“I Could Never Love A Child Who Isn’t My Own!”

Author of 4 books, podcaster, parent trainer, wife and mother.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Over the past decade we've learned what it really means to love and the true definition of family. It's not built on DNA but choice! This past weekend, we were reminded of this as we celebrated our oldest daughter's wedding.

“How can you love a child that isn’t your own? You know what I mean, how can you really love someone who isn’t your flesh and blood?”

Oh how that question burns me up! I’ve been assaulted by this inquisition more times than I can count. The question always leaves me with a mix of rage and sadness. It’s been hard for me to put a finger on exactly why this rude inquiry has such an effect on my heart. I think it’s because the question itself is unnatural. Ultimately, it is in our nature to fall in love with one whom we share no DNA. We give our heart, body, mind, home, life to that person who is not our flesh or our blood. We may go on to create children together but that love and that family stems from a bond created by two people who do not have any genetic reason to be bound to one another. Why then is it so difficult to comprehend the love formed between an adoptive parent and child.

My rebuttal for those who question my love for my children has always been, “Do you love your husband? Are you biologically related?”

That thought was on my mind this past weekend, as my oldest daughter got married. I walked down the isle escorted by my 8-year-old son. As the mother of the bride, I took my place next to the seat left empty for the mother of the bride who could not be there. The loss was felt. The emptiness of the chair was real. I scanned the crowed to see the fullness of a family touched by loss yet blessed by renewal. This was a family created by adoption. A love formed out of many people with no biological connection whatsoever.

Our pinterest-worthy sign meant so much more to our family than most. We were joining not just two families, but three.


Biological cousins sat with adoptive cousins. Adoptive aunts and uncles hugged biological aunts and uncles. The bride’s family and the groom’s family ate cake and laughed together. Grandmothers and brothers shed tears. Sisters danced and sang. Friends toasted, laughed, took pictures, ate more cake. Titles were dropped and our family grew.

We were led to this moment by my daughter, an adoptive child, who understands that love is not in DNA. Love is a choice we make.

My daughter learned to love from her first family. They taught her that real love sticks things out, loves unconditionally, loves in sickness and in health, loves through times of plenty and loves through times of deep loss.

When my daughter’s birth-mother passed away she had already taught my daughter to love. My daughter shared that love in her second family, our family. She learned to be a sister in her first family and then extended that knowledge to 7 younger brothers and sisters. My daughter chose to be adopted, not in spite of her first family, but because of them. She did not dismiss one in favor of the other. Instead, she understood that family grows when there is love. She knew even as a teenager that commitment isn’t based on blood, it’s formed from choice.

We know our daughter will be successful in this new family she is creating. We know that in her marriage, there is already a deep capacity for love. The wedding was a symbol of love between husband and wife, but for us it was even more than that. It was an expression of the bond of a family who chooses to love.

She learned to love from her first family. Showed others how to love in her second family and now begins her own family on a foundation stronger than most. She and her new husband know how to weather a storm. They know how to love in plenty and in little. They know how love those who are not like them. They know how to base value on another because of his or her humanity.

As friends and family travel home to Pennsylvania, Alaska, Oregon and Ohio, the love of this newly formed family will go with each of us. We gathered together out of love for one unique girl who understands deeply the value of family. We have each learned from her that when it comes to family, the more the merrier. The example of love without conditions will linger. Just ask any member of this backyard wedding, in this Midwestern town, “How can you love someone who isn’t blood?” They’ll ask you, “How can you not?”

Have you ever been asked this question as an adoptive or foster parent? Have you struggled with this question personally?

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.