Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Parental attachment

One of the bloggers I frequently visit recently posted about her surprise over the time it took for her to bond with her recently adopted children. She commented on the abundance of literature regarding a child's attachment to his/her adopted parents, but a dearth of acknowledgement, let alone literature, regarding a parent's attachment to his/her adopted child. Sometimes it is a long time in developing.
She struck a chord with her readers. TWENTY NINE people responded in her comments section (me included), all affirming what she said and almost all relating with personal experience.
You can read her post here.
It is interesting to me to read peoples' response to this post. Some of the comments are left by people whose adoption blogs I have followed since before they brought their children home, and who 'seemed' to transition so smoothly. Of course, not everyone is comfortable sharing their worst fears or moments on such a public forum as a web log, and that is understandable. But I truly think that there is a culture of silence out there regarding the difficulties of adoption and the general pattern of attachment, which takes TIME. A long TIME! For some parents, the process is shorter, but for a lot of parents, it is longer. As the author of this post I linked points out, it often takes a long time with a biological child as well, and I know this was true for me.
If only we talked about this more, I think fewer people would get into a guilt ridden, self depriciating funk after a child comes home with them, be it from the hospital or from Africa, Thailand, China, or the city down the road.
I KNEW I couldn't have been the only one. I knew it.
One of the commenters recommended a book I'm going to order, called
"Post Adoption Blues" by Karen Foli. I'll let you know if it's worth the effort, but I suspect that the simple fact that she delves into this subject will make it a worthwhile read.
Having kids is HARD, people. Being parents is HARD. Becoming parents to a newborn who poops, cries, and sleeps when you don't and doesn't when you do is HARD. Adopting a toddler who poops, cries, sleeps, runs, plays, destroys, eats dangerous objects, picks its nose, has preferences you know nothing about, and hates you for changing its life is also HARD! It is so hard that once you do it successfully, you know you can do anything, scale any mountain, accomplish any goal, win any marathon. If you can have and love and teach and raise a child, you can do anything. How's that for rewarding? When you finally reach the point where a child's happiness truly fulfills you, you have succeeded, you've done it, you've scaled the mountain of selfishness and wrapped yourself wholly up in another for the better of that other, for life.
This success is not only rewarding, but ongoing! You succeeded before, now you know you can succeed again, and again, teaching and training and guiding as your child matures to new levels. And you scale the mountain again. It's repeated happiness. The work just doesn't always feel like happiness, and we doubt our ability to actually scale the mountain.
Never doubt.

1 comment:

Dawn and Dale said...

Isn't if funny how soooo many of us never blog about the "not so good" stuff??!! We're afraid that someone out there might not think we really might not always "have it all together" or something! lol

That's what I love best about having friends who have been there done that and can truly understand!

Janet is so awesome and she's a great mommy to those precious babies!! :)