This week my family suffered the loss of my grandpa. I think I confused half of my friends because everyone thought I was talking about my paternal grandfather, who is very well known in my area. Of course if it’s not him then it must be my maternal grandpa, who I’ve only met 1x and he died a few years ago (on my birthday of all days). Then the focus gets shifted to my great-grandfathers who have been gone for a long time.
So who on Earth am I talking about? Well my adopted grandpa. No I was never adopted…I adopted them. Up until this week, I never thought about how adoption has touched my life. To me that is moms and dads adopting children to make a family. Although my “adoption” of my grandparents has no legal barring, we still created a family. They were as close to me as you could get without being blood. They are truly and in every sense of the words, grandparents
Through a long series of events that are truly insignificant, I did not meet my paternal grandparents until I was in elementary school. Naturally all my friends had two sets of grandparents at least…so I did too! I adopted my grandma and grandpa, truly believing for about 8 years they were my blood related grandparents.
So how and why them? Well, when I was a baby Jen (yes the same Jen that watches Eyan and Emberlynn), babysat me. She was like 12 or 13 and I was like 6 months old. She watched me at her grandparents house. She babysat me and my sister for a very long time and when she was unavailable to watch me and my sister, grandma and grandpa would watch us. Jen called them grandma and grandpa and so I did too. I have only known those two wonderful angels as my grandparents.
They never missed a birthday and we spent every Christmas Eve with them for 24 years of my life. I would spend hours over there playing and talking. As my sister and I grew up we would take flowers to grandma on her birthday and Mother’s Day and candy to grandpa on his special days. They never treated us any different then any of their other biological grandchildren. I can say definitively that they loved me like I was their own. My mom loves to tell the story of how when I was younger I got mad at her because I wanted ice cream and she said no. So I called Grandpa and he loaded Grandma up and they came and got me. They were always there for me, through everything I could count on them.
You see what made their appearance in my life even more challenging was that my grandma had been in a terrible car accident about 15 years prior to my birth, and was paralyzed from the neck down. Yet even with her disability they were there. They were at my graduation and many birthdays and had Grandma not been sick, they would have made it to my wedding. She was extremely upset that she missed it, but I sat by her bedside and showed her tons of photos as we laughed. Blood doesn’t matter. I adopted them and they adopted me and we became a family. The love I have for them is unconditional. It hurts my heart that they are both in Heaven now, but at least they are together and done suffering.
My adoption was unconventional, but not insignificant. Adoption is powerful regardless of convention. The relationships and love are unbreakable and the loss hurts just the same.
Who knows, maybe adoption is in our future.