I have been asked a question that perhaps many ask when they are contemplating adoption - "Can I love them like my own?" I'd like to answer from my perspective.
To begin with, I have six children - three I gave birth to, and three through adoption. They are ALL 'my own'. I have known the labor pains that came from giving birth, and the labor pains associated with paperwork and waiting.
When I was pregnant with each of my first three, I experienced all the emotions that go along with pregnancy - (crying on the Hallmark commercials), excitement of feeling the baby move, the thrill of seeing ultrasound pictures, preparing the room for their arrival.
Now, as I wait for two more little ones to come home, I find myself experiencing those same emotions (as I did with our other three adoptions). Random moments make me cry. I was in a store today, and as I was looking at clothes for XiMin and NiNi, I came across a tee shirt that said 'I love my .... and then listed dad, mom, brother, sister, grandparents, etc'. I started getting choked up. There I was, losing it in the toddler's aisle of a clothing store. Who would have thought you'd have those same pregnancy hormones even when you're 'paper pregnant'?
28 years ago I washed and folded little clothes and made the room ready for my first child. Today I am still doing the same. Yes, they are a little older (and so am I!!), and the clothes a little larger than with my first child. Yes, there are many unknowns (but isn't that true whether you give birth biologically or through adoption?) When they cry-just as I did with Zeb, Zak and Emily (and now with Xiaoyun, Elli, and LiLi)- I will hold them and comfort them, and try to fix whatever is bothering them. I will rock them, feed them, kiss their skinned knee, say prayers before bed, get up through the night when they have a nightmare, clap when they dance in their princess dress, teach them to read, fix their hair for the prom. Most of all, I will pray for them and thank God daily for the privilege of being a MOTHER to each of my children.