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Adoption Blog: The Perfect Blend

Falling in Love After Adopting

This isn’t what I expected would happen when we brought our infant son, Dylan, home from South Korea.

Let me explain. I'm a parent-by-the-book type. I don't mean that I follow all of the rules, and I certainly don't mean that I'm any better at parenting than anyone else. It's just the opposite, actually. I so often feel like I have no idea what I'm doing, and in order to maintain any level of parenting confidence whatsoever, I read parenting books. A lot of them. Some I love, some I hate, and my feelings for most fall somewhere in between.

Before we got the call, I read every adoption book I could find. I read memoirs written by adoptees and adoptive mothers. I read collections of letters written by birthmothers. I read books by adoption experts, as well as books by people who are considered experts but really shouldn't be. I read about transracial families, visible families, and blended families with biological and adoptive siblings. And everyone agreed: The first few months after adoption finalization would be tough.

So I worried. I worried about Dylan’s transition. I worried about my two biological daughters, Josi, 4, and Lilah, 2, and their reaction to our family's growth. I worried so much that my mother asked if I was sure I wanted to adopt. And then I worried that I didn't.

On the day that we met Dylan—we saw him for just an hour in his foster home—I sent a message to our family and friends: "So in love." What I meant was something more like, "He's great and I'm smitten." He is and I was, but it wasn't anything close to the love that I'd developed over the years for my daughters.

Two days later, when we took custody of Dylan and he spent almost five of our first hours together crying, I held him close and performed like a mother. But, when I looked at my husband, Jeremiah, I mouthed, "This isn't my kid." At least, it didn't feel like it. It felt like I was babysitting a very beautiful baby who missed his mother—very much.

For the next two days, my innermost self worried—and I admit this only in the strong hope that it will help someone else who feels this way—that we'd made a horrible, horrible mistake. Dylan was perfect: sweet, funny, surprisingly engaged with us from even those first terrible moments of mourning. But I couldn't force myself to feel for him what I knew he deserved. Still, we got on the plane, the three of us, and brought Dylan home.

That was last week. Right now, as I sit on the couch writing, I can barely resist the temptation to check on him. He's fine, but I can't get enough of watching him sleep. When he's eating dinner and, in one quick motion, sends half a cup of rice through the air like snowflakes, I feel zero exasperation. When I'm snuggling him to sleep and he's touching my face and looking into my eyes, there it is, that painful, exhilarating, clenching of the gut that I never felt until I became a mother.

I don't know what I expected, but I had no idea that I'd fall in love so fast.

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Hunny- don’t feel guilty about those feelings bc we all feel them at some point in the beginning stages.  It doesn’t mean that you don’t love them- it is just hard!  The child is traumatized in the beginning and in their own little way they are freaking out and that makes it super super difficult to bond. After they settle in- the love hits you like a TON OF BRICKS- which seems to be where you are right now! enjoy it!  =)

By Eshotwell on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 8:58 pm.

It’s amazing that it’s been over a year since I held that screaming baby boy in my arms while my husband and the guest house security guard tried to find the address of the “international hospital” and I thought to myself, “we cannot possibly take care of him, we have to send him back”.
He wasn’t physically sick, he was broken hearted and I will never forget that cry.
Not a day goes by when I don’t whisk my little boy into my arms and smother him with kisses. I love him in that special way that only parents know and I am so thankful everyday that I am Henry’s Mom. When did it happen, how did it happen, I don’t know, it just happened.

By LizLee on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 3:43 am.

Love your honesty!  And don’t feel guilty.  It took me months to feel true “love” with my first adoption - and that was with a happy, content newborn! 
Congrats on your new addition.  Can’t wait to read more about your family!

By Danielle Pennel on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 4:30 am.

Although we adopted our son as a newborn, I spent the first 2 days in the hospital crying quietly while my husband slept. As I held my baby, I kept thinking about his BM and feeling so bad for her, wondering how dare I be happy when she’s in a room across the hall without her child. I cried for days. When we got home, I felt guilty that I had taken someone’s baby. I also told closest friends that I felt like the world’s best babysitter. This lasted for the first 2 months or so then one day I woke up and after taking care of every single need he had since the nurse placed him in my arms, it finally hit me that I am his mommy. I am very very much his mommy. It will be ok. Just take in each moment and somehow each moment will continue to build into an unbreakable bond. Everyone tells me that my little boy can’t stop staring at me and at this point, I don’t deny it!!

By ahappymama on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 6:35 am.

Each child we adopted, down deep, I felt also like I was stealing someone’s baby!  I felt TOO lucky!  It was hard to savor the moment due to my guilt or my compassion for the child’s loss. That emotion eases soon and is replaced by the reality that you are the sole person in charge of meeting this tiny dependent’s every single need. Meeting those needs built my confidence and the baby’s trust in me. Our babies (both bio and adoptive) were born gorgeous. My challenge in bonding came with my cleft baby born with a huge hole in her tiny face. She couldn’t suck and needed me to slowly give, in measured amounts, every drop of nutrition she got. For over a year, I barely got to brush my teeth while attending to her basic needs. She exhausted me and she built my character. I gave her life!  And in some way, emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally, as an adoptive parent, I gave them ALL ‘life’ because, over the years, I am one of their every moment, every crisis, every blessing, every day, loving, forever parents. I think so many people has what it takes to be successful adoptive parents and just don’t know it yet.

By ma2dozen on Wednesday, June 01, 2011 at 1:28 am.

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