The depressing thing about adoption is that it doesn’t always turn out the way we hoped. The amazing thing about adoption is that sometimes it does.

For parents who start out with a script, a fixed picture in their heads of what they and their children will look like in twenty years, adoption is a wicked full box of rusty monkey wrenches. Construction of a ‘forever family’ for even a single orphaned child is an upside down, missing screws, directions in Chinese, putting a tricycle together on the living room floor with only a screwdriver on Christmas Eve kind of task. Add a few more adopted siblings and the task complexifies but, oddly, only after the fact. While a parent is in the midst of raising several adopted children, the sun comes up and goes down and days are filled with the push and shove of normal obligations.

It is only afterward that the maelstrom that was parenting of adopted children becomes really evident. Oh my God, I think back to when my now adult adopted children were young. That’s what was going on?

When my adopted kids were little I wanted them to love us and their older sister.

When they got bigger, I wanted them to love each other.

This is not easy, nor is it automatic. Love can’t be mandated. Or orchestrated.

There is competition and rivalry, private and not so private torments, differences that are biological and genetic and unknown. To make brothers and sisters out of strangers can’t be engineered. It either happens or it doesn’t.

And when it does happen, and you get to see it, like I did just yesterday, it’s a quite fine thing.

It’s exactly what I had hoped for so long ago.

26/100: 26th essay in a series of 100 in 100 days.\