I have a pet peeve. Well, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have several pet peeves. However, one of them takes precedence over the others. I have a serious issue with folks who insist on pointing out the difference between adopted kids and biologically related kids in a family.

I’m adopted. I was adopted as an infant, so I don’t remember any other home than the one I grew up in. That’s my family. They’re my mom and dad and brother. I met my biological mother about 20 years ago. She’s a super woman and I adore her sons. But, I don’t necessarily think of them as my brothers. My brother is the guy who grew up in my home, with the same parents. We share the same war stories of our childhood. There is an intimacy of siblinghood that comes from growing up together. I barely know those other guys.

Yesterday, one of my cousins commented on my Facebook page. She was congratulating one of my daughters on her pregnancy. That was sweet. The not so sweet part is that she said something like, “And congratulations Kelly on your first bio-grandbaby.” Yes, this pregnant daughter is my biological child. And yes, she’s the first of my two biological children to have a baby. However, and here’s the important part, it doesn’t matter to me.

My kids are my kids. We chose to build our family through adoption. It was a good option for us. I love all of my kids, even when I don’t like their behaviors very much. I love all of my grandkids, even when I don’t get to see them very much. They are my family and frankly, I don’t really care how they came into the world. I simply care that they came into our family.

People make such a big deal about having “your own” children. When I am asked, how many of your own do you have, I always say, “Well, they’re all mine.” And, they are.

The problem for me is that people who single out adopted kids from bio kids are implying that the adopted kids are somehow less than. My own mother felt that it was a second choice to adopt. If truth be told, I never liked the idea of having a baby. At the time, it was a cheaper option than adoption. When I was younger, I liked the idea that adoption was less messy and less painful. I’m not sure I’d agree with that thought now, but I can say that it’s messy and painful in a completely different way.

My cousin, who was adopted by her grandparents (my aunt and uncle) when her biological mother, who was also adopted, decided not to raise her. She is Cassandra’s biological mother. The same little Cassandra that I’ve been raising since birth because her mother couldn’t get her life together. This is the woman who chose to point out that this is my bio grandchild. Her comment came our of her pain and not being able to raise her own child, I’m sure.

Many in the LGBT community choose to adopt. And, for those of us who adopt, we accept our children as our own. My children don’t have to look like or act like me. They are my kids in so many more important ways. They are the ones who make my world complete. They are the ones who share their pain with me. They are the ones who laugh and cry with me. They are the ones who fill my days with every emotion imaginable.

They make up my family.

So please, if you think it’s important to make me seem less of a person because I’m adopted, keep your thoughts and comments to yourself.

My parents chose me. I chose my kids. They are “my own” in more ways than I can possible count. t

Rev. Kelly Crenshaw is the mom of 16 adopted kids, two biological kids, guardian of one baby girl and foster mom of dozens. Some are lesbian, some gay, some straight, and some bisexual. Kelly founded a K-12 day school where kids could have a safe, bully-free environment for learning. She is co-owner of a counselling agency that works with children and their families.

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Rev. Kelly Crenshaw
Rev. Kelly Crenshaw
Rev. Kelly Crenshaw is the mom of 16 adopted kids, 2 biological kids, Guardian of one adorable toddler, and has been the foster mom of dozens. Some are lesbian, some gay, some straight, and some bisexual. Kelly founded a K-12 day school where kids could have a safe, bully-free environment for learning. She has worked with kids in the foster care system for over two decades, actively advocating for all kids, but especially those in the LGBT community. And, in her spare time, she can be found preaching in some of our area’s most LGBT-friendly churches. Feel free to send your parenting questions to her at Pastor.Kelly@comcast.net.
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