If We Knew Then What We Know Now…

Every once in a while, someone asks me if we knew Tim was going to have a mental illness, would we still have adopted him? It’s an interesting question. Maybe I’m just used to being asked all kinds of questions about my two youngest children, since Tom and I are white, our oldest biological child is white, Tim is biracial, and our daughter is black. We’ve gotten lots of interesting looks and comments over the years. Some have been kind, some not so kind.

We didn’t know Tim was going to be biracial. We did get to ask questions about Tim’s birth mother before we decided to adopt him. We’ve never met her, by her choice, but we did get some basic medical information about her and her parents from her mother, before Tim was born. We have no information on his birth father’s family medical history. The night Tim was born, we got the call from his biological grandmother to ask us if we still wanted him – his patronage was a surprise to her too. We brought Tim home the morning after he was born and we didn’t care about any of that. We cared that he had 10 fingers and toes and all his parts were in the right places – the things all new parents care about.

By the time Tim was about a year old, we thought something might be wrong. We consulted our pediatrician who thought it was too early to tell. Our adoption wasn’t final. But we never considered not completing the adoption. At two, we were pretty sure something wasn’t normal. Our adoption was final, and we never considered disrupting it. Same at three, four, five, and so on. The thought never entered our minds.

I wonder, do biological parents of mentally ill children ever get asked if they wish their child wasn’t born?It’s sort of the same question.Our kids suffer so much that, philosophically, it’s a rational question to ponder.

Then I think of Tim telling me he’s my snuggle bunny, even at 15. How his hair smelled as a baby. His infectious giggle. How great his is with animals and little kids. How he taught his sister to ride a two-wheeler when no one else could. His amazing creativity. I can’t even imagine my life without those things. I can’t imagine it without him. If we knew then what we know now, would we still have adopted Tim. You bet we would have. Even with the hard times dealing with this disease, they don’t take away the loving and amazing young man he is.

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