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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Could I love that child?

A strange phenomenon...

Maybe all waiting adoptive mothers do this...

I find my self staring at children all the time with one thought running through my mind... "Could I love that child?'

Sometimes it is easy... a sweet toddling baby girl with brown hair and green eyes that sort of could look like me... and I think "oh yes... she would be perfect! I'll take that one please!" Or a sleeping child... or a laughing one... Or a funny one... But then there are the others... the ones screaming in Costco with snot running down their faces... or the child throwing a temper tantrum for another cookie... or something as simple as a sweet child of another race that I know could never "visually" be thought of by strangers as "mine". And all the while I am staring... thinking "Could I love that child?"

I see kids all the time that I think "whew... I would hate to be that mom". What if I turn out to be that mom with THAT kid??? What if I ours turns out to be like the girl in "The Bad Seed"? Or Damien in "The Omen"... Or Erkle????

Honestly, I guess I am just worried that we won't "click". That my baby will "know" that I am not her bio mom and resent me... that she will be so different.. or difficult... just so something that I won't completely fall in love with her. I am scared sometimes that I will feel like I am babysitting instead of being a mom.

I hope that is this a normal fear. That all adoptive mothers ( and maybe bio mothers too) worry about. I just want to fall so in love with my baby when she is put in my arms and I want so desperately to know that she is "my" baby.

I think about her all the time... I try to see her in all of the other children that I come across... I am looking for her all the time. I try to imagine what she will look like and I think about the day when we will pick her up from the adoption agency and our drive home.

I have seen a couple of episodes of "Bringing Home Baby" on TLC... it is a reality show about the first 36 hours home with a newborn. One thing they always show are the families coming in and saying "oh she looks just like you!" Or the mother gazing at the baby saying "I love her so much... I can't believe we made her". Will I miss that? It always makes me cringe now... feeling like I will look at her and see someone totally unfamiliar. That she will be a total stranger to me... her mother. I am developing new concerns about adoption that i never even thought of... I always thought you worried that the baby wouldn't attach to you... but will I attach to the baby???

"Could I love that child?"

(please please please.. tell me I am normal...)


Blogger Kris said...

I think you are totally normal. I've not been in your situation, but several of my family members have, and they are so in love with their children.

I know from my experience, and please don't be mad at me for saying it, but I worry about the same things, and thats with my bio children. After losing the ones I lost, and finally carrying to term, I was still afraid of not having that bond.

I just wanted to say I think you are perfectly normal.

8:50 PM  
Blogger BethanyWD said...

I hope that this doesn't come off as rude or insensitive, but I had those same thoughts "will I love them right when I see them?" or "what if I don't recognize them?", and I am my kids' genetic mom. What is so telling - is that you are actually THINKING about this so carefully and thoughtfully, rather than through rose colored glasses. Just keep feeling, thinking and talking about your feelings and you will do amazing! You ALREADY are a great mom.

9:56 PM  
Blogger Heather W. said...

Bethanywd couldn't have said it better! I totally agree with her. You are already a wonderful Mommy!

5:08 AM  
Blogger Vickie said...

Relax, you're normal. I'm an adoptive mother and I remember waiting for my children (3 at once) to come home to me. We were at committee for a sibling set of 2 and I thought "yes, this is it", but didn't really have that gut feeling that said "these are my babies-give them to me". We did respite a couple times and had one failed match as well. I thought I would never find my kids. Then, just about the time we were about to abandon the whole idea, I wrote a rather frustrated e-mail to my caseworker and she replied with "here, there are 3 instead of 2 and older than you originally asked for, but I don't have anything that matches your original request (2 kids, ages 2-4)". She attached a picture to the e-mail and the minute I opened it, I told my husband, "these are our kids". I knew deep inside my heart that these were my babies. The girl looked like my sisters, daughter, and I and the boys looked just like one of our boys, my husband, and my mother's family. They came home 2 weeks later and never's been 4 or 5 years now; I really can't remember, b/c I can't remember much of life before they came home.

I'll tell you the same thing I tell other mothers in this situation, a mother knows her children. When your baby comes along, you'll know. It's that simple.

5:30 AM  
Blogger Tracy said...

You may not bond to your baby immediatly and it's OK. It took me about a month to feel like I wasn't just babysitting my first daughter (and I had horrible guilt). I thought she was cute and I loved her, but not like I do now. I bonded instantly with my son-in the end I would do anything for either of them and it's OK that it wasn't instant with my daughter.

You will think your child (even if they look nothing like you) is the most beautiful, wonderful child in the world. You will love all their qualities that are so different than you. Both of my children are Asian and I know my husband and I could not have made children this beautiful.

