On Adoption – A Reply to NikkiAngeli

There’s this new article in peyups which talks about adoption and the stigma that adopted children often face in society. The writer, NikkiAngeli, raised these questions: “Ano ba ang meron sa dugo? Kung sinipsip ng bampira ang lahat ng dugo mo sa katawan, hindi mo na ba tatawaging ina ang iyong ina, ama ang iyong ama at kapatid ang iyong kapatid?

I, for one, found my answer right at home. My little brother Joshua is adopted, and he knows it, but he also knows that it doesn’t take away from how special, how loved he is. If anything, it actually makes him feel more important because we tell him often that with biological children, parental love is expected, some would even say required. But with him, it was a deliberate, conscious commitment. He was specially chosen to belong to us, just as we belong to him. There is absolutely no doubt in his mind about his place in our family. Genes are not – and will never be – an issue.Being an “ate” to Joshua is an everyday rollercoaster experience. He asks the toughest questions (“Ate, how can you tell a male tahong from a female tahong?”), interrupts my reading to convince me to play “teks” with him, and demands explanations for everything (baths, for example. He’s convinced he could get by with one every other day). But just when I’m close to complete exasperation, he smiles and makes me laugh by telling me how pretty my eyebrows are (coming from a nine-year-old boy, I took that as a compliment). In return for all these, I get to boss him around and hug him as much as I want, plus I have someone to help me drive our sister crazy, and someone to remove spiders from the bathroom so that I can take a bath. In other words, he is my brother, our “bunso”, in every way except in one that doesn’t really matter.

The time will come when we can no longer protect Josh from being hurt, or from the reality that people can sometimes be insensitive or narrow-minded. All we can do is to try to build in him a sense of belonging that can never be shaken, no matter what happens, no matter what people say. We want him to have the freedom to soar and the courage to explore his horizons, as long as he knows that he will always have a place to call home. Roots and wings. We want to give him roots and wings.

People often remark on how fortunate Joshua is to belong to our family, but I think that we have received the greater blessing. When I watch him sleep, I often wonder if he can ever really comprehend just how precious he is, just how much we love him. I wonder what our family would be like if he had never come to us, if he had never brought the joy and the adventure that only he can bring. We would have missed so much. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel honored and thankful for the special gift of being able to share in his life. Joshua is, and will always be, God’s way of saying I love you to us.

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