Love, like so many things in adoption, is more complicated. When did you love your child? When you first found out you were expecting? When you first saw them? When you held them? For us, loving this child will be the best part of the whole process. The best part of adoption can also be the worst part.
Let’s assume that we get a call about a baby at the hospital. Is this the point I love the baby as my own? When I see them at the hospital? What if I see them as a stranger? I know I will love the child as my own, I just don’t know when.
I have a suspicion of when it will be, based off stories from other adoptive parents. For most of them, it was right away, which will probably be us. Here in lies the problem. What happens when I open up my heart to this child and things don’t go the way we want and we lose that child? Did we just lose our child? Were we lying to ourselves?
There always exists the chance of reversing the adoption. There were some heart wrenching stories of children that were loved for many months only to be taken away and given to the biological parents. We heard many a story where they were constantly assured by birth mom that she wouldn’t change their mind, only to see every member of birth mom’s family at the hospital giving them the stink eye, then finding out that birth mom has changed her mind, and asking you to please leave (well, please if you’re lucky). These stories are devastating to hear.
In the end, there are two truths that helped them move on. First, no matter how small a time you’ve had a child, and loved them, that can never be taken away from that child. They are changed forever because of that time they spent with you. Second, this hardship will lead you on the path to the child you were intended to parent.
So, if we open our hearts, and lose a child, will it be hard to open up again? Yes, but am I really going to end up in a place where I tell my child latter in life “I’ve loved you ever since finalization”? I don’t think so.