The process of watching an adopted child become a part of their family is beautiful to behold. The “Gotcha Day” videos get me every time. But beyond that comes the intertwining that takes place over time.
My husband and I already had three biological children when we adopted our son from China in 2010. And while he was immediately adored by his new brother and sisters, it was quite clear that our newest addition was from a different background and had a different life experience in his baby years than they had. Slowly, though, as time went on he became more and more like his older siblings. And then the day arrived when a friend of mine told me that she doesn’t even think of Caden as being adopted…to her, he’s just another one of our kids.
It’s hilarious to see the mannerisms he’s developed. Clearly “nurture” is showing its advantage over “nature” in many of these areas. Because, aside from his dark hair and almond eyes my little Chinese boy is just like his older siblings.
When we brought Cora home, the grafting process began all over again. And once again, we saw that there were four kids established in our home that were very different from their newest sibling in many ways. Because Cora had been in a loving foster family and had already been grafted into a home and family, we had a harder time teaching her the ropes.
Over time, things gradually changed and we saw Cora beginning to take on the traits of our family. Her foster brother became a “friend” that she talked about, meanwhile her relationship with her new siblings began to thrive and blossom. With her own special brand of spunk, she began to “tick” with the workings of our household. But it became especially clear how solidly Cora has become rooted in our family when we attended “Rodeo Day” for her older sister’s class at school.
Here in Texas, we have our own unique culture. That culture was being celebrated on this particular day. Boots and bling. Tex-Mex snacks. Stick horse races and other “old west” themed games. My China babies decked out in their cowboy attire, cheering their big sister on as she participated in her events. There was no difference between them and the other siblings there…except that they bear features of a different ethnicity than their sister. There was no sign that Caden has been home two plus years, and Cora only five months. They were brother and sisters. Nothing more, nothing less.
I always have the knowledge in the back of my mind that two of my children are from China. And I treasure their heritage. But at our first grade rodeo, I forgot that they were different from all those other little Texans running around. I forgot that salsa and queso aren’t foods that are native to their taste buds. I forgot that they came from different beginnings than their other siblings. Because they’ve been absorbed into us. Part of me mourns the loss of their birth culture. The loss of Cora’s accent as she has perfected the English language…complete with a Southern drawl when she pronounces the word “y’all”. But an even bigger part of me is glad that they’ve both reached the point where they’re just well grafted in members of our family. So much so that I “forget” they are adopted from another country.
Though I gotta admit…I do think Chinese cowpokes are especially adorable.