I’ve been asked this question a lot lately, by others, and by myself. Now that Graem is here, does it feel different having a genetic child?
For those of you who may not know, we adopted our son, Brae, as an infant through the domestic infant adoption program. We adopted our daughter, Sienna, as an embryo through the embryo adoption program. Neither is genetically related to me or Tygh.
And yet, they are fully our children.
With Graem, we did IVF, with our own ingredients. Something we never thought possible given our fertility history.
So Graem is genetically related to us; Brae and Sienna are not. None of our children are genetically related.
And yet, they are still fully each our children.
With Brae, I felt love I never knew possible. This little boy came out, and stole our hearts immediately. I tell Brae that although he did not grow in my womb, he grew in our hearts. I used to say that I’d walk in front of a semi-truck for him, and I still would. It never mattered that he did not share our genes, and that I never carried him. He was our son. Completely.
With Sienna, my heart grew in ways I didn’t know possible. I mean, the heart is a physical being, and yet mine grew beyond its physical capabilities. With Sienna, I got to experience pregnancy, also a gift I didn’t know I’d be able to have. I also got my daughter. She captivated our hearts from the moment she was thawed and transferred, through each and every ultrasound, and to the moment where she graced us with her presence. It never mattered that she did not share our genes. She was our daughter. Completely.
With Graem, my once completely full heart exploded again. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to look into a child’s eyes and see my own. To gaze at their toes, and wonder if they looked like mine. Graem has satisfied a yearning and a curiosity I thought would forever be wanting. And, you know what? I’d love him just as much if he did not share our genes. If I did not carry him. He was meant to be our son, and for me, that’s enough.
So, the answer is “no,” it does not feel different to have Graem. I don’t compare him to Brae or Sienna. I don’t look at Graem and say, “Oh, he’s “mine.” Never. I look at each of my children, and say they are each “mine.”
Because they are. No matter how they came to us.