Everything you are feeling is normal and NONE of us wants to be the parent of the child melting down (even during those unfortunate moments when we are that parent).

5:33 AM  
Blogger More than a mom said...

One day you will be the mother in Costco whose child has snot running down their face...while screaming for another cookie :). You will have moments of laughter and looking at your sleeping baby with so much love you think your heart will explode. I agree with Vickie-when you meet your child, you'll know. My best friend adopted from China and she said the moment they walked in the room with her child, she felt like her mom. I'm sure there is definitely an adjustment period, but I think you guys will be amazing parents and will raise an amazing kid! And like Bethany said-even biological moms have some of the same concerns you do! Hang in there. I think you will find this to be amazing!

5:53 AM  
Blogger alison said...

You're completely normal. I have those same thoughts, and I'm (hopefully) popping this one out of my womb. I think it's first-time mother thoughts, heightened by the fact that you're adopting.

Once you have that sweet little girl in your arms, all your fears will be washed away. You'll be a family of 3, and everything will be perfect. At least until she starts throwing temper tantrums, but that won't be because you're a bad mother, that will be because she's 3. ;)

6:01 AM  
Blogger Linda S said...

Sounds absolutely normal! I have 3 biological children and there are days I wonder if I can love that child. But the sweet moments override the crazy-costco moments and you say absolutely I do!

And the "she looks just like you" thing? I gave a baby up for (open) adoption 12 years ago July 13, and her mom still hears weekly how much M looks like her. So, don't give up that dream either! Just further proof that babies through adoption are still matches made in heaven!

7:28 AM  
Blogger Tammie said...

Now you did it! You mentioned screaming snot-nose child-JINX! lol

Nah, just relax and go with it. I promise you the first time you walk up to the crib and she gives you that big toothless smile just because she is excited and glad you are there your heart will forever be changed!

My favorite and this shows my stingy side- while in your arms a somewhat stranger or new family member holds their hands out to try to get her to come to them and she turns her head and snuggles more closely to you... those a the things that bond a mom.

I am my childrens bio mom but believe me my second one I swore had a Ewok for a mother, she looked nothing like any of us! Rejected nursing, I thought she hated me! Bonding with her was HARD! She wasn't a cuddly baby perferring to be left alone! Now she is 21 YEARS OLD... and is afraid to leave home she tells me because she doesn't want to be away from her mom.

WELCOME TO CLUB MOTHERHOOD-You are already worrying and this will never-ever stop. I am near 50 and MY mother still worries about me!!!!!! ugh!

I have one regret though and it was a poem my Aunt gave me that I wish I would have really paid attention to
it goes like this

Hush down cobwebs
dust bunnies go to sleep
I am rocking my baby
and babies don't keep

I wish I wouldn't have worried so much about a clean house, etc and just said to hell with it and just enjoyed them while they were babies... but I was trying to be the "perfect" mom..

Relax, be selfish and enjoy EVER moment it goes by to quickly!

8:44 AM  
Blogger Frenchie said...

First of all, you are totally normal.

I read a book that really helped me..."Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother..." check it out--see if you can find it on Amazon.

I was expecting a feeling to sort of wash over me the moment I held my baby for the first after all those years of infertility and waiting, that suddenly I would "feel" like a Mother. Well, even though I loved him from the moment I set eyes on him, it took a while before I really felt like I was MOM. I think some bio moms go through this, I tried not to worry about it too much. It's just that when they are newborns, the interaction is all sort of going one way--they cry, you try to fulfill their needs--you give, they take. It's just the way it is. But, for me, it came in small increments, little by little, I felt more and more bonded. And, it was like with each step my heart felt like it was growing and expanding and I was feeling a kind of love I didn't know was possible.

Now my son is 15 months, and I can tell you, there is no question as far as he is concerned--I AM MOMMY! And, no one else will do. I love it!

BTW- my son doesn't look anything like me. And, I was sort of sensitive when he was smaller about all the comments: "Oh where does he get his beautiful blue eyes!?" etc.. I was sad that I couldn't take any credit for how beautiful he is. I think I went through a second wave of grieving my infertility after he came home with us. I don't know if that is normal--but just sharing my experience. But, I moved through it, and now I can't even fathom NOT having my son. I am in a way even thankful that I am infertile, because I love him so much, and I never would have found him if I had been able to conceive easily on my own.

I have come to believe through my adoption experience that the child that is truly meant to be yours will come to you. No question. So, even though your daughter will not share your DNA--she will be yours, 100%.


9:01 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Yep. You sound like a mom.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Every child at some point is THAT child.

