Do you want an adopted child the same as a biological child? We are not going to give you the answer to this question, but Cristina, a woman who did not want to give up her desire to be a mother and decided to start the adoption procedures for Amanuel and, later, become pregnant and have Valentina. For her it does not matter how each of them are her CHILDREN (with capital letters).
Due to life circumstances, I was planted in my 40s, single, without commitment and without children. I'm not saying no family, because my parents, brothers, brothers-in-law and nephews are a big family: Los Esteban!
One day I decided to make motherhood a reality. Don't ask me why, but I always knew my first child would be adopted and I got down to business. I didn't say anything to anyone, I just did. In Spain, national adoption takes around 7 or 8 years, so I decided on international adoption.
Everything was rolling. As I was single parent, most of the countries did not accept me, so the countries with the most options for me, in Castilla-La Mancha, were India and Ethiopia, with such good luck that there was an ECAI from Ethiopia in Talavera de la Reina. I didn't have to think anymore!
They accepted me, and on December 22, 2008, my son Amanuel was pre-assigned. I saw him in a photo for the first time, he was a month old ... I couldn't stop crying! I thought it would be a two or three year old, but it was almost a newborn. I had a hard time getting used to the idea of diapers, bottles, dependency and, in those moments, the support of my family was total.
From the moment I played the first role until I held Amanuel for the first time, 18 months passed. I was very lucky, I know. I remember perfectly the trip to ADDIS ABEBA in April 2009. Every second since the pre-assignment I thought about my son: 'How would he be?'
Those months were very hard, but I was finally able to hold him in my arms for the first time and gave him our first kiss. I couldn't even cry with emotion. He looked at me, smiled (he hasn't stopped smiling since), and in that moment, he understood. Today he is 10 years old, and he still tells me at night: 'Mom, can you tell me when you first fucked me?'. We love!
We were very happy, and so, I started a relationship with the best dad, partner, partner, friend of the world. There were already three of us. It was also all very natural and we made it official, so Luismi legally adopted Amanuel. My son had to go to the judge that, obviously, when Amanuel explained to him that his father was not in the family book and that he wanted him to be, they gave us a new one with everyone together!
Time passed and Amanuel wanted a brother. She wanted it so badly that (with a little help from science and luck, yes) at the age of 46 I got pregnant with Valentina. It was a normal pregnancy, we all really enjoyed watching my belly grow. The little girl moved a lot and my brother gave me a small ultrasound machine, so many nights we listened to the heart of Valentina the three of us together, what an illusion! Amanuel still believes that Valentina is in this world because he wanted her so much that the wish was granted ...
My fears were two: that everything would work out, because of my age, and If I would be able to love my second child as much as the first. Only time showed me how you love your children, the first, the second, whoever comes; and I love each one with their different needs, characters ...
And Valentina came, the earthquake and, also, it was all very natural. It was so desired by everyone! Valentina's first kiss is also inside me because the two were the first kiss you give to your desired and expected child, it is neither more, nor less, nor different.
Valentina was born by cesarean section, so I couldn't do skin to skin, Luismi did. I didn't breastfeed her, so at home it was a party to bottle the dwarf. We have shared everything and, I have to admit that giving Amanuel a sister was the best we could do.
And from here it is the normal story of any family with two children. They adore each other (and cheat), and they learn to share and coexist and scold and make amends ... Everything that all parents of any family in the world already know.
As a mother, I don't label my children: black / white, adopted / biological, handsome / ugly, clever / silly ... When I look at my children, I see my children. I am concerned about their happiness, their health, the values that I would like to instill in them. I like their laughter, their crazy things, the day to day, when they sleep, when they eat, when they protest ... I enjoy telling stories, watching movies all together on the couch, having breakfast at the kitchen table.
We all tackle problems together and chat and share. And I also scold and make an angry face when they don't behave well. And it is strictly forbidden to lie and this rule is fundamental in our family, although Valentina does not understand it very well yet).
And all this is my day to day as a mother with my children, without giving more importance to the way they have arrived in my life. They are simply CHILDREN.
This form of family may not be the usual one, okay, but it is normal, for us it is normal. As a mother I have that intimate, inner bond of love, effort and generosity that parents have towards our children and that surely they do not know ... And I can tell you that it is just as strong with my two children. I would repeat motherhood, Amanuel's and Valentina's, come as they come to me, they are my life!
Adopting is a very personal decision, but having children is something very personal. I don't think the question is if you want or are you ready to adopt, the question is if you want or are you ready to have children and once that question has been answered, then decide how to make it happen ... love, affection, desire and patience will take care of the rest.
Text: Cristina Esteban Santos
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