Barbara, Like Sadie, I feel like an ambassador for open adoption. My husband Jeff was adopted in 1963 and we adopted a domestic newborn in…...
Share all your shots that capture the seasonal spirit!
School Days Photo Contest
Meet the winner, Maya (8, India), and the finalists.
AF Cover Photo Contest
Meet the winner, Bruno (4, U.S.) and the finalists.
Summer Fun Photos Contest
Meet the winners, Halle, Payton, Sofia, and Parker, and the finalists.
Adoption Blog: The Perfect Blend
Attachment and Adoption
I don’t like other people’s children. Let me soften that a bit: I enjoy the company of children who aren’t mine for brief periods. But I am not, and never have been, one of those women who charms babies in grocery stores, and although I almost visibly swell with pride when it happens to my children, I have never, to my knowledge, stopped a passing stroller on the street to comment upon the beauty of the baby therein.
When my first daughter, Josi, was born, it took me longer than it’s comfortable to admit to bond with her. I attended to her gently and with immense care; I took darned good care of her. But if I’m being honest, I’d say it took around four or five months before I felt that staggering love that comes with being a parent. With our younger daughter, Lilah, I still had some reservations and worries, but from the moment I saw her dark eyes and smushed nose, I was hooked.
The book on my nightstand that’s getting the most action this week is Patty Cogen’s Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child: From Your First Hours Together Through the Teen Years. Although Cogen doesn’t like the term "attachment" (because, she says, a failure to attach implies that the child is at fault), her text is very much about that very thing, whatever you call it. Cogen's book is an encyclopedia of adoption trauma and healing. Parenting is a page-turner. It's riveting and hits close to home, and I'm finding it impossible to put down at night.
Attachment—and for clarity’s sake I’ll continue to use the word, despite Cogen’s compelling argument against it—is a thing I think about a lot. I’ve read many adoptive mothers' accounts of feeling like a babysitter until that show-stopping love took over. Since I've felt similarly with a biological child, I know that if I am slow to bond with an adoptive child, it won't be the end of the world. I know that attachment will happen in its own time and that we may be able to help it along with a few well-timed tricks of the trade and a lot of patience and love. For once, I’m not worried about myself.
Dylan, though, is another story. Our beautiful son will come home from Seoul around his first birthday. To him, I worry I’ll feel like a babysitter but one who has taken him away from the people he loves and isn’t returning him. Those circumstances have got to be scary to anyone at any age, but at 1, it must be beyond horrible. For all its words of wisdom, Cogen’s book is my nightly reminder that Dylan has survived immense trauma and will go through it again with his next transition into our family.
Please, if you will, share an attachment story of your own, because if you have one, it means that you've gone through (and continue to go through) this, too. As we wait to create our own stories, I’d love to read yours.
Related Posts on AdoptiveFamiliesCircle
Meet the Author
MeghanNew York, New York
I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
Recent Adoption Blog Comments
I have not meet with my son´s BF but I have a couple of photos and he looks so much like her (and nothing like…...
I found the other site a week or so ago and was wondering about it. Now I know! ...
Thanks for sharing article ....i have read many blogs on open adoption and found that people are not much happy with open adoption. ...
Thank you for sharing your story. I have spent the last year and a half creating hair tutorial videos for parents of African American and…...
Thanks, Barb, what a unique story. I also liked what Sadie had to say about nature vs nurture: “There is something to this nature thing!”…...