By An Adopt4Life Community Member
When they first placed my daughter in my arms, I wasn’t sure how to react. I knew I should be overjoyed and even possibly so filled with emotions that I would burst into tears. After all, it’s how others reacted on all the adoption matches I’d watched for years on YouTube. However, when it came down to that moment for my husband and I, we were mostly terrified and stunned that the moment we’d waited for all these years was finally here.
I guess we had told ourselves that we would probably never be chosen and therefore, had to protect ourselves by removing ever becoming parents from our minds. So when it happened, we had to readjust and learn very quickly how to connect with this beautiful child.
The day we brought our daughter home was a mixture of surreal happiness and utter shock. We couldn’t help but feel like we were “stealing” her. Once home, we had to wait for the birth parents’ consents, which for us, took about two months. We were hesitant to tell our families our exciting news before then and didn’t even want to buy most baby things until after the consent period had ended for fear of it being too difficult to have reminders everywhere, should something go wrong in the placement. We protected ourselves so much, but we built walls. All these things unfortunately delayed our bond and attachment to our child. We also had to learn how to be parents and a family of three. We had to create new identities and manage new schedule.
The first year for us was sheer survival. Everything we’d known up to that point had been turned upside down and we struggled. We doubted we were good enough. We also experienced post-adoption depression. We had to lean on others for support and couldn’t help but feel like we failed as parents.
I was given a necklace a few months in, engraved with the word “mom”. My husband told me to wear it until I finally felt like a mom. Our story is different than most of our friends. We didn’t get nine months of preparations and planning, emotionally or in supplies. We only had a week from the time “the call” came to when we brought our daughter home. It was an insanely emotional time and we busied ourselves deep into tasks and duties to get our child home, never allowing time to dwell on the emotional impact becoming parents would have on us, until much later when the dust started to settle around us. It took almost a year to feel the attachment on both sides.
Our child had a rough beginning with us with severe reflux and chocking in the middle of the night, which is the worst sound in the world. We felt like our child was rejecting us. We realized then, that it was hard on everyone and it would take time for us all to adjust. Attachment is a lot more complicated than we had realized during our PRIDE training. But unfortunately, we didn’t understand that until we were right in the thick of it. Two years in now, our daughter calls us “mom” and “dad”, says thank you and I love you, smiles and hugs us. This has definitely helped with the attachment, but the biggest thing was being kind to ourselves and being patient with our learning, knowing that only time and love can create a bond as strong as parent and child.