During our adoption preparation, we had the chance to hear the experience of some veteran adopters. They told us all about their life after adoption, they described a picture-perfect family life and smiled with pride telling us about their children.

One of the adopter speakers had to be silenced, rather clumsily too, as a not-so-glorious detail of adoption managed to escape the calculated control of the social workers running the training: sometimes you don’t love your adopted child straight away, sometimes love takes time.

I remember taking a mental note of it, although as it turned out I didn’t need it. I started loving Ben much before I even met him. I loved the idea of Ben first, his pictures later, and the pudgy baby boy and his blue eyes as soon as I met him. Even then, the first couple of months had been challenging. Some people have a much more bumpy start of placement, and some even go through a period of post-adoption depression. So, why wasn’t I told about it during my adoption preparation?

The adoption process is a long and stressful period, it’s demanding and intense. It pushes us to deal with many feelings, including past losses, grief, anger, and the great expectation of finally becoming parents. By the time we get to placement, we are a jumbled mix of joy and fear, topped with uncertainty and inexperience. We go through years of training, adoption and matching panel, we feel emotionally and physically proved by the introduction period, and just when we are ready to take a break to catch our breath, we get to bring our child home.

Then reality kicks in. Your child won’t sleep, cries all night to go back to his foster or birth family, tantrums, meltdowns, setbacks, and rejection. And that’s normal, you would behave the same if you were all of the sudden throw into a new home, new family, new routine and everything you knew once just vanished into thin air.

More surprising is how I, the prototype of new enthusiastic parents, felt after placement. I struggled with loneliness, feeling isolated, unequipped, and generally unprepared. All the confidence that accompanied me during the adoption training faded out, and i was overwhelmed by emotions. All kind of questions filled up my head: did I make the right choice? will this horrible period pass? does he love me? do I really love him? or I love the idea of him?

It’s hard to adjust to a new life, and it’s natural to feel lost and sad at times. I learnt to be honest with myself, and with my husband Diego. I learnt not to be ashamed of my feelings, and to talk about it. I learnt that love comes to fill your life and your heart slowly and gradually.

I learned that, at the end of a lengthy and stressful process, I needed to be reminded of the reasons why I decided to adopt in the first place, recognise once more the value in this choice, and–most of all–stop second guessing myself.

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  1. Lucy At Home 15th November 2016 Reply
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