Adoption, biology & respect
Being an adoptive parent as well as a biological parent is an interesting balance. I'd say the best gift adoption has given me is the commitment to see each of our children as unique individuals. For example, one of my adoptive children is flat out awesome at Math. I take no credit for that so I really shouldn't take credit for one of my bio kids abilities artistically. Being open and excited about each child apart from my own or Sheff's abilities allows them to create themselves with out judgment. We have very high expectations for each of our children, morally, academically and athletically. Our expectations are not based on any preconceived notion of ability or genetics.
We spent a lot of time traveling when I was growing up and I would buy parenting magazines from around the world. Italy, France, Spain, Cambodia and Mexico all have different top 10 names, different baby foods. It created a global sense of family in me and a desire for adoption. As a mother now I am reminded of my early desire to teach myself about different cultures. It is very easy to slide into a framework of knowing best. Of believing what your own child eats is normal. Of thinking one way of sleeping or potty training is the end all and be all.
It is a privilege to be a mother to both adopted and biological children. It is an awesome (on all counts of definition) job. I hope I can instill a respect for things that are different from us in our children. I hope that we as parents can raise hard working, peaceful and accepting adults. I hope that our kids are fired up by the thought of the unknown and strive to find knowledge about things rather than rebuke them. I hope we can raise kids who are open to adoption and biology in their own families someday.