Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Not Like Us

Earlier this month, I was able to catch up with two old high school buddies of mine while I was in San Diego for a conference. Actually, these two friendships date back to sixth grade, which means I've known these guys for 27 years, or over two-thirds of my life. Even better, both, who grew up in the church, have continued their faith journeys, and are active in their congregation and have lovely wives and kids.

Maybe it was because I was missing my own kids, and seeing the parallels between their kids and mine (both have older daughters and younger sons around the same age as Jada and Aaron), but I could not help but smile as I watched these little rugrats running around. I think what made me particularly happy was seeing in these kids a glimpse of my own friends, both in terms of physical features as well as mannerisms and temperament.

It must be so delightful to have biological children. Here you are, making another human life with the one you love the most, and even better, that child is an amalgam of the two of you. As they grow, different aspects of you will surface, both through your outward instruction and through your DNA that you have passed on to them.

It is, of course, not something Amy and I can claim, since our kids are adopted. And there is sadness and loss associated with that. It may seem egotistical to want to see a little version of yourself, to want your kids to be like you in trivial as well as substantive things. But I think it is only natural, and for sure those who are fortunate enough to have biological children have told me it is one of the great pleasures in life.

Instead, Amy and I have two in our household who do not share any of our genes. And oftentimes, it shows: by temperament, our two are not at all like us. Every once in awhile, you hear them say or want something that reminds you of yourself, but more often than not, Amy and I look at each other and say or think to ourselves, "Who are these guys?" This is always said in jest, as we roll our eyes at how different our kids are from us. But there is a lament in that as well.

Don't get me wrong: we love Aaron and Jada with the same ferocity, the same tenderness, the same commitment as other parents. But while the responsibility is the same, the relationship is not quite the same. It is something we will mourn, even as we have much to rejoice in to God for giving us our two.
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