I guess I am doing a series on adoption now. lol. One of the most common questions I get about adoption is “do you love adopted children as much as you love birth children?”
I have to say the answer to that is complicated. Each child is unique and I love each one of my children differently. I have to say though that loving an adopted child is different from a birthed child. The process of loving is different.
When Joshua was in the NICU all those weeks, Glenn and I both didn’t really get a chance to bond with him, as you would a newborn that you birthed. They only allow you to hold premies for very short periods of time and you are not allowed to feed them or do all the things you would with a birthed child. Not to mention that you are so concerned about all the bad things that might happen I don’t think you allow yourself to connect a lot, emotionally. At least that was true for me. Glenn and I had experienced such loss in our miscarriages that I just couldn’t cope with the idea of getting to attached to Joshua and then loosing him. So, in the beginning you just go through the motions of parenting such a tiny baby.
When he came home, we began the process of bonding. But it was different for me. I had nursed my other two boys and now we were bottle feeding. Then a month after we brought Joshua home, I found out I was pregnant. The morning sickness set in and Glenn graciously took night feedings for me. (I have night sickness, not morning sickness) So, Glenn really got to bond with Joshua while I was on the emotional rollercoaster of being pregnant and not knowing how that would turn out.
As Joshua approached a year old and Elijah arrived, I realized that Joshua really liked Glenn more than me. In fact, he was down right mad at me for having Elijah. I can understand that. But I realized that my relationship with him was suffering. I felt guilty, like I was a bad mom or something. Satan began to have a field day with me. But then I read this parenting book called “Sacred Parenting” by Gary Thomas. There is a quote in there that really spoke to me, “Regardless of how my children treat me, I know that God wills that I move toward my children, to get engaged in their lives, ….It doesn’t matter how they respond to me as much as it matters what God has called me to do.” I realized that I had to move toward Joshua, in love. It didn’t matter if he rejected me or if I didn’t feel all gushy and mushy toward him all the time, I had to move toward him. I realized that I did love him in different ways than the other children. I DID a lot of things for him. Love is not a feeling, it’s action. I began to spend more time with him and love him as much as I could, even if he didn’t respond.
After some time, he did begin to respond and now I feel like he and I have as good of a relationship as I have with the other children, and as he has with Glenn. It has taken time and effort, but it was well worth it. Each child is different and has to be loved in their own way.
For all those parents out there who don’t always FEEL love toward their kids. Just remember, love is not FEELINGS it’s ACTION! Move toward your children with action and those feelings will grow. Don’t allow Satan to burden you with guilt and damage your relationship with your child.