“Do You Love Them Both the Same?”

Can I ask you something?” said the woman at the doctor’s office.
“Do you love them both the same?”

Before I adopted, I had two friends confide in me that they had considered adoption, but after giving birth to a child they secretly feared they wouldn’t be able to love an adopted child as much. I. on the other hand, had always wanted to adopt a child who needed us. Also, my mother had had difficult pregnancies, and missing that stage didn’t sound like such a bad deal to me. My husband had more of a drive than I did to have a biological child.

“I totally understand that,” said a friend who had biological children. “You want to see who in the family the child looks like, acts like. It’s just fun to be able to trace that.”

I had to admit part of me wanted the experience of carrying and birthing a child too. I had to have 18 months of medical treatment for another condition before we could consider either pregnancy or adoption. During that time my major motivation was to become healthy enough, ideally to carry a child, but at least to parent a child. Once that was over we were so eager to become parents we pretty much started both processes at the same time. I didn’t much care which happened first.

We had researched agencies, filled out applications, completed a survey on which special needs we thought we could accept, and spoken with a social worker on the phone about at least one special needs toddler when we learned I was pregnant. There were several complications during the pregnancy. But I remember thinking at one point, that even if I lost the baby, I would still have been glad to have had him/her with me for that little while.

In contrast to the complications in pregnancy, delivery and recovery, I loved nursing. (After the first six weeks, in which there were some unusual complications in that area also.) I did feel so physically bonded to the baby. I felt the hormones helped me stay relaxed and kept me from getting frustrated (he was a kid who wanted to be held all the time and didn’t sleep through the night for a year). One of my friends commented, as we prepared for our adopted daughter, that that would be very different for me since nursing had been such a large part of my relationship with my son. A couple of months after my daughter’s arrival, a mother who had had a son by both birth and adoption declared, “They come from different tummies and that’s it”. I admitted to her that I did miss nursing. She hadn’t nursed her birth child either.

I did share with both children many special looks into their eyes, many hours rocking and walking, trying to make them smile, observing how they learned about the world and their own unique personalities.

My take on it now is, that there was a primal bond with my son which was unique. But it is not better than the bond with my daughters. Bonds are built and strengthened in many ways. There may be less of a body bond, but the bonds of heart and mind and soul are just as strong.

I think of it as loving people in different ways. My husband and I got to know each other and bonded through dancing and studying and working at church together. Other couples bonded through different activities. Each relationship is different—not better or worse, just different.

“Do you love them both the same?” the woman asked.
“Yes,” I smiled.

See these related blogs:

Loving an Adopted Child

Is The Adoption Wait Like a Pregnancy?

Acceptance of Adopted Children by Extended Family

Not the Acceptance that Was Expected

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About Pam Connell

Pam Connell is a mother of three by both birth and adoption. She has worked in education, child care, social services, ministry and journalism. She resides near Seattle with her husband Charles and their three children. Pam is currently primarily a Stay-at-Home-Mom to Patrick, age 8, who was born to her; Meg, age 6, and Regina, age 3, who are biological half-sisters adopted from Korea. She also teaches preschoolers twice a week and does some writing. Her activities include volunteer work at school, church, Cub Scouts and a local Birth to Three Early Intervention Program. Her hobbies include reading, writing, travel, camping, walking in the woods, swimming and scrapbooking. Pam is a graduate of Seattle University and Gonzaga University. Her fields of study included journalism, religious education/pastoral ministry, political science and management. She served as a writer and editor of the college weekly newspaper and has been Program Coordinator of a Family Resource Center and Family Literacy Program, Volunteer Coordinator at a church, Religion Teacher, Preschool Teacher, Youth Ministry Coordinator, Camp Counselor and Nanny. Pam is an avid reader and continuing student in the areas of education, child development, adoption and public policy. She is eager to share her experiences as a mother by birth and by international adoption, as a mother of three kids of different learning styles and personalities, as a mother of kids of different races, and most of all as a mom of three wonderful kids!

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