As Valentines is right around the corner…it got me thinking about LOVE.
I love my kids to the core. Every single one of them. But it took me different amounts of time before I fell in love with them. There’s still one I’m courting.
Let’s start with my biological kids. I was told before I had my first child that as soon as they set her in my arms…it would be love at first sight. I could not wait for that moment. I was in awe of it. Anticipating it. Just the thought of it was wonderful.
Then, after a moderately hard labor (at during one point I asked the dr if there REALLY was a baby in there!), they laid my precious daughter in my arms.
And I thought…
Man I’m tired.
Yep. It wasn’t love at first sight. It took about 24 hours. I was EXHAUSTED. The pain was huge and I wasn’t quite over it. I had lost a lot of blood. My first thought wasn’t how much I loved this child, but, oh man, I’m glad I’m done and she’s out.
In the next 24 hours or so, I fell completely head over heels in love.
My second biological child? I felt guilty cuz it took me about a week to “fall in love.” And during that week I thought, what’s wrong with me? Why don’t I feel this all consuming emotional love?
But I did love them. Immediately. I loved them before they were born. While they were still inside me. I just didn’t have that “head over heels” feeling right away.
And so it is, sometimes, with adoption.
I’ll be the first to advocate that I love all my kids with the same fervor. The first to stand up and scream that ALL my children are my REAL children (that word does bug me if I let it) and they are loved the same! I’d go to the ends of the earth for any one of them.
But I fell in love with them at different times.
When they finally handed me my 16 month old son for the first time, I was in awe. I was in wonder. I was excited. I was overwhelmed. I loved him. I knew he was my child. But…I didn’t feel in love.
When my newly adopted 3 year old screamed most of the way to her new home on one of the 8 hour flights, as other passengers were sure they could have parented her better…I didn’t feel it.
When she threw tantrums so loud that I removed her brother from the room as not to damage his ears, when I put in ear plugs myself so I could stay with her to help her through it…I didn’t feel it.
When my newly adopted 5 year old had 3 tantrums a day, while I held him, while he screamed, howled and kicked like a wild animal, and then when he was done and we were both exhausted and covered in sweat…I didn’t feel it.
When my newly adopted 8 year old lied over and over, looked at me with hate in her eyes and stomped away…I didn’t feel it.
But I KNEW it. I KNEW it deep in my heart. I knew it as soon as I saw their pictures. As soon as I knew that God had given them to me to be my children. I loved them with a fierce love, even if I didn’t always feel it.
I’m writing this in case you’re worried. Maybe you’re worried you won’t love an adopted child they way you do love, or would love, a biological child.
I fell in love with all of my kids at different times. My biological ones spanned different amounts of time. My adopted ones spanned different amounts of time.
It’s hard for me to admit that with one of my kids, I’m still in the courting stage. I love this child very much, but I don’t always feel like I’ve fallen in love. But I know I will.
Are you in the process of adopting and worried about loving your kids? You may be afraid to voice it. Because aren’t you supposed to feel like their parent, or fall in love with them the minute you lay eyes on them? Isn’t that they way it always happens? But what if it doesn’t happen to you?
This fear, while not from God, is normal. Just remember you will love them with a fierce love. Even if you don’t feel it. Even if you don’t fall in love right away. You will.
Know that it’s totally normal to worry, or to wonder. It feels like you shouldn’t, cuz most people don’t wonder about loving their biological kids. And you don’t want anyone to think that this child is any less your child than a biological child. Because he isn’t.
But God loved us even before He made us. Imagine!! And He has planned to entrust these children to you from the beginning of time. Falling in love may come hard. Or it may come easy. If you’re worried, give the worry to Him. Either way, He’s got you covered.