"Which ones are your real kids?"
Adoptive families often hear questions like this. People don't mean to be rude or insensitive when they label certain children or parents as "real". Most likely they weren't adopted themselves or haven't adopted or been close to adoption, so they just don't know how certain words will sound to adoptive families.
Real parents are parents who make a true commitment to their child. Real parents love and take care of their children.
I am not genetically related to my Dad, but he is the one who has loved and provided for me for most of my life. He has always been my real Dad. Now that I'm grown up, he's still there for me. I am as much his daughter as my brother is his son. My brother is my Dad's child by birth, but there was never any difference between us.
Even though I always knew I was adopted, words like "adopted daughter" or "half-sister" were never used. I was always a real daughter and a real sister. I always had real parents and a real brother.
Ally has been the daughter of our hearts long before we brought her home. We made a promise to be her parents, to love and care for her just as we do the rest of our children.
Now she's here with us and she is a real member of our family. She has real brothers and sisters who love her and accept her. They include her and play with her and help her.
I truly feel that God has answered our prayers and has knit us together. She is just as much our child as the children who were born into our family. She has spent a few very intensive months learning about family...learning what it means to have a Mom and a Dad. I can tell that she understands now, and it's been such a beautiful thing to witness her heart accept it all.
Family is God's plan and so is adoption. I'm so thankful that He made adoption part of my life and part of Ally's too.