When we were waiting to be matched with a birthmother, I read a lot of blog posts and articles about adoption. A common concern of hopeful adoptive parents seemed to be whether or not they would be able to love their adopted child like they would a biological child. A lot of people wondered whether they could/would feel a bond with an adopted child. That thought never crossed my mind, though. I was worried, instead, about the reverse.
What if we gave him or her all of our love and he just didn’t care back? What if our baby looked at us like we were total strangers and never warmed up to us? What if he was just so distraught because he suffered the “primal wound” of being separated from his biological mother that no matter how much love I gave him he never healed?
Unrequited love was the secret worry I had.
But there was really never a reason to worry. Just like I thought, I have loved Miles with every ounce of my being since the moment he was born. Before, actually. It was an amazing thing–having no physical ties to a baby I had only just learned about, yet already loving hiam so intensely. I would have done anything for that child before we even got to the hospital. And then the moment I held him for the first time… forget about it. I was a total goner.
Now, I cannot speak for him (nor can he just yet). But if his happiness and affection and huge smiles upon seeing me or Jamie are any indication, he has bonded to us right back. This is not to say that when he is old enough to hear his adoption story and learn about his biological family, that there won’t be sadness and confusion and a sense of loss. I’m sure there will be. I know there will be. But there is no doubt that he knows we are his parents. And he seems quite pleased about it.
I know babies are born with personalities and a lot of this is just in Miles’ nature: he’s a laid-back, happy, curious, loving, bright little soul. He loves life. He loves to eat. He loves to sleep. He loves to smile. He loves to be held by his mommy and tossed up in the air by his daddy. He’s a total charmer and is beloved by everyone we meet. Waitresses at our favorite restaurant affectionately call him “fat cheeks” and fawn over him the entire time we’re there. Everywhere we go, people light up when they see Miles, and he lights up right back with that big, beaming, toothless grin of his. He is pure joy. He truly is our sunshine.
I can’t say that every adoptive parent shares this experience–I know that we are incredibly fortunate and blessed. But if I could say one thing to those worried about whether or not they can love an adopted child, and if that adopted child will love them, I would just say: Yes! Of course! Love has nothing to do with biology. Love your child, laugh and smile and snuggle and cuddle, feed, change, bathe, and take care of your child… and he will love you back, no matter where he spent his time in utero. Biology alone does not make or break a mother or father. Being there day after day does. That’s where the real magic is.
I honestly cannot imagine loving my son any more if he had been physically born to me. I cannot imagine loving him any more, period. He didn’t kick me from the inside, and he didn’t hear my voice during those early nine months but he has heard it every day since. I don’t think there is any doubt in his mind that I am his mommy. And that he is my son. It simply doesn’t get any more “real” than this.