This post is the first in our Year of the Family 2014 series, a celebration of families.
It was really my husband who came up with the idea to grow our family through adoption. There were so many little people waiting for a forever family that it simply made sense. After exploring adoption within Ontario, Canada and internationally, we set our eyes on an international adoption. Having no children at the time, I worried about the connection to an adopted child. Would I feel a strong bond to her and would she feel connected to me, even if we were not biologically related?
I was amazed though how the connection grows. The signs of a growing bond, despite the distance, were there: in my journal writings to her (an as yet unborn baby); in our visits with the adoption social worker in which we articulated why and how we were going to care for this vulnerable little person; with every piece of paper that expanded our file; and with the building of her cozy bedroom. The day her picture arrived by fax to my workplace (in my absence), my colleagues were the first to see the tiny smile just forming on her little face. Their delight mirrored my own as that little smile drew me in. Funny, though, that there were also other subtle ways we were connected already. Her birthday was the same as that of my dear friend and her forever family day would be the same day as my brother’s birthday, all little signs that we latched onto as proof that this adoption was meant to be.
The day she was put into my arms, I was so ready to be her mom. While she was overwhelmed when she came to me and took several days to begin to play, she wouldn’t let me go. Within two hours of meeting her, clearly she thought I was hers and we would be forever connected.
If you are a parent, you may recognize those moments when you can see the biological connection between you and your child. Maybe it is the personality, the temperament, the chattiness, or the sense of humour. Sometimes biology is something to be extremely proud of and sometimes it makes you want to hide under the table. While some of what we see in our children is learned from us, there is a lot of biology at play too and for an adoptive parent, that can be a two-edged sword. I would love to say that my organized child gets it all from me; or that my sensitive, caring child is sharing some of my genes but at the same time there is a certain liberating feeling in knowing that this little gift of a person is still developing unrestricted by the expectations of biology. Our girls are very different from each other, unique little characters, and there is joy in waiting to see what their biology shapes with some help from us. It does not matter that our biology is different. The connection simply could not be any stronger than it already is.
What has been the single most important factor that makes you feel connected to your child? There are a number of ways you can reach us:
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- Call the HaltonParents line for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.
About this guest blogger:
Bonnie Hewitt, RN is a supervisor with the Early Years Health Program. Although she has 27 years of experience working with families of young children, she turns to colleagues for parenting advice. She has 2 lovely girls who are tweens.