I am so fortunate to know other Blended families who have walked the same path as my family and have the capacity to talk openly about their personal experiences. Today I introduce you to my friend Amy, who is both a mother of a Blended family and a social worker. I have asked her to share her continuing experience in developing a healthy attachment to her children. Read on for her first guest installment on Blended.
One of our fears in adopting a child was attachment. How would this child bond with us? How would the child’s genetic make-up and potential in-utero exposures impact the attachment process? I recall one friend telling me that whether your children are born into your family or adopted, you love them just the same. I believed her, but wondered what this process would look like.
We were eventually matched with our daughter’s birthmom. During the pregnancy, we felt fortunate to begin to bond with her. Yet we still wondered if and how we would bond with the child. I was honored to be in the room when our daughter was born. My husband recalls the very first moment he saw our daughter and loving her with every fiber of his body. We cherished holding her, feeding her, and singing to her starting in the hospital.
While our bonding began immediately, I remember driving home that first night after our daughter was born thinking that she felt more like the birth mother’s child than mine. Over the next few months as we settled into a routine as a family, my husband and I would often look at each other and say in awe, “Is she really ours?!”
My attachment to our daughter formed quickly but my husband acknowledges that it took him almost 9 months before she really felt like our daughter. As he says he had to go through a “gestational period”. It wasn’t that my husband didn’t love our daughter. He was head over heels in love with her! But he recognizes that the bonding process took him time. And then one day we just stopped asking if she was really ours.
When our daughter was 6 months old, we found out I was pregnant (after years of infertility and failed IVF attempts). It was a high risk pregnancy with many doctor visits and numerous ultrasounds. What a different bonding process with my son. I have CDs full of ultrasound pictures starting at 4 weeks gestation. We never asked the question, “Is he really ours?”
Did I love my children differently? NO. Did the bonding process look different? Yes.
After my son was born, now with two little ones in the home, our lives became a whirlwind of diapers, feedings, and trying to get some sleep! Our children quickly developed a deep bond and are best friends at ages 5 and 6. God has gifted us with two miraculous children but the questions of attachment and bonding have not disappeared.
More to come from Amy very soon!