My daughter asked me a question the other day, and it has gotten me thinking. Considering the changes that will take place, and how we, as a family, will deal with them.
She said she loves me, and then she asked if I thought the child we adopt would say that.
I don’t think for a second that a child we adopt will come into this family and immediately tell everyone how much she loves them. Actually, she may never feel that, and if she doesn’t mean it I don’t want her to say it.
I have a thing about honesty.
We have a very close, affectionate family, though. We say “I love you” all the time to each other; Each and every one of us. Even my fifteen and sixteen year olds still tell me they love me and give me hugs. I feel very fortunate that my children still behave this way towards us, but I never considered how it will make the adopted child feel.
If she can’t, or won’t, express these same feelings, and engage in these same behaviors, will our continuing to express and show our love for each other be a problem? Will it make her feel like less of a family member; like an outsider? Will it make her uncomfortable? Will it encourage her, or will it push her away?
After that discussion with my daughter, I’m left wondering now if we should be spending time emphasizing with our children that different people experience and display emotions in different ways. I’m sure they know this already, but maybe a reminder here and there won’t hurt. Maybe we should be considering ways we can incorporate her into the family, and offer ways of expressing our feelings in less obvious, so that they are not so “in your face”.
I asked Tom a similar question a while back. I don’t remember the exact conversation, but I remember him saying that he just figured that by the time this child becomes a permanent part of our family we will have known her long enough, and had enough interactions with her, that these things won’t be an issue anymore. That we will have established some sort of bond, and grown to really love this child, and we will have worked out the kinks in the relationships, so that by that time it won’t matter.
That’s possible. Maybe I worry too much, but it surprised me that my daughter, my youngest even, thought to consider, and even to ask, the same question. Initially I had just set it aside, as Tom had said I should, but her asking me brought the question back to the surface again.
I tend to over think things a lot. I should probably just not worry about this one, go with the flow, and let things work themselves out.