My favorite childhood story is about The Velveteen Rabbit. In it there is a passage quoting a conversation between the young Rabbit and the older, wiser Nursery Horse.
"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
Quoted from Velveteen Rabbit or How Toys Become Real by Margery Williams found at http://digital.lib.upenn.edu/women/williams/rabbit/rabbit.html
Some of us are chosen for a special calling--adoptive parenting. There are many different reasons that lead families to grow through adoption, but there are a lot of similar experiences we share on each of our individual journeys. Sometimes words can be used for blessings and sometimes for hurt.
Proverbs 25:11 "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."
James 3:8 "But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison."
Sometimes we are asked seemingly innocent questions, but the words can bite even when they come from the sweetest of people. When you have missed out on your child's first 9 months (or more) at times you can feel like something other than real. Even though you may perform all of the functions of motherhood, you somehow feel deprived, or even guilty that you missed out on a piece of your child's life.
I would admonish all of us to carefully choose our words. A Birthmother chooses life and chooses a family. A Mother picks up and continues what a Birthmother was not equipped to do at the time in her child's life. We make a lifelong committment to love that child with every fiber of our being, and to treat that child as if they had come from our own womb.
I find it curious that when there is negative news stories about adoptive families involved in heinous acts the articles are always quick to qualify "adoptive parents" or "adopted child." It hurts. We don't ever read "suspect injured a biological child" or a "biological parent." Why the distinction, unless there is still a negative connotation to adoptive parenting?
My friends will understand why I wept after hearing our daughter refer to me as her "REAL Mommy." While it may have only been a comment made in transition from make-believe to reality, for this Mother it was music to my ears.
Near the end of the tale we hear the Fairy say '...because he [the boy] loved you. Now you shall be Real to every one."
I love my daughters.