Have you watched the show "Adoption Stories" it comes on the discovery health channel? I think you have very normal concerns.

10:52 AM  
Blogger kcmarie122 said...

I have totally thought those exact same things. Thanks for writing this because it makes me feel better myself, that I'm not alone when I think those same thoughts.

Thanks to all the commentors too.
It was nice hearing that it could happen either way, instant bond or something that takes a little more time. And the fact that some moms feel that way about their own biological kids too...sad, but that makes me feel better about adoption.

It makes total sense that the bond is strengthened even as they get older and become more attached to you. That would definitely make me feel more like a mom than when they first came home!

Thanks again for bringing this to light! Best of luck!

10:58 AM  
Blogger Amnesia said...

I was adopted. I was raised by my adopted mother, and I loved her as much as I imagine my biological children love me - unconditionally. I always knew I was adopted, and it was honestly OK. I felt wanted, loved. My mother and father had to really want a baby to try THAT hard - to go through THAT much to have me. It wasn't a mistake. It couldn't have been more planned. And your baby will feel the same. You will be a FANTASTIC mom. And do you know why? Because you CARE about these things...because you want this so badly...because you know you are not perfect and know that it is OK.

11:54 AM  
Blogger MrsSSG said...

welcome to the club. you now worry incessantly about how your child will or won't act and how you will be seen for it. I wondered the same thing before the birth of my son, will I love him? and I still wonder about other children behaving badly.....will I be able to handle it? will he ever act like that (the answer is yes)

you are totally normal and a mom already.....your baby will find you and you will click because you will care for her and that is all she wants/needs.

2:02 PM  
Blogger DeanaJ said...

This is probably going to be a weird analogy but I wondered the same thing when we were contemplating adoption. I thought about my cat and how much she was a part of our family and how we just loved her even though she wasn't born to us. I think about how much you love your pets, and those are all adoptions. Once they come to you and you care for them and love them, they are yours.
I hope that doesn's sound weird, but it helped me to realize that families are not being flesh and blood, but its about the love we have and the bonds we create, just like with our spouses, they are not related but become the most important people in our lives.
I know that love will come to you just like it comes to all moms.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Pegs said...

I think your thoughts are very normal and above all honest!! I have been reading your blog and admire your honesty the most. I am only in the beginnings of infertility (Clomid one cycle, TTC 15 cycles, currently taking a break before Clomid #2). My sister is adopted and created such a bond with my mom that she has no desire to find her biological parents. The key to their relationship per her is the honesty they share. You'll be a great mom, no doubt!!

5:48 PM  
Blogger Army Wife Extraordinaire *~A.W.E.*~ said...

I think it's normal. I had my son at 30 weeks. I had never really felt "bonded" to him while pregnant. I know your struggles from reading your blog, so I won't insult you by going on and on about the "evils" of pregnancy because I know you've wanted a baby for so long. What I WILL tell you is that after Gunner was born so early, I remember looking at him laying in the incubator and thinking, "So, this is my son. Hmmm." And feeling absolutely NOTHING. Then feeling horribly guilty for not feeling anything. Then trying to summons up something, ANYTHING. I tried to reassure myself that since they didn't let me see or hold him right away, that was the reason. I tried to force emtions. Make excuses. I wanted to love him. I wanted to look at him and feel that overwhelming surge of love that brings tears to your eyes. I didn't. Sure, I was on narcotics (c-section), but it shouldn't have masked my emotions. I was devestated and afraid to tell anyone. Within 48 hours, I felt 100% bonded to him. Fiercely bonded. I would brave anything for that little boy that I had less than two days ago felt little to nothing for. It's normal. Four years later, I look back at that and still ache that I felt that way. I just remind myself of how I feel NOW. The aching love of a mother. The same love you WILL feel. And you so deserve it.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Piccinigirl said...

yep, that sounds like a Mommy (and a fantastic one already) to me.

we all worry we're going to have "That" kid. We worry we won't "get" our own kid or bond the way we should. That's just mommy normal.

you'll know, that smile, that hug, that baby will be yours and you'll just know and love her beyond the feelings you can imagine now.

(sooooo excited for you!)

5:23 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I think your feelings are not only totally normal... but you've expressed them perfectly. I think you will be a fantastic mom.

Best wishes!

