Wednesday, 16 November 2011
Falling in love
>Nathan is on the other side of the computer now for skype conversations, and Audrey and Owen’s faces have changed. With Daddy home, their smiles are bigger, their snuggles longer. They are thrilled to have Daddy home. On one hand, this puts my heart at ease — and on the other, it makes my heart long for home like never before. The best case scenario is that I have another 10 days here. A brief eternity.
But beyond logistics and jobs and arranging our schedules, I think God knew I needed this time with Benjamin. Just the two of us.
I needed some extra time to fall in love.
In a couple other posts, I’ve brought up the non-magical quality of my adoption journey. Now I see what I meant: I was expecting a fairy tale. I’d heard it in so many other adoption stories: Seeing a face and just knowing. Holding for the first time and miraculously “getting it.” Comparing it to childbirth, saying it felt exactly the same.
Days after meeting my baby, staring into his eyes and loving on him, I couldn’t shake a feeling: This didn’t feel the same. In a long list of fears, this was a big one, so scary that I didn’t want to write about it. I didn’t even want to say it out loud.
I could see the look on Nathan’s face when he was with Benjamin — it was the same he had with our first two. Enraptured. I, on the other hand, held Benjamin at a figurative arm’s length. At first, I reasoned, it was because of the uncertainty of the court hearing and the judge’s decision. What if it all fell apart? But when there was no perceptible change after court, I wondered what was wrong with me. What kind of mother was I?
Finally Nathan coaxed it out of me and reassured that we could never expect this to be the same. Travel, court, paperwork, missing the first 8 months — these are all hurdles to jump and mountains to climb in making this child our own. But even then, I was envious of the bond that Nathan made so easily, so readily. What was I protecting my heart from, I wondered? I anguished at the thought: Benjamin deserves better than me.
I’ve read volumes on attachment, one of the key factors in a successful adoption and an emotionally healthy adopted child. I was prepared to help Benjamin’s attachment to us. I was blindsided when I discovered that I was the one in need of help in attaching to him.
But now, after just two weeks with him, I find my heart swelling as I stare into his face. My kisses and snuggles feel more natural. The “I love yous” flow more easily. And I know if I’ve made these strides in just two weeks, our future is bright. And I’m going to do my best to be faithful to God’s purposes in these next 10 days, to strengthen a bond that will change his world and mine.
I know I will look back on all of this in a year’s time and wonder what our lives were like before Benjamin. And the love of this mother — imperfect, fierce, flawed and never-ending — will grow and change. After this, it will never be the same.
Kim Van Brunt
Sifting through the broken pieces and holding them up to the Light.
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