I first published this piece back in January 2018. I think one of the hardest things about becoming a parent through adoption, is the fact that placement day means you’ve gone from nought to a child in a relatively short period of time.
Although the matching process can take some time, once you are matched, things tend to move quite quickly. You don’t have time to form a bond or attachment. You learn about their likes and dislikes. But you haven’t discovered those with them. They’ve been written in a report, or shared with you by the person who’s been the child’s main carer for months.
I think this is one of the parts of the adoption process that we adopters are least prepared for. So I hope reading about my experience helps others understand it’s normally not to feel love or attachment straight away.
It took me a while to love our daughter. After years of wanting to be a mum, I expected it all to be sparkles and loveliness. It took me a bit by surprise when I didn’t instantly fall in love. I wrote this post a while ago about how I felt.
Things have moved on a lot since then. I love my daughter more than anything else in the world. My heart melts when she says “love you mummy”. I can’t believe how far we’ve come since that first day when we met her.
Despite the overwhelming feeling of love I have for her, there are times when I still feel like we’re just borrowing her. Like we’ll have to give her back one day and that day is getting closer and closer.
I’m annoyed at myself for feeling like that. I love my daughter so much it hurts sometimes. She’s our world and she adores us. She’s a happy, secure, loving and mischievous little girl who is a huge part of our family and adored by everyone.
But recently there’s been a little niggle at the back of my mind that says she’s not really our daughter. Someone else gave her the gift of life and we’re just looking after her until she’s old enough to decide for herself.
I think I’m feeling this way at the moment because I’ve been really worried again about getting it right telling her about her history and her birth family. To be honest, I’m feeling quite overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.
She was nine months old when we met her. Although she had a strong attachment to her foster family, she has no real memory of them. We’ve kept in touch via e-mail but not physically. She met her three eldest siblings when she was tiny but again, has no memory of them.
She’s growing up way too fast and I know now is the right time to gradually introduce more detail about adoption to her. Some will no doubt think we’ve left it too late already. But it hasn’t felt like the right time.
When I wrote this post last year, I thought it was the right time and that there’d be more questions from our daughter about her sisters. That would have been a natural way to start the ball rolling. However, she hasn’t asked any more questions.
As she grows up, I want her to know she’s adopted so that it isn’t a big deal. Obviously it is a big deal. But I don’t want it to overwhelm her or make her feel different because of it. Adoption is something that happened to her. It doesn’t define her.
I want her to feel that she can ask anything she wants about her history and we’ll answer in an age appropriate way. But I guess I’m frightened that once we start to tell her about her history, we’re going to start losing her.
Once she knows she has another family with brothers and sisters, she’ll not want us. She’ll want them. I know what we need to do and how to do it. It’s the actual starting it that terrifies me.
A big part of me also wants to protect her from her birth history. Her birth mum was the victim of circumstances which, to a large extent, were beyond her control. The situation she grew up in is very, very different to the childhood our daughter is having. I imagine learning about that will be very difficult for her.
Adoption is such a mixture of emotions. It feels like we’re on a rollercoaster ride at times. But seeing her beautiful smile makes it all worthwhile.
If you’d like to read more adoption stories, click here