Friday, January 22, 2010

Hart for Haiti

It has taken me a long time to grow in to my relationship with Zeni. When she first came home I didn't feel that same kind of primal love for her that I do for my son. I have spent so much time agonizing over everything being equal - do I love them equally? Treat them equally? What would that look like? What would that mean?

This week a close friend, without even knowing it, showed me that you can love and cherish all of your children because of, instead of despite, the different ways that they came into your life. That you can feel each child's needs and pain and that you can respond to those needs even before the child knows it is there. Click here to find out how she did it, and please, if you live in Spokane then COME to the event, and if you don't think about donating to this event or to Hospital Albert Schweitzer, one of the few up and running medical facilities in Haiti.

Finally, I know there are a lot of adoptive parents who read my posts (thank you!!) and I would love to hear your stories - was it love at first site? If you have other children was that a factor in bonding? Are you still going through the process?


Dibs said...

We adopted our son from S. Korea when he was 12 months old. I loved him from the moment I saw his picture. I loved him more the moment the escort handed him to me.

It took my husband and me 11 years to get married from the time we met, so I'm not one of those, "I just met you and I already love you," kind of people, but with my son, that was how it was.

Shorty after his arrival, he and I had lunch with a friend who had recently adopted two older kids from Russia and was having an extremely difficult adjustment. My son became upset at the table, I picked him up and comforted him, and he was fine. My friend asked me, "How does he know that you love him? It's obvious he knows." I don't have an answer to that, either. We just clicked.

Our daughter was six at the time and was not at all pleased about giving up her throne as queen of the castle. Now she adores him (except for when she is tormenting him of course.)

I don't know if this answers your question, but it's our story. :)

butwhymommy said...

We adopted our daughter from China three years ago and it was love at first sight for us. We did not have a difficult adjustment on either side. For us she was our first child and we had been trying to have a child for so long. It could have been a let down but it wasn't.

Now we are adopting baby #2 from Ethiopia (just waiting on a court date). I do feel that same love for him when I look at his picture but I do wonder how it will be. He's been through a lot in his short life and I am not sure how his adjustment will be. So I do understand.

anymommy said...

Crying. Thank you ;-)

Anonymous said...

Our son had severe attachment issues. He was 3 months old when we adopted him from a loving foster home domestically. He was our second child. He just turned a year old and looking back at the first 7 months he was with us, I'm not sure how we made it through the fog. It was awful, awful, awful. He had some medical issues which only made the transition more difficult for him. I would never repeat this...but I would have disrupted the adoption in a heartbeat. He rejected us 100%. He cried for 7 months and it broke my heart. I just wanted him to love me like I wanted to love him, but all I could do is try and make it through the next hour. It was literally one moment at a time. I knew that we needed time together to create an attachment, but it was complete torture for our whole family. I would compare it to the pain of intense physical therapy. It's something you need to do, but it took a lot of time to see progress and the therapy was so emotionally painful, I could feel it physically. I sunk into a depression that I could only describe as post partum depression, but that didn't make any sense. I finally learned about Post Adoption Depression and I was able to find support with other parents. I could not have made it without that support. Many hugs to you.

dearheart said...

I know I loved you at first site, or at least by brunch. (:

Anonymous said...

I have two boys that I gave birth to and when they were 6 and 9 we adopted my daughter from China. I knew I would love her from the the time we made the decision to adopt. I think in part this was because it was my third child. Going from 1 to 2 was the biggest jump for me. To some degree I think the first blissful child is the biggest narcissistic event and everyone is in love with being in love. It is absolutely wonderful but there is no denying that two children is a lot more work.
When I was pregnant with my second all I could think about and worry about was how would I feel the same about him that I felt for my first. It seemed impossible. I was also worried that my first would feel displaced. On top of it all shortly after I I gave birth to my second I became very ill and had spend several weeks in the hospital and undergo two surgeries in a matter of months. I loved my second son but I felt unable to care for him because I was weak and sick and it added to my feelings of not being a good mom and not feeling "perfectly equal" about my children. The long and short of the story is, I thankfully got well. OVer time I developed very deep and individual connections with both my boys and learned that they both need me viscerally as I need them and there needs are different and we can both feel different things at different times but that does not diminish our commitment to each other and most importantly my commitment to them as a mother.
These revelations and experiences gave me sense of confidence and peace when adopting my daughter. I knew the love was there and the bond would take place and it might be in a day or a month or a year but when it happened would not diminish my (0ur) commitment to her and the fact that she was our daughter forever and ever. I guess my point is, when we adopt our first instinct is to worry that our bumpy road to bonding has something to do with the fact that the child is adopted when it happens all the time when it is the first baby born biologically or the second born or the baby that is most like you in traits or colicky or whatever it may be. Hopefully our children will lead long healthy lives and as long as we remain active participants in their lives there will be many many opportunities for us to experience the closeness of our bond. My second son (he is now 11) and I share the same sense of humor and he makes me laugh like no other. Sometimes the most difficult roads lead to the sweetest rewards.

Anonymous said...

I have 2 biological children and 2 adopted children. I think the oldest (bio) was hard because I was so tired all the time. He was colicky and never slept. He also only breast fed. I never slept and had a hard time living, much less bonding. 6 months and all was good. 2nd child (also bio) was so sick. He needed us so much. Not sure it was bonding or survival. We turned the corner at 1 year. 3rd (adopted). HARD. she was angry. (still is to some extent). The 1st 6 months were NOT GOOD. The 2nd 6 months a small bit better. After that, things have slowly gotten better. The 4th (adopted) piece of cake. His attitude has been great since day one. Thus making it easier for us. You can't help yourself loving him.

I say all that to say, it's all relative to the child and to the family. Personality is a big factor. You may WANT to love the child but if the child does NOT want to be loved. It will be hard. SOmetimes survival takes precedence.

What I've found with #3 is there might be some learning difficulties. Her anger is her 'survival' technique because she doesn't know how to ask for help or that she needs to ask for help.


Mama Cas said...

I'm new to your blog...I found you through AnyMommy this morning and I've been reading back on some of your posts. I don't know if my 2 cents will help here, but it's worth a shot.

I have 4 children...none of them adopted. When I was pregnant with my first, I couldn't WAIT to meet my son and be his mommy and I was just SURE that parenting would be the greatest experience of my life. He was born in April of 2000 by c-section and our stay in the hospital was absolute bliss.

Then we came home. And my baby blues set in. And I was angry, sad, depressed, bored, bitter, etc. Unfortunately, it lasted about a year. While I absolutely, positively, 100% loved and adored my son, I was also (I think) angry at him for changing my life so drastically. To this day, I don't think we bonded very well and I'm sad to admit that it's affected my feelings toward him ever since. I desperately wish I could let the past go, but I don't know how.