Life Notes: Most Frequently Asked Question: “Is That Your Daughter?”
by Cindy Wyatt

It probably isn’t your most frequently asked question, but it is mine! My beautiful daughter is almost four years old, and she doesn’t look like her mother or her father or her brother. She has milk-chocolate colored skin and raven black hair while the rest of us have fair skin and light hair and eyes. She turns people’s heads alright-because she is so pretty and full of life-but also because, at first sight, she doesn’t appear to match us!

Sallisa was born in India, and we are the lucky ones who get to be her “forever” family. We adopted her when she was seven months old-so, to answer another question we sometimes get-we had no language problems. She spoke the universal language of “baby”. And we all soon spoke the other universal language of “love.” Okay, corny – but it’s very true. We all fell in love with each other quite easily and are like every other family out there – complete with sibling rivalry.

I’m glad in some ways that we look different and don’t blend in so easily. It gives our family an opportunity to be walking, talking advocates for adoption. I don’t have to say anything to be demonstrating to others that non-biologically-related children become your children as truly as those that come to you the “old-fashioned” way. You only have to see us together-which could include Sallisa getting in trouble the “old-fashioned” way! You only have to see Sallisa and her brother, Carpenter, annoying and teasing each other one minute and playing together the next. You only have to see her tired parents as they juggle work, school, ballet, chorus, and taekwondo like every other juggling parent.

Because we visually stand out, we probably get to meet more than the average number of wonderful people out there who have their own adoption stories. Lots of adults who were adopted as children will come up to us to talk. Lots of parents who have adopted will enjoy exchanging stories with us. So many people know someone who has adopted and like to tell us about that. You would be surprised how many people in Ruston have adopted internationally-I was!

As I write this, I DO want to acknowledge that not all adoptions and not all transitions go smoothly. Children who have been in institutions for a much longer time sometimes have more trouble adjusting to a family. Children who have been abused or have been in multiple placements often need extra help-as do their families. Parents who adopt sibling groups may have three very different children indeed-each with their own unique adjustments to their changed circumstances. But, even parents of biologically-related children will find themselves parenting kids with surprisingly unique temperaments and individual adjustments to life. They may ask themselves sometimes, “Is this my daughter?!”

It is all high-risk-this parenting thing! But so very highly rewarding. Look for future articles on adoption and information about support groups.

The Life Notes articles are written by staff of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home and are published in The Ruston Daily Leader.

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