Thursday, August 20, 2009

Love At First Sight

Recently, after meeting our family and visiting with the kids quite a bit, a lady said:

That's such a blessing that you've adopted. And they're such sweet kids. Did you just love them from the very beginning?

And I told her the truth. No, I didn't love them from the very beginning. I love them now. And I'll love them even more in the future, but it wasn't automatic and it wasn't natural.

She was a little taken aback. And I don't blame her. This is an adoption myth that adoptive families all know is a myth, but we don't want the truth known. Because, in the beginning, we bought the myth too and were wondering what we'd done wrong. And then when we realize that these feelings are totally normal, we're still afraid we might discourage someone from adopting if we admit that it wasn't easy.
Even in the very beginning, when it was hardest for me, I would still smile and say I was so glad we did it and I didn't have any regrets. And I didn't.
It was very hard that first year. Daniel was stoic; he just didn't have a personality. We didn't understand a single word Isaac said to us and he had a lot of trouble communicating with us. And we thought that language wouldn't be an obstacle, since Liberians speak English. And every couple of months, Maya would break down crying because she missed her mother.
Despite the fact that it wasn't easy or automatic to love our adoptees in the beginning, we have learned agape love through adoption. I could never regret that.


Stacy said...

Ginger, Thank you so much for being open & honest about this! In my opinion, it is so helpful for those who hope to adopt one day to know the truth and be prepared. As much as society would have us believe otherwise, love is a CHOICE, not a feeling we just have. What a blessing that your children will grow up not only feeling loved, but will also learn that in spite of the hard times, you chose to love them no matter what! That's priceless! We see a lot of this in marriages too - people giving up because they aren't "in love" anymore, or don't "feel" the way they used to. Love is a choice, and we are blessed that Our Father chooses to love us matter what!

MommaofMany said...

A beautiful post that's so truthful! It does take a while to come to love those you adopt. Though it happens a different way from birth children, it's a love just as fierce.

CK said...

Thank you for this. Very encouraging.

It has never made sense to me that people assume adoptive parents would love their adopted children from the first moment. Want the best for them? Oh yes. Be dedicated to them? Uh-huh. Be ready to love? Most definitely. But how can you "love" them when they are strangers? I confess that even with my biological children it took a few weeks before I felt love, for the same reason. How can I love someone I barely know? That doesn't mean I didn't care about them or wouldn't do well by them.

But then, I have a very practical view of love, as opposed to a romantic view, so I suppose that's why I feel that way.

Grace said...

Thank you so much for this post. I've really been drawn to adoption lately and it is so good to hear some real life advice about it!

Carey said...

I'm sure it is different for each person as are all emotions or choices. For me it was love at first sight and has continue to grow for the last 2 years.

The Family said...

Amen! I am just now getting to a point where I can admit that love is a choice I have to make every day. Some days are easier.
I would lay my life down for any one of these kids. I would sacrifice to desperation for any one of them. We are not however that happy family in the movies that everything just clicked for. I thought for sure I was broken and a horrible person those first few months. YOU were the first person to alert me to the fact that others were feeling the same way.

Julie said...

oops that last comment was me under an old blog name. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

It is so true! Wow! I've never heard a fellow adopter admit that. Our 4 year old was easy since we had him placed in our arms before he was an hour old, but our recent sibling group of 9 siblings that we took in this past January was hard. I still have days, but I do love them and I'm so glad we did what we did. Wouldn't change it for the world.


Sherrie said...

I have to respond to Rebecca. One is hard, Two harder and so on but 9! That would it seems take an incredible amount of time just to get to know who they are and I agree with the statement "How can you love someone you don't know" I mean real love not some romantic idea of love. Thanks for all the honesty Ginger and all who posted. We have done 3 seperate adoptions and with some it happened faster and easier. One was incredibly hard and who knows about the next ones but I am learning more and more what true love is. I have to say again, 9 wow, Praise God for you and His Spirit working in you!

Ginger said...

I don't believe in love at first sight. The only thing you can love "at first sight" is the way someone looks.

Julie Redman said...

I don't believe in love at first sight....but I do believe in love at first committment. We adopted an older child. God placed a love in my heart for a child that I had never seen, not heard, nor held. Because of that committment I made before laying eyes on my child, I would have gone to the ends of the earth for him. Love is something we do. All of you adoptive moms have loved first...maybe it is the liking thing that had to be worked on.
You did post some good information that adoption is hard, kids can be a challenge and that it takes time to like these children sometimes. I am not sure that I agree with not loving them right from the beginning though...At any rate, it is that unconditonal love that changes lives. I know the unconditional love of the saviour has changed mine!
*This was not meant to be argumentative, just a different perspective. Love reading your blog.

Nealy said...

All of you young women express wisdom beyond your years and I am in awe. You define the thoughts of your hearts beautifully and profoundly. God bless each and every one of you and your families! I'm Ginger's mom.