Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Was it love at first sight?

I was at a holiday party the other night and a friend and I were talking. This friend recently had a baby. I asked her how she liked motherhood and her response was "it was love at first sight as you have probably felt with your adopted daughter". My heart sank all the way to my stomach. Actually, no. We did not like each other a year ago. Although I showed love to her, I didn't feel it. I didn't get those butterflies when holding her while she slept in my arms. She has never fallen asleep in my arms-she's too hypervigilent!

Did I love her at first? Yea, maybe. I don't know. I definitely showed it to her by teaching her appropriate ways of acting, teaching her in school, teaching her to groom herself, teaching her social norms of society, adopting her into our family, etc...We went through the actions of love but did not  feel love.

What I didn't feel is those butterflies that you can get in your stomach. I feel like a terrible parent because I didn't "feel the love" towards my child like others have felt. Connecting with her was anything but easy this past year. I read blog after blog about how adoptive parents loved their child and made connections and they were so happy. I saw a lot of happy pictures of adoptive families. Why wasn't my family like that? Then Wes, voice of reason, said that those people get to choose which picture to put up on their blog and no one is going to take a picture of a child having a major meltdown kicking, screaming, and fighting. Duh (Does anyone still use that word?)! He is so right! They choose that one picture where everybody is smiling and happy. So don't compare yourself to other adoptive families. It will make you feel like a terrible parent! We don't know exactly what's behind that happy picture. That 10 year old in that perfect picture could be wearing a pullup because he has bladder issues from trauma, or that 8 year old girl who looks so cute and small, but is severely malnourished from neglect.

If someone were to ask last year do you love her? I would've said yes. If someone were to ask a year ago if I've felt love towards my daughter, I would've said no. I didn't have that "feeling".

I am beginning to have that feeling of love towards her. It's a nice feeling to have amidst the chaos that we've experienced this past year. We had my daughter's birthday party this past weekend. Watching her reactions to opening her gifts and thanking everyone for the presents that they brought gave me butterflies in my stomach. She was truly a happy child at that moment and that's what gave me my first butterfly. Seeing my child truly happy gave me butterflies. It has been a long journey of healing and we are continuing that healing process, so it's only going to get better. My daughter is able to express emotions! She couldn't do that a year ago.

And I want to thank some of my blog followers who've contacted me personally. You all are awesome and have helped me get through the rough patches during the bonding phase with my daughter. I would've have gone completely nuts if it weren't for my awesome blog followers. Thanks  for telling me that I am "normal" and that what I was feeling is "normal".

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