Fears about adopting after having a biological child...
And many moms, pregnant with number 2, wonder their version of the same thing.
Yes, I love each of my children differently. And that love evolves and grows with time. But it isn't more, or better, or any other value. They are each individuals, and my love for each is unique. I miss that I didn't get to share pregnancy and nursing with some. And I hate that they had to suffer such pain and loss to get to me. But it is an exciting learning process to get to know each new child, and fit my style of love to them.
I will say that I did have a relationship with my son before he moved in with us, but I didn't *love* him then. I was his mentor. But the love came hard and fast. It was almost overwhelming. I can't compare it because obviously I don't have a bio child yet, but I hear of people falling in love with their child at first sight after birth. Although my love for him didn't come the instant he got into our car to come to our house, it was within just a day or so. I don't know if it was the fact that he was mine and my responsibility that did it, or the fact that I just knew that he was meant to be mine. It just came.
I read a blog post once where the mom had experience with both birthing and adopting children (wish I could remember where I saw it). She talked about how you don't fall hard and fast in love with a newborn after birth. It's a gradual love that grows and evolves as your relationship deepens. The same with fostering/adopting. You don't feel an instant connection ... it grows and evolves over time through experience and life together.
This helped me in both ways - I have wondered why I didn't have an instant and deep love for our babies that we birthed. I loved them like I would love any baby but not like they were "mine", if that makes sense. Now that we are fostering (and it looks like parental rights will be terminated) I remind myself that it's like I have a 5 week old or 10 week old etc from the date the children in foster care entered our home.
There are times that I have momma bear protection for the two children we've birthed (who are similarly aged to the children we didn't birth) and it makes me nervous. But then a day or so later I'll realize that momma bear has come out to protect the children I didn't birth from the children I did.
I can't speak from experience (I have one son; he was adopted). But... I think maybe you're asking the wrong question. Might be worthwhile to ask youself:
-If you adopt (or birth) a child that you don't feel an immediate bond with, do you think you can still give the child as much as you think a child deserves from his or her parents? Essentially: can you meet a child's needs?
-What are your needs? Why do you want a second child? Can a child who is not your biological relative meet those needs?
1. Your specific fear of not being able to love an adopted child the same as you love a bio child is common. It may or may not be something serious. But remember, it's all about you and has NOTHING to do with the child. The cast majority of children are absolutely, perfectly loveable by anyone with an open heart. Your fear that you may not be able to love an adopted child is a fear about your heart being too small. Do you really worry that your love is limited? If so, maybe investigate this further... are you really ready for another kid?
2. For various reasons, parents do not always love all their children "the same." Some kids are just more social, more happy, easier to "love." That happens in all families - various personalities, abilities, needs, etc. It's good to remember that love is built over time, even with children. There might be an instant bond in some cases, but even then the love grows and evolves. This is normal and it happens in all families.
EllasMommy10, I literally had to go back and see who wrote your message to see if it was something I myself posted a few years ago. I had the exact same fear.
We have two children by birth and two by adoption. You'll be surprised what your heart can do.
I really like what marsupial-mom said, too.
When I gave birth to my son I looked at him with a sense of surrealness. Who was this person? About 18 hours later I felt a love I've never felt before or since.
When we met our (adopted) daughter the surrealness was different. 4.5 hours before we'd never even heard of her and suddenly I'm nursing her at 6 hours of age. The first two weeks were a blur. I was tandem nursing a 2 year old and a newborn, trying to pump to increase my supply, taking care of two little humans, my husband took no paternity leave, and it was all totally unexpected. At 2 weeks I woke up and thought, "This is not a dream. I have a second child. What exactly do I do with her?" I was too busy to worry about whether I loved her or not. Perhaps if I'd been pregnant that time or even if we'd known she was coming it might have been different. All I know is I was too overwhelmed by minute to minute necessities to even wonder if I loved her. Frivilousness requires spare time.
Now he is 7.5 and she is 5. I love them differently because they are different people. His brain works as fast as mine and I love watching him watching probability on brainpop. But he wears me out with his stubbornness. Yet then he does something that is pure boy--like posting a "spy base" sign on a door or leaving me a voicemail telling me it is raining and my heart melts. She comes to solutions slower than he does, or at least we think she does, for all we know she may be manipulating us. She is so cute that she can get away with murder. And she'll giggle while you're trying to explain why she can't liberate all the dental floss from its holders and her giggle is so beautiful that you really don't care that you can't remember the last time you actually flossed your teeth. My husband and I just sit back and watch her cuteness.
So, don't expect to love your kids the same. It's not going to happen. They are different people that come to you in different ways. Believe me, I know the head trip that pregnancy hormones do. I got all choked up over a toddler class called, "Wiggle bells" when my son was just under a year. And for his first Christmas I made a card with a photo of him dressed up as an angel. If you knew me your jaw would be hitting the floor right now. Fortunately I was free of that weirdness with my daughter.
So love your kids for who they are. If you really think you can't love a child enough because you didn't make them then don't adopt one. But if you can love a child for just who they are then go for it. You won't have the hormones controling your relationship so it will all depend on you and your capacity to love another human.
My daughter is 5 and still nursing (I stopped lactating 2.5 years ago.) If I had my choice between pregnancy or breastfeeding I would choose breastfeeding. Pregnancy is all about you with a fantasy baby randomly kicking you and a bunch of hormones doing odd things to your body. Then it's over and you have a real baby that does not look anything like a pregnant belly. Breastfeeding is about your relationship with your child. It's not just you. You both participate in it and look into each other's eyes. Pregnancy is a lovely dream, but breastfeeding is real. I'd much rather nurse a child than make a child.