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.

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10 comments on “Falling in love

  1. Chasity says:

    >Glad you took the time to let this post "brew". Thank you SO much for sharing! Your honesty is so encouraging to me as I have wondered at these same thoughts in what-if mode…knowing at the same time that our God is an amazing God. He equips us for the task that He calls us to. Hugs from America.

  2. Deb Sternke says:

    >Thank you again for your vulnerability to share with us Kim.

  3. Anne says:

    >I'm just catching up on your last few posts. You don't need to be told this but you are a fantastic writer. Of course 🙂 If I was being honest I would say it took me months, if not longer, to fall in love with my son. So I would say you are doing great! There are no rules. Every situation is different. You are being blessed by each other, just by being together. And I can see from the pictures there is more than a little love growing!! So sweet. Thanks for your honesty.

  4. Tina Harriman says:

    >His hand on your arm…oh…so sweet. Thanks for posting all this. It's good for the soul!

  5. BigK says:

    >These pictures are so sweet Kim. Praying for you!

  6. Claire says:

    >You are a mother, Kim. That is how you were created. You simply cannot help but mother and love. I know. I've seen you with Audrey & Owen. I've even been mothered by you! Mothering is not just reserved for a woman's biological children. Mothering is for your biological children, your adopted children, your friend's children, your mom, your brothers, you neighbor, your barista!

    You already are Benjamin's mother.

  7. Kim says:

    >God bless you for your honesty, Kim. He is absolutely adorable. Thanks for sharing so freely and beautifully in the journey of expanding your family, guided by the hand of God.

  8. Jules says:

    >You are gorgeous, mama. All of you – heart, mind, soul, spirit – this is beautiful, real, raw, and so vital…missing you.

  9. The Lees says:

    >Hi Kim.
    Gosh, I read your blog with tears in my eyes, remembering the process oh so well. Now you're on that side.

    Regarding attachment … same here. Where was that "magic" I felt when they laid my son on my tummy after birth? Why was my husband feeling that "meant to be" feeling and I wasn't? I think it's the momma thing. You got to know your bio children for 9 months and then it was "oh, it's you!" And this process is completely different. But you grow. You'll grow together. Trust me. Trust your instincts. It will all fall together.

    Thanks for sharing your journey!

  10. Kim, that was beautiful. 🙂