Late Sunday morning I found myself on a pretty patterned couch across from two women and a child I was meeting for the first time at my friend’s home. We were there for lunch and a Valentine card making get-together. My posture was stiff, I sat at the edge of the sofa, my back erect. The three were on bar stools sipping herbal tea as they awaited the call for lunch. The introductions were crisp just names and where we lived. The thaw was gradual. We spoke of the neighborhood, we spoke of the bank I worked at fifteen years ago. One that was adjacent to the bistro the ladies ran, both of which were shuttered now. We spoke of changes and steered clear of all things political.
Ammu ran to me, impulsively kissing and hugging me before she ran off. The conversation veered to children and how it was like raising twins.
“Do twins run in your family?” one lady asked. I answered before I could process the question. “Yes, it does but we adopted our children a few years back.” The lady seemed surprised and we deftly moved from there to cultural differences.
The rest of the afternoon was pleasant and we left clutching packs of homemade chocolate, ink stains on our palms and a bag full of hearts and love. As I hugged my host, I poured myself into the hug thanking her not just for the afternoon but for the constant presence she has been in my life and opening up her home to us.
Late at night as is typical of heavy thoughts, I lay in bed reliving parts of the morning. The surprise on the lady’s face at learning our children were adopted both delighted and made me think. Given the difference in race, I never thought it would be a question. The fact that sometimes adoption is not at the forefront when we meet new people is heartening.
I scrolled through unread posts on my blog reader. Of the many adoption blogs I follow TAO’s blog is always educative. The views expressed by the author and the comment section always make me think. Yesterday was no exception. On the latest post this quote by Nara from the comments section caught my attention.
“They are my parents. They brought me up. We are close, and we love each other. But we aren’t biologically related and we never will be, and no amount of pretending will make it so. And that’s okay.”
This is something I think about a lot. Nature and Nurture. Biology and Family. With Ammu and Pattu, the love has intensified over time. I know and they know we are family. We are bound until the end of time. We also know that we are not related by biology. While that is not a big deal now, it will be at times. Like when we visit their family or when they go on to have families of their own. It will raise its head at quiet times, in the dead of the night when unanswered questions roam our heads. It will rear its presence when emotions are at a fever pitch. I fully expect it to be a constant presence as my children grapple with surging hormones and the see-saw that adolescence can be. Most of these thoughts are usually contained in my head. I do not bring it up for fear that it may be misconstrued. When I cuddle with my youngest in bed every afternoon and I am swept with a feeling so primal I cannot express it in words, my thoughts make a beeline to my children’s other mother.
So, when I stumbled on this thought from an adoptee a lot of things clicked in place. It was as if I was given permission to bring it into the open, to mull over it. To reassure myself that it is okay. To reassure my children it is okay. It always will be okay.