Here's What You Need to Know When Your Adoption Isn't Love at First Sight

[social_warfare] You’ve thought about this for along time. You imagined what it would feel like to greet your child, to see her smile for the very first time and to embrace her. You wondered what her hair would smell like and you tried to picture how she’d look in those teeny tiny outfits that have sat, untouched and collecting dust. You day-dreamt about what it would feel like to parade her around to your family and friends announcing her as your daughter. You envisioned taking those first family photos with her. You even tried to predict how your partner would be, taking on their new role as parent to this child. You’ve lost countless hours of sleep (too many to admit) imagining how those first few days and even hours with your new addition would play out. Truly, the thought of all of that makes you feel kind of crazy… because now it’s here. It’s all happened and, in all honesty, it’s not quite what you expected. All those hours of daydreaming and all those sleepless nights of longing and waiting for the phone to ring… they seem so silly to you now. … Because everything you thought you’d feel and everything you thought would happen, just didn’t happen in the way you expected they would. The ideas you conjured up in your head, the feelings you thought you’d feel, the love you expected to immediately fill areas of your heart you never knew existed as you laid eyes for the first time on your new child… none of it is there. You’re not really sure how or what you feel about this new being that has somehow landed in your arms. The only thing you do know is that you feel as if you’ve failed your very first test as a new parent to your child. How could you, as a parent, not instantly fall in love with your new child?

Is that you?

Are you feeling lost and confused because your adoption experience wasn’t love at first sight? If yes, if any of the above resonates with you even slightly, read this closely and carefully. And then, when you’re done, read it again: Whatever it is you’re feeling right now… it’s okay. Truly, it’s okay. Trust me, you can breathe a huge sigh of relief, or several. You’re not a bad person. You’re not even a bad parent. You’re human and you’ve just experienced an incredible change in your life. Feelings of confusion, fear, and even sadness are normal even if you didn’t expect them to hit you quite like they have. [clickToTweet tweet=”You’re not a bad person. You’re not even a bad parent. #adoption #loveatfirstsight” quote=”You’re not a bad person. You’re not even a bad parent”]

Contrary to popular belief, adoption isn’t a lifetime movie

The rush of emotions, the sentiments, everything that comes with adoption and welcoming a new child into your life… it all can be quite overwhelming, especially if it’s not what you expected. Much like anything else in life, there are highs and lows throughout the adoption process. The unexpected turns can be hard to take, so it’s easy to get some bumps and bruises along the journey. What you’re experiencing right now… that’s normal. While you may wish for your adoption journey to unfold just like the happy ending of a lifetime movie, the reality is that there are much deeper emotions at play. You’re human. You’re imperfect by nature. Understand that reality and find comfort in knowing that you are not alone. [clickToTweet tweet=” what you need to know when adoption isn’t love at first sight… ” quote=”Adoption isn’t a lifetime movie… it’s honestly so much better”]

These feelings aren’t exclusive to adoption

Plenty of parents don’t feel love at first sight for their biological child. It can take a few hours, a few weeks, or even longer to feel when your adoption isn't love at first sight - adoption starthat instinct to love, nurture, and protect your child. Yes, the topic is taboo; you won’t often hear new parents talking about this feeling and struggle. But just because people don’t often talk about it, doesn’t mean they don’t experience it. Welcoming a new child into your little family is a transition, no matter how your family grew (whether through adoption, or otherwise). It’s only natural to feel growing pains, to grieve over the loss of what was and to make way for what will be. This is all new to you. You’ve just met your child. Give yourself time to transition, to get to know one another, and to grow as a family together.

Don’t get wrapped in feelings of guilt

It can be easy to get lost in a vortex of scary, hard-to-feel emotions when your experience with your child isn’t love at first sight. You’ve been looking forward to this for what feels like forever. So feelings of guilt and sadness can easily overcome you. Guilt should be the last thing you feel right now. There’s no reason for it; avoid it. Everyone’s experience is different, and just because society tells you that you should feel a certain way after your adoption does not mean that whatever you’re feeling right now is wrong or unnatural. You’re just a parent who didn’t know what to expect. What you thought would be, isn’t what is. There’s nothing wrong with that. All you need to do right now is adjust your expectations – and let me be the first to tell you that this won’t be the first time you need to adjust your expectations as a parent. Settle in for the ride!

You have a whole lifetime to bond

Whether you adopted an infant or an older child, you have the rest of your life to bond. Bonding doesn’t have to happen at first glance and you shouldn’t feel guilty if it doesn’t. You’ll laugh together and cry together. You’ll experience life’s highs and lows side by side. You’ll be your child’s person. Those experiences and that time with one another will build the sort of bond you never could have imagined… because that’s what being a parent is… wholly unimaginable in the best way possible.

Remember this

You’re not alone. Everyone’s experience is different, and just because you thought you’d feel a certain way after your adoption does not mean that whatever you’re feeling right now is wrong or unnatural. Yes, other parents may be lucky enough to experience the glow and dream-like wave of love at first sight. But just because that didn’t happen to you, doesn’t mean you’re in the wrong or you’re a bad parent. Be the best parent you know how to be to your child. Don’t measure yourself against other parents. Be you. Be in the moment. Take the time to meet your child and find happiness in where you are right now, because where you are right now is exactly where you’re supposed to be. And, if you’re feeling like you need a village to lean on, reach out to your support network at your adoption agency. We’re always here for you. [clickToTweet tweet=”Remember, adoption isn’t always love at first sight… and that’s okay. #adoption #adoptiveparent” quote=”Remember, adoption isn’t always love at first sight… and that’s okay.”] [ess_grid settings='{“max-entries”:”3″,”entry-skin”:”1″,”layout-sizing”:”boxed”,”grid-layout”:”even”,”spacings”:”0″,”rows-unlimited”:”off”,”columns”:”5″,”rows”:”3″,”grid-animation”:”fade”,”use-spinner”:”0″}’ special=’popular’][/ess_grid]]]>