I've been debating about whether or not I should write this post. I've gone back and forth for a week now. Part of me felt that it's too personal, but the other part of me decided that it's important to share my emotions with you all, even the complex ones.
As our adoption approached, I really didn't know what to expect in regards to the attachment and bonding experience. And you can't really set expectations for that. It's different for everyone, and I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the age of the child when adopted, and the emotions of the adoptive parents. The attachment process may take longer for one parent, and be immediate for the other. It all varies and a longer attachment period doesn't mean that you've done something wrong or that you won't ever feel attached to that child.
That being said, I will admit that I was worried about this from the very beginning. It was not an immediate attachment for me, as I'm sure it is for many women who give birth to their child. Don't get me wrong, when I first saw Aria, I loved her and felt so happy that she had finally arrived. We did skin to skin for the first hour of her life to help with the bonding process, but that alone did not make me feel "attached" to her. It took time.
Again, I'm being totally honest here and my experience may be different from yours. When we took Aria home, for the first several weeks I felt like a babysitter. I looked at her and remembered that she was born from another woman, and a big part of me felt like I was just the caretaker of this beautiful little girl. I didn't feel like her "real" mom. And part of me still struggles with that label.
However, over the next few weeks I started to get more and more attached to her. She started to recognize me and smile. When I held her, she would hold on to me so tight and pull on my shirt as if she was trying to get as close to me as possible. She would sleep on my chest and I would listen to her breath and make little "ooh" noises. With each day I started to fall more and more in love with her. And it hasn't stopped!
I'm finally to the point where I feel like she is "mine". She is my daughter and my love for her has grown beyond anything I could have imagined. I look at her and my heart melts. I don't want to be away from her. And I'm so proud to be her mommy.
I'm sure the bonding process will continue for both of us for a while. And again, I'm not sure what to expect, but I will roll with it and as long as we're together, I'm confident everything will be just fine. I know there may be some tough conversations in the future, and I know that I will have to deal with insecurities, but in my heart I know it will be okay. Because I love Aria, and I will do whatever it takes to be the best mommy that I can be for her.
I've included some resources about the attachment and bonding process for adoptive families. As always, if you have any questions feel free to comment below or send me a message via the "Contact Me" feature.