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ChildDrenched: Will Loving An Adopted Child Be More Difficult?

Adoptive parents may be worried about how to love and care for an adopted child before the child joins their family.

While I waited in anticipation of my adopted daughter, I worried about what it would feel like to care for, raise and love a child that I didn’t carry and give birth to. 

Having two children the traditional way, I never questioned how I would love my child when I was pregnant. I watched my mother do so with ease.

And beyond the normal apprehension about doing a good job, surviving sleepless nights and dreading dirty diapers, it wasn’t an issue for me.

The decision to adopt our third child brought up many concerns, especially because I thought that child would be different from the two I already had. 

Would I treat my adopted child differently without even realizing it?

Would I wonder what the birthmother would want at every decision I make about that child’s health and welfare? 

Would I feel as much responsibility for my adopted child as the two I gave birth to? 

Would I love that child as much as my natural children?

As I waited over a few months, I observed children playing in parks or shopping with their parents and wondered what it would be like to love someone else’s child. 

I wasn’t convinced it would be easy, and I was worried. 

Would I always feel like I was raising someone else’s child? 

Would I be capable of caring for a child that a stranger would trust me to care for?

I also remember feeling apprehensive about suddenly becoming someone’s parent without the swelling belly over nine months. 

One morning we would wake up as a couple (with two kids) and that night we would go to sleep as parents of a newborn infant. 

Could I turn my feelings on for a child as abruptly as she would come into our lives?

It was always my nature to worry excessively about little things, but this was huge. 

I spent sleepless nights worrying about how much this baby would affect the lives of my two sons, as well as my husband and me.

Well, I couldn’t have been more confused, wrong and foolish about all of my concerns. 

I watched my adopted daughter being born and I immediately felt the same joy and excitement as if I had given birth myself. 

I held her in the first moments of her life and, without a second thought, she instantly became a part of me and our family. 

I made health and safety decisions naturally that very first day, and even though her birthmother was in the same hospital, I didn’t hesitate to make the same careful choices I had made for my two sons. 

This baby wasn’t one of those children I had seen at the park or shopping mall with their parents; she was unquestionably my child in every way.

I have loved my adopted child for ten glorious years now, and she has never been treated differently than my sons.  I give her just as much admiration, approval, and scolding when deserved.

She feels every bit our child as much as I could have hoped.

She knows she’s adopted yet there isn’t an issue or uncomfortable moment for any of us. 

She loves her parents, her brothers and everything about her childhood so far. She isn’t wondering what life might have looked like for her if we hadn’t come along. 

My efforts to make sure she has all the support she needs feels intrinsically natural, not forced or complicated.

The most gratifying thing is that she loves me like I loved my mother. 

This past Mother’s Day, she made me a hand-painted book with a dozen pages of moments we’ve had together and what she loves the most about me. 

On the page titled “My mom is special because…” she wrote: 

“You love me and I love you back even when I get mad at you or when you get mad at me.  I always still love you.” 

I cherish the fact that our love is as natural as any other mother-daughter love.  I have <read more>

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Saltwater May 19, 2012 at 02:10 PM
If this is really a concern then maybe adoption isn't for you.
Patty Lazarus May 19, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Its important for any responsible adult considering adoption to have many, many concerns before taking on such a big, life-long responsibility. I give credit to the people that consider all the issues before adoption. Its for them that I write all of these blog posts. Hopefully you will read all of them before rejecting adoption as my experience with adoption has been rewarding and full of joy.
Annoyed reader May 19, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Geez, if you don't want to adopt a child, then don't!
Patty Lazarus May 19, 2012 at 08:11 PM
If you are annoyed, you should not read personal accounts. Clearly, you have not read mine.
Annoyed reader May 19, 2012 at 08:53 PM
I did read it. The child was lucky to be a "good one" not fulfilling your worst fears. Would you have given her back if she hadn't turned out well?
Scott May 19, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Any mature adult should consider all aspects of parenthood before bring a new life into their world. I respect the questions you asked yourself before adopting, while some may seem trivial to others, they show the care and concern you have for your family. I posed similar questions to myself before expanding my family, to not do so could pose a disservice to your family. It's not like choosing a cereal!

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