Perhaps you don’t want to admit it, but you’ve wondered whether or not you’ll love your adopted child as much as you would a biological one. Maybe you already have biological children and are looking to welcome another child into your family. Or you could be ready to start a family but are unable to get pregnant.
Whatever the case may be, you’re struggling with whether or not the love you’ll feel for your adopted child will be as strong or as genuine as the love you may have (or already have) for your biological children. While this may seem like a question you want to keep to yourself, asking it is necessary and totally natural. This guide will help you see that you will love your child as your own and be able to form a genuine connection with them.
There are a wide number of responses you may have to infertility issues in your family. This article is meant to help you pinpoint the exact emotions you may be feeling so you can deal with them in a healthy and productive way. Whether you have just discovered that you may be affected by issues of infertility, or are well into undergoing treatment for infertility, there are many ways of breaking down and dealing with the intense feelings that can go along with this situation that will keep you from unfairly taking it out on yourself or others.
Loving Your Child: How They Come Won’t Matter
You’ve always learned that there is an instant and close bond between parents and their biological children, especially with mothers because of the pregnancy process due to the high level of intimacy that comes with a pregnancy, feelings of love, close bonds, and deep emotional ties are made rather quickly.
However, even in some biological families, these ties don’t always immediately come. Sometimes mothers and fathers have a difficult time bonding with their baby, and in cases where women experience post-partum depression and other postnatal health issues, bonding with a new baby can be difficult. This is all to say that an instantaneous level of love and devotion do not always happen. In many families, mothers and fathers grow to love their children, and the deep bonds set in a little later. Adoption can sometimes be the same way. The love may not be instantaneous for some families, while for others, an immediate connection is made and held.
Carrying a child in the womb or sharing biological data with them is not always the foundation of a close, loving relationship. In fact, the love that is shared between a parent and child comes from the mutual care, respect, and nurturing the parent bestows upon the child. With this in mind, it makes complete sense that the love you feel (or think you would feel) for your biological children, can be the same for your adopted child.
Why The Love Isn’t Different
If you are adopting a child and are worrying if you love them enough or the same, you must look at the makeup of a family. No matter the type of adoption you choose, – open, closed, or the like – if you are the one giving primary care to the child, it does not matter that they did not biologically come from you.
You will be the one they turn to when they are sick or hurt. You will be the one they call when they’ve had a bad day or experienced an intense joy. They will refer to you as their parent, and you will refer to them as your child. The same ties and relationships parents create and hold with their biological children can and will be created with your adopted child who, in actuality, is simply your child.
What to Do if You Don’t Feel the Same Love
If you have recently adopted a child and have your own biological children as well, you may worry if you don’t feel the same love for the new child as you do for your biological children. Though it is good to reflect on why this may be, chances are that, like with any new member of the family, things will take some getting used to. You must work every day to create a bond with your child and help them feel both loved and at home with your family. To cultivate such a bond, try doing the following:
- Spending Solo Time Together: If you have adopted an older child and you feel a different bond with him/her that makes you uncomfortable, there are ways you can change this. One way is to simply spend oneonone time with them and getting to know and understand them as a person. Go on “dates” together to eat, to museums, the movies, the zoo, etc. Speak with them; learn their favorite color, movie, cartoon, and toy. Ask them about themselves and divulge information about yourself as well. Be sure to show them that they are loved during this time. Hold their hand, hug them, kiss them, and verbally remind them that they were chosen and are loved. Once your child begins opening up to you, a special bond will begin to take root in both of your hearts.
- Create Opportunities for Family Time: Integrate your entire family by doing things together with all the kids and your spouse or partner. Family dinners and outings are great ways to integrate everyone together, as well as family talks, question and answer sessions, and more. Encourage everyone to be open about their feelings by sharing and exploring together. Your new family member will soon see that they can share themselves with their new parents and siblings.
- Counseling: Maybe it’s been a while and you feel as if you and your adopted child just aren’t meshing. Counseling is a great way to see if there is some underlying problem that’s keeping you from totally bonding with your child. If you think it would be helpful, go to counseling as a family or just the two of you.
Adoption is a big step that takes a lot of compassion, care, and love. If you worry that you won’t love your adopted child as much as a biological one, remember that they are your child as well. The mechanics of their birth do not dictate who you are as a parent, and who you are as their parent. Remember this to help break down walls of tension or fear that come with raising a child you feel is not your “own.” The truth is that they are your child, and you are their parent, no matter what.