it’s because I’m so proud of being yours. It’s because there is no shame in your adoption and I believe if more people knew the truth of what adoption can be, they might step into it too.

You made me mama, you taught me love, you hold my heart in ways no one else ever can. You are son of the Most High, you are His and He is yours. I pray I can model that He is enough, even on the darkest days.

You are bold and brave, spirited and sensitive. You have moved mountains in hearts and you’re not even two years old.

You are cherished and adored by many and your mere existence in this family is of a miracle, a mark of grace in brokenness.

Adoption is tragic, but my goodness adoption brought me you.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t love you before I knew you. Because that’s how it worked for me: I loved you something fierce far before I knew you.

And when I fist met you, in her arms, a silent promise left my heart and entered hers: I will love this boy to the end of myself, I will do anything for him, and in my mamahood to your son, I will honor you.

Question: Have you walked a similar road in becoming a parent through adoption? We’d love to hear your story. Share with us in the comment section below this post. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Heather Lee

    I am so happy this was the experience of this writer. I, too, am an adoptive mama with biological kiddos, and this is not my experience. I am equally committed to my adopted son as I am to my bios (because love is an action and not just a warm, fuzzy feeling) and I love him fiercely and deeply, but the connection is very different. It is powerful and I am his mama, but the connection is not the same for me. That may be in some part due to our journey with him. He was adopted as a healthy infant, but has turned out to have extensive disabilities including hearing loss, a seizure disorder, autism and an intellectual disability which gave us unexpected and serious challenges from day one. God seriously rocked our world with his addition to our family. As a result of his challenges, our son will never leave our home and we will care for him the rest of his life. I am committed to doing that and doing that well. That’s love. But I do “feel” differently about him than my bios. There have been times when that fact has riddled me with guilt. But I have grown to see that love is also commitment to care for someone in every stage and season and advocacy. I have eventually gained an appreciation for what God has done in my own heart and life by giving me this disabled son that He chose for me. But, the feelings? They aren’t the same, and that’s OK. More people need to know that side too. I know other adoptive mamas that would echo my sentiments. There is a range of experience and emotion in adoption. All of them are valid and don’t take away from the blessing that adoption is in the lives of those it touches.

  • Yes, yes yes! All this! We are in the midst of an adoption journey right now and I can’t describe for people how I love this child. I think people get so stuck on the biology part that they forget how possible it is to love another person- after all, I am not biologically related to my spouse! Thank you for your thoughts on this, being transparent about our journey (on YouTube) has definitely helped us educate those in our lives and this is a post I will reference!

    Our Second Chance Story on YouTube

  • Susan Thalhofer

    Well, it sounds good and it’s very nice for these kids that you feel this way. But I know I’ll NEVER love this adopted kid like my own. How do you love a child who doesn’t feel that you are special and may never feel gratitude for all you’ve done for them, and likely never love you. It just doesn’t compare to the reciprocity of biological ties. Attachment Disorder is hell for everyone involved. The abuse we suffered from one of our adopted children resulted in parental relinquishment, praise God he released us from that commitment. She nearly destroyed our lives. Yes, it’s possible to love someone to that degree, but I think it’s rare. Those who have adopted just haven’t experienced that fullness of love to understand the difference.

    • It’s important to remember we don’t adopt them to be thanked. We adopt and foster because there is a need. Love is a choice. Always. There are many families who have both bio and adopted kids and feel the same for both. And the opposite is also true. Love is not a feeling. It’s a choice. Feelings change. Love is a commitment. We know many families have experienced horrific circumstances on their journey and are certainly entitled to their feelings and must process the pain. But in the end, there is always hope.

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