7:15 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Coming out of lurking here, I love your blog the way.
I have 2 boys, 9 months and 2 1/2 years. When I was pregnant with my first I was going into a toy store and saw a mom coming out holding a toddler who was kicking and screaming. She had him tucked under her arm like a football and was telling him he had enough toys. I took one look and looked at my husband and said I would never be that mom...well, now of course I am.
Point being, all kids have their lovable and terrible moments. The saving grace is when they are your kids you get the snot nosed screaming moments (and every kid has those) as well as the heartbreaking sweet moments. I think those sweet moments there are to balance out the hair pulling ones.
You will get the hang of it, keep a sense of humor, stay grounded, if your kid is freaking out laugh a little. Your mind is probably just readying itself for adopting and that is normal. You will do fine, you will love your kid fiercely and they will drive you crazy. That just makes you a parent.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

So many wonderful comments have been left here, but I just have to reiterate what's been said and add my piece. Your thoughts and fears are so completely normal, and it's so healthy that you're having them. People who go into parenthood without fear are unrealistic and setting them up for a shock.

It took over three years of ttc before we found out our first son was finally on the way. We were actually beginning the adoption process when I got pregnant. Like you are doing now, we spent so much time thinking about could we love "that child". Oddly enough, when I was pregnant with my second child, I went through a similar feeling. I loved my son so much, how could I possibly love another child?

Don't expect the bond to be instant, if it is, wonderful, if not, that's okay, too. Even when you give birth to them, that "instant" bond is a beautiful myth that happens for some moms, but certainly not for all. I have a friend who was certain for months that she'd been given the wrong baby at the hospital when her second child was born because she just couldn't bond with her. Are they wonderfully crazy over each other now? Of course.

My uncle was adopted at 10 months old from Germany, where my grandparents were stationed at the time. He is certainly not one iota less of a member of our family than my mother is. Actually, he looks like us too. He had his first child last year, and I can see so much of my own children in's uncanny. I suppose I've always known that he was adopted, but I forget that there's no blood tie there, especially when I see our children together. My boys all love his son, but my middle son is particularly enthralled with him.

Looking like your child is a funny thing. We went to church with a family before we moved who had five children, all looked exactly like the dad, and all were adopted, with no biological links at all. Then you have my sil, who is married to a wonderful Hawaiian man. When her son was born, she would take him out shopping and people that that she was the babysitter! You can't judge a book by its cover.

I can't wait for you to find your little girl. I know you're going to be a great mom. My grandmother always kept the poem which is written from the viewpoint of the mother to the child which says, "you grew not under my heart, but in it" Adoption is beautiful, and wonderful, and a tremendous blessing for all involved. Thank you so much for allowing us all to go on this journey with you.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Kenya said...

You'll love that child and get it right back. I'm sure of it.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Ana said...

Just for thinking it and feeling the way you do shows you will be a great mother, because you already care.

I felt that way with my own kids. I still feel annoyed when I hear that kid at Costco, and believe me when my kid was that kid at Costco I screamed inside yelling OMG I AM THAT MOTHER. Because once or twice you will be. We all are!
good luck to you

2:51 PM  
Blogger Char said...

Dang, I just wrote a looong comment, then lost my internet connection...

Oh well... basically what I wanted to say was - if you weren't experiencing these fears, you wouldn't be taking this commitment very seriously. So, your contemplating your reaction already now, is testimony to the fact that you are SO READY for your baby! It is sooo exciting, overwhelming and life-changing! I can't wait for you to share that time with us...

Try not to put pressure on yourself about it though. I know, easier said than done, right? I can so relate to everything you've said in this post though.

I remember holding Jesse-Lee for the first time. I took her in my arms, and literally had to tell myself to relax - that even if the whole adoption still fell through, and I only had her for a few days; then for those few days I was going to love her completely and totally! That she deserved nothing less than my whole heart. And so, loving her was a decision. The love emotion came shortly afterwards.

To this day, our adoption can still fall through. We still have approx 20 days of our waiting period to see through... but I am just NOT going to think about it. While I have Jess, I am going to give her everything I possibly can. While she is with me, I am going to treasure every moment. Even the scary ones! haha.

And I know you will too!

9:14 AM  
Blogger Lesley said...

It's all going to be fine Jamie..
Your feelings are totally normal, there will always be something to worry about but I know you and Mr D will get though it all fine.

I think if you didn't think about any of these things you would have concern to be worried.

Take care and stay excited..
Luv Lesley

10:35 PM  
Blogger Charnè said...

I just found your blog, and I am from South Africa...

My hubby and I are on the waiting list and we waiting for our baby.... its so diffiuclt not knowinw hen baby will arrive! I also look at children in shopping malls and wonder what our baby is going to look like... I aslo wonder if i will miss out on the coment from people saying baby looks like me or hubby... i think its normal to have fears and normal to feel afraid that baby wont bond with us... but you know what natural birhmoms have fears to, so i think we quiet normal...


5:30 AM  

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