How my love for my son who is adopted and my son who is biological is the same, yet different


Only one person has had the chutzpah to ask me if I love my son whom we adopted less than I love my son whom I carried and birthed.

She didn’t phrase it that bluntly, of course. And I knew she was inquiring out of genuine curiosity, as she was contemplating adoption after having two biological children. It was good for me to recognize her naiveté; otherwise, I might’ve snapped back something less than cordial in response to what is, in fact, a thoughtful and weighty question.

This mama asked me what I think countless people wonder, but don’t have either the courage or guilelessness to speak to my face:

“I know you love both your boys. But do you, you know, feel differently about them? Do you feel as close to Calvin as you do to Linus, since Linus is the one you actually gave birth to?”

Somehow, by the grace of God most likely, this didn’t shock or fluster me. I simply stated that yes, I love them both tremendously. No, I don’t feel differently about them because they’re both my children. Yes, I feel close to both of them and believe we’re securely attached through the bonding that takes place over time not just in the womb, but also in and throughout the hours of feeding them, changing their diapers, reading to them, tickling their feet, kissing their wounds, holding them in my arms however long it takes for them to feel safe.

This incident occurred about four years ago, and I don’t think I’d answer any other way if someone else would dare ask me the same question today.

Yet this concept of different feelings lodged in my head, where it was treated to days of rumination as I considered how I truly felt about each of my sons.

And when I sifted through my sentiments toward either one, and realized how all of it is so precious beyond what I could’ve ever imagined to experience, I felt moved to share how my love for Calvin and for Linus manifests in both similar and unique ways because of the two different and surprising ways God brought them into my life.

My love for both sons

My oldest son, Calvin, was the sudden surge of light at the end of a long, dark tunnel of struggling to grow our family.

After years of aching over my empty womb and paying a good fortune on fertility treatments that amounted to nothing but tears, I had almost given up my lifelong desire to be a mother.

Then, only two months after enduring the devastation of a failed IVF cycle, we got the call from the adoption agency that changed our lives.

I was a mom. I had a baby – the most adorable, perfect, happy little boy – and he was my son, from the moment I first held him.

This baby filled my heart with joy, relief, and overwhelming gratitude. Those words people spoke with good intention but in reality drove a dagger right through me – “everything happens for a reason” – actually made sense now.

I see him today – a lively, smart-as-a-whip 6-year-old – and I burst with affection for my cheerful little mister. He looks so much like his kind-hearted birthmother, and takes after her nurturing, creative personality. His appearance and character remind me of her love, her sacrifice, and the fact that he belongs to two families who care for him immensely.

He is a long-awaited miracle, the fulfillment of oft-uttered prayers, a testament to God’s faithfulness and delight in astonishing His children with blessings beyond expectation.

He is the baby I’d longed for, delivered to me via another remarkable woman’s womb, and I love him dearly.

My youngest son, Linus, was the realization of a dream that had nearly died.

When Calvin turned 1, we began talking about our options to expand our family again, and cautiously proceeded with finding a new doctor and re-starting the whole miserable process of fertility testing and evaluation.

Then came the day I was stunned to find two pink lines I had never seen before, and I have never seen since.

I was pregnant. I had a baby growing inside my body, and I loved him the moment I discovered that blessed little plus sign.

From hearing the thrum of his heartbeat to feeling him tumble around my belly, I got to experience the sensations of my son developing within me, as well as endure the fatigue and pain of carrying and delivering a baby.

I see him today – a sweet, social, wears-his-heart-on-his-sleeve 4-year-old, and I smile with amusement at my expressive little bud. He looks like me, as well as my husband, and displays some aspects of both our personalities. This combination of physical traits resulting from the mixture of our genes reminds me that nothing is impossible with Him who loves me.

He is a long-awaited miracle, the fulfillment of oft-uttered prayers, a testament to God’s faithfulness and delight in astonishing His children with blessings beyond expectation.

He is the baby I’d longed for, delivered to me via my womb, and I love him dearly.

My love for both my boys is equally deep and wonderfully multifaceted. I feel close to both because I’m their mom, and they’re my sons. Neither relationship is greater than the other, but each has its exceptional qualities.

My son who is adopted made me a mother, gave me a fuller life and larger extended family through his birthmother, and demonstrated God’s redemption of my broken heart.

My son who is biological made me a mother of two, granted me the amazing experience of pregnancy, and demonstrated God’s redemption of my broken body.

Both my babies are undeserved blessings, and I will forever thank God for the vast and varied joy they bring into my life.

Published by jennhesse

Coauthor, Waiting in Hope: 31 Reflections for Walking with God Through Infertility. Content director at Waiting in Hope Ministries. Wife and boy mom x3.

22 thoughts on “How my love for my son who is adopted and my son who is biological is the same, yet different

  1. I really enjoyed this. I love seeing others perspectives on the topic of adoption since I have friends who have adopted but have no personal experience with it. I think it is one of the most amazing pictures of God our Father and the adoption of us through Jesus. It was really wonderful to read your words about your boys. Thank you for sharing.


  2. I enjoy reading your story, I am a mom of three, my first is my own biological child and my others two were adopted through foster care systems, I love them all the same, and I am truly amaze how God choose me to be their mom (all of them) as I tell others when they say the two younger ones are lucky because we did adopted them I say no I am the one who is bless to be called their mom


  3. Jenn, this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing the parallel – how the love doesn’t differ in quantity or quality, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t differences! Grateful for your heart that is willing to be transparent as an encouragement and blessing to others!


  4. Wow Jennifer!
    Not only am I impressed by your skillfull writing, but the fact that you do so about a not often talked about subject is quite awesome.
    I can feel your truth, love, pain and joy in this post.
    I know your two sons are just as blessed to have you as a mama 💖


    1. Aw, thanks so much, cousin! It isn’t talked about much, and thus this was a little risky to write. But I thought it was worthwhile to shed light and promote better understanding of our story.


  5. I love how God answered your prayers to be a mom not just once, but twice – in 2 miraculous ways that only He could have done! I love how He goes above and beyond our expectations. I had 2 miscarriages, and then God gave me twins – so much more than I every thought. So amazing! Thanks for sharing this story! 🙂 Love!


    1. Katie, I’m sorry you endured the loss of two babies in your journey to grow your family. Praise God for your twins, and all your children. He is so good to us, even when we doubt through our disappointments. Thank you for reading and commenting!


  6. Love the story. It is easy to see God is using you in a powerful way! Jennifer you really connect with people and what is truly beautiful is how much Love you have to give and how passionate you are about the subject of adoption. The Lord has been so good to you and Colin. God bless you as you continue to serve him!

    Much Love,

    Uncle Bob


  7. While I’m afraid there is no way for someone to truly understand unless they have been in your shoes, you did a beautiful job of explaining the heart of a mother who loves both of her children as only a mother can! ❤


  8. I love how you described your love for your children. I was the eldest of three. Me and my middle brother were adopted, my third brother was biological. As an adoptee, I always love to hear adopted parents share their stories. Your boys are both blessed to have such a loving mother.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My cousin told her husband when she got married how watching her Aunt adopt and the love around it made her want too. She has an adopted a son and has a birth daughter. My beat friend adopted both her children from Korea. I shared your post and they both loved it! You are so right, adoption both is complex and beautiful at the same time.


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