This post has been on mind a lot since I wrote it months ago. Worry that I would be judged and found lacking in some proper measure of maternal warmth kept me from publishing it sooner. PC discussions of adoption often involve trite platitudes about how it is the same, a mother's love is the same, regardless of how a child comes into our lives. The intensity of the love I have for each of my children is the same. The bonds, now that they have formed, are as strong. But, the process of attaching to a toddler as that child attached to me took my breath away with its difficulties and its setbacks and its sheer stubborn slowness.
I often felt ashamed of my emotions in the first year with my daughter (her second year). I felt compassion, tenderness and love. I felt sad and angry and hurt for her and all she had been through in her first year of life. I also felt tired of her. Tired of her tantrums and her anger and her indiscriminate affection. I felt angry too. Angry at her inability to ever accept what was offered as enough. I could never hold her enough, never play a game long enough, never push the swing long enough. It seemed for the longest time that I was not enough. Looking back on it now from a place of love and trust, I know that I did my very best and I did really well. We did really well. But, at the time I felt inadequate in my inability to love her instantly and without reservations, they way I did my newborn sons.
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Stacey is one of the contributing editors for International Adoption. She writes daily at Is There Any Mommy Out There? where she discusses life with her adoptive, multiracial family.