“Mom, why did you adopt me?”
Eight-year-old and wise-beyond-his-years Oscar was sitting at his desk, manipulating LEGO bricks in ways that still confound me. But this question was one for which I was ready. I knew the answer, always have known the answer, and responded without missing the proverbial beat:
“We adopted you because you were our son.”
Pleased with my response and figuring he would have fodder on which to chew for the next several minutes, I went back to whatever it was I was reading. A fan of paradox and the occasional koan, Oscar cocked his head and considered what I said.
Then, “But why me?”
I repeated my initial response, thinking perhaps he missed the magnitude of what I had said.
He looked at me as though I were missing the point and said: “But I wasn’t your son until you adopted me. You would have adopted any child they put in your arms if they said it was your child.” And then he repeated his question–this time plaintively and with all the existential angst he could muster: “Why me?”
I stared at him–my heart knowing the answer but not being able to articulate it. He was right, of course. Whether you form your family through adoption, biologically, or in some other fashion, it takes less than a second to fall in love with a child, with your child. And once you see a child as your child, he or she is–from that point forward and forever.
I tried to explain to him how I believe the universe guides us to those we are meant to love; how when the nurses at the hospital held him up for us to see just hours after his birth the magnitude of what I felt for him at that moment (and since) has been unlike anything I had ever known, would ever know. I tried to explain my love. But love can’t be explained–only expressed and felt.
Oscar, at age eight, sees adoption as a choice we made and the three children we adopted as a series of three separate choices. We, of course, do not. While we certainly chose adoption, we see it more as the point to which every other path in our lives was leading. And we see our sons in precisely the same way other parents see their children–as the people to whom our lives and love led.
Why did we adopt our sons? Because there could be no one else.