So, yesterday, I saw this in my Facebook feed…
Beautiful, right? A sentiment straight out of a Hallmark card.
I can’t even begin to describe the visceral reaction I had to all the sharing that was going on of this little graphic. It’s lovely, truly it is, and it celebrates what anyone who has read this blog for any period of time knows I celebrate with all my heart and soul…adoption.
It also damages it though. This kind of statement will make some adoptive parents feel broken, I guarantee it.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, and it is one that my children know, but that I usually don’t share with the world as a whole, because it goes against the grain of what everyone wishes adoption was, a perfect unification of an intact family with a child that needs one. Adoption is not that. Adoption involves taking a human family, one that will make mistakes and who has likely been hurt by the mere process of becoming parents, and unites them with a child who has been through an unimaginable trauma.
Adoption is hard.
So here’s my secret, I have some children that I call mine that I didn’t love instantly. Some I didn’t love in a day, or a week, or a year. Some I’m still working on loving. Love is a process, it’s not a destination. It’s the same for them. They didn’t love me instantly, and I reminded them that was NEVER my expectation. When you’ve lived 3, or 5, or even 8 years with no mother, or with a completely different mother, one you loved with all your heart, it would be inconceivable to suddenly have someone come along and expect you to just shut that love off and give it to a stranger. It wouldn’t be natural.
It’s okay that I didn’t love my children instantly. I love them now. For the children that came to me older, it’s a different love than for the children that came in infancy. Not less, not more, just different. It’s a love that celebrates who they were before they were mine, and uses that love to help encourage them to become stronger through keeping their previous familial ties intact. It’s a love that bolsters them up when those familial ties are completely absent. It’s a love that honors their birth family and culture and gives them a common adoptive family culture to build a future upon. It’s a love that will likely never be quite complete, because neither of us will ever be done growing up, neither as a child, nor as a parent.
It wasn’t instant, it’s just real.
who will let you in on another little secret, she didn’t love FullPlateDad instantly either. In fact, she thought he was a little bit of a doof, but that’s a story for a different time.