One of the most common words you’ll hear when researching or talking to people about adoption is “bonding.” Children bonding with their new families, parents bonding with their new children, siblings bonding with new brothers and sisters. This is much harder than you’d think. It’s easy to assume that you’ll swoop in, “save” these children from their horrible situations, and they’ll just instantly love you and you’ll instantly love them and everything is flowers and rainbows from adoption day forward. Nothing is further than the truth.
The reality that I’ve experienced is that our girls came to us having experienced trauma. They were scared. And we were part of the reason they were no longer with their biological mother. I experienced becoming an instant mother to 3 girls I didn’t know, didn’t carry in my womb, who didn’t instantly love me in return. All of those factors, plus some, affect bonding. But, I’ve realized something since giving birth to our son. I never got to hold Marisol.
Davis is almost constantly attached to me. Bella and Addie need me to carry them, change their diapers, give them baths, get them dressed. They are most certainly dependent on me. Marisol, however, came to me able to dress herself, bath herself, potty by herself. She came to me older and bigger than I can handle to lift up over my head, too big for me to carry her on my hip. Too big for me to swing around and too big for me to put in the moby wrap. I never got to hold her. And I’ll never get to hold her in the same way as I have all the others. Sure, I can put her on my lap and rock her in the rocking chair. I can give her hugs and cuddle with her. But I never got to hold her.
Having Davis has helped me realize that this has effected and is effecting me and Mari’s bonding. Now I realize that it’s extremely important for me to find creative ways to touch her, hold her, and be close to her. We missed out on that early in her life, but we are together now and can make up for it now. But that doesn’t mean I don’t grief that experience. I’m sad that I never will know what she looked like as a baby. I’ll never know what she or Bella sounded like when they cried. I will never know what it was like to watch those two learn and grow, find their voices, learn to crawl and then walk. I missed all of that. But at least I can grieve knowing that I have the rest of my life to get to know them, teach them, and watch them grow.