This week I attended a conference for lactation counselors/nurses/educators. It’s part of my job. It was a really good conference and there was a strong focus on neuroscience and the affects on mom/baby being together vs. separated at birth. Broken down to the chemical and cellular level, there are lasting changes that occur in development depending on which path a newborn takes, whether it is zero separation from mother, or not. As an adoptive mom of a kiddo who was placed for adoption in the delivery room, this was a hard conference to sit through. I understand the physiology of it, and because of my first 3 kids being breastfed, biological children, I concur. Still. I choked back lots and lots of tears as I came to realize how much my little girl suffered when that strong tie was severed from her birth mom. The issues we deal with daily now, are a direct-a DIRECT-result of that interruption in what should have been a natural process. There’s not much to be done about it, really. Babies are placed for adoption all the time and go to loving homes that allow them to reach the destiny that God Himself ordained….but I understand it better now.
Because of what she missed, I must…..I MUST….be more compassionate and intentional about the hard things. I must connect with her, more than threaten and correct her. I must. I can recover a lot of what she lost on that fateful day when her birth mom separated from her….but it will take her whole life to do it. The first hours after birth are critical in development. I want to pray for birth moms, to be instinctively generous to their wee ones, and give them that first hour at the mama’s chest, whether they suckle or just snuggle….for one hour….before the separation of adoption starts. It will take prayer to make that happen because that hour will be agonizing suffering for a mom who knows she won’t parent this baby. But for the baby……it can make a huge impact. I want to pray for educated adoption agencies who can teach about bonding and attachment and help that transition go smoothly for the baby even more than for the adoptive family or the birth mom.
This is hard stuff and not everyone needs to agree with me. I’m living it. I feel pretty sure of my position here. My other adopted kiddo was with birth mom for awhile. He is more regulated than my child who was separated sooner. The repair work is possible and will happen for my kids, but it will take the total of my days to connect moment after moment, and to be more gentle than I know how to be with guidance and discipline. I just know it will.
I can’t do it in my own power. I get angry when I hear “I hate you” from my child and when I don’t get the sleep and rest and restoration I need. I get frustrated that the bills can’t get paid and the dishes don’t get done and some days it feels like things will never get better. But some days they do get better. God is in this, people. He is. He is rescuing all the time. He is rescuing me every day, using my children as the safety floats when he sees me drowning. He is rescuing me, not them. He always had them, right in the palm of his hand….but through them I am humbled and I am yearning for His wisdom and knowledge and love all the time. Slowly, I am learning to know Him more through this journey.
God set up our bodies. He set up our physiology. He knew exactly what would happen in adoption scenarios where a baby is ripped from its mother at birth. He is Healer. He is also creator and someday, this child of mine will become a mother herself….and she gets to fix something broken on that day she delivers her own child and experiences zero separation. I can’t wait for that day. When she makes me a grandma…..and heals more than I can ever know.