Friday, February 21, 2014
Bonding with my Adopted Son
When we began our adoption journey I remember sitting in class listening to a talk about connecting with your baby. The case workers warned us that we might have a hard time connecting with our new child, as we didn't grow them in our bellies.
I thought this was so silly. I knew what it felt like to connect with a newborn. It's the most precious thing and I knew the bond was instantaneous. To hold your child for the first time feels like nothing else.
When we looked at Caleb for the first time, we bonded instantly, just as I thought we would. I viewed him the exact same way as I viewed my other babies.
But as time went on, things were definitely different with him.
I was not nursing him.
It seems like such a little thing, but my soul yearned to have this connection with him. With my other babies the moment they touched my skin they went crazy with adorable, bird-like rooting. Caleb never did that. It made me so sad for him. I felt sad that he didn't have the opportunity to bond with me through nursing. I would look into his eyes as he was bottle feeding and felt sad for him. I thought he deserved to be nursed by the woman who gave him life.
I understand that this thought is not logical, it is emotional. I knew that we were bonding and I knew he loved me as his mommy. But I just didn't know if he knew I was his mother. I loved him so much, just as much as my other children, I just had a sadness for him. I was not sad to be his mother, I was elated.
One of the most common things people would say to us is how lucky Caleb was to have us as his family. This never sat quite right to me, I knew we were the ones who were blessed to have him in our lives. Here is the thing I have learned about adoption through Caleb: it is second best.
I truly believe that when God designed family he created it to be two parents creating a life and raising that child together, as a family. When sin entered the world that changed everything. With that, adoption was formed. While adoption may not be what God originally designed, he then designed it to be beautiful. It is amazing that we are allowed to be part of this perfect baby's life. We feel overwhelmed with joy to be his parents. I know that his life will be so much fuller now that he is our son. But I can't help but feel sad for the fact that his birthparents didn't have the capacity to raise him. They are so sweet, loving, caring, and compassionate. They are just broken and unable to raise him the way he deserves. As a result of their love for him we get to enjoy the life they created.
The feelings of sadness dissipated immediately one afternoon. Often I will take the kids to play at James' school. They love to run around with the other kids in his PE classes. I was sitting on the gym floor with him in my lap. He was gazing into my eyes and smiled. At that moment my heart felt so full I started to tear up. I knew in that moment what he had been feeling the entire time; I was his mommy. He loved me as his mother and he was my son. That smile was all that I needed to know and understand the beauty of adoption. That he was made to be my child. He was made to be in our family and part of our legacy.
I am not sad for him anymore. I know he loves being here with us. I know his birthparents are grateful for our family. I know that forever our lives are better because of adoption. I cannot even begin to imagine what our family would be like had we have chosen to ignore the calling to adopt. We are so blessed. So, so blessed.
Plus….oh my gosh….he's so stinking adorable!