Do I Love My Child As Much As You Love Yours?

February 12th, 2013 posted by Susan Ward

She disappeared into her room after dinner. Thirty minutes later, she shyly handed me a large envelope. It was filled with a love note to me, her mom, and nearly 30 individually cut, multi-colored hearts. I hugged her as tears trickled out of the corners of my eyes. One night last week, she crawled into bed with me because she was having a bad dream. She curled up next to me, put her head on my shoulder, told me that she loved me, smiled, and went to sleep. I nearly cried with contentment. When I completed a long-term project that, at times, impinged on our family time, she congratulated me and gave me a “high five!” My eight-year-old daughter, Hannah, and I are crazy about each other! We roller blade, laugh, read books, play Scrabble, go on trips, visit museums, and fix meals together. Some days we look at each other in amazement that she’s my daughter and I’m her mom! Occasionally, the question is asked directly, or sometimes it’s unasked, but hinted at. Do I love my daughter as much as if she were really mine? You see, my daughter was adopted. My answer is, “First off, she really is mine, and yes, I love her at least as much as you love your child, maybe even a tad more!” In addition to our love for each other, we have a sense of awe that we found each other. She’s a survivor; a true miracle child. To think that she is so articulate, athletic, intuitive, bright, and funny, in spite of the difficult first six years of her life. She lived her first three years with what I politely call a “dysfunctional” birth family. Then she spent three years in a Russian orphanage that did not have many resources — maybe enough food, but very little extra in the way of learning experiences, educational activities, attention, or hugs. Just like biological parents, I spent significant time praying, reading, and researching the prospect of becoming a parent. Just like a biological parent, I hoped and prayed my child would be healthy. Just like a biological parent, I was both excited and very nervous at that first moment I realized I had become a parent. Now that my daughter is in my life, I agonize over where we should live, the direction of my career, how to instill solid values in Hannah, and how to afford her college education. I’m no different from other parents. All parents, whether biological or adoptive, face wonderful adventures and challenging issues. If our child is a gifted athlete, we find the right after-school programs for her. If our child is exceptional at math, we find advanced classes for her to attend. If our child loves to act, we seek out summer drama camps. On the other hand, if we have a child who is prone to accidents, we memorize our child’s tetanus shot dates and learn to overcome our queasiness at the sight of blood. If she has a hearing loss, we become knowledgable about the special aids required. If she is ADHD, we learn about the pros and cons of medication, and all the related learning and behavioral issues. I’ve been blessed with a smart, coordinated, funny, and interesting daughter. At the same time, as the parent of an eastern European, post-institutionalized child, I’ve had to stretch and grow. I learned to speak basic Russian “childspeak.” I’ve had to articulate how a family interacts to a child who didn’t know. I’ve had to understand the emotional challenges and grief that face a child who was adopted. I now understand control and defiance issues relating to poor caregiving in the first few years of life. While some of my challenges and learning experiences have been different from biological parents, the emotions and intensity with which I’ve attacked these is the same. I’ve read, connected to other adoptive parents over the Internet, and joined support groups. Just like biological parents, I’ve searched to find quality information in order to raise my child to the best of my ability. If you still wonder if I love my daughter as much as you love yours, listen in on our prayers at night when we thank God for helping us to find each other. Or take note when Hannah says, “Mama, I love you more than you love me,” and how I argue that can’t be true. Or watch us when we walk through the parking lot at the grocery store: Hannah reaches up and puts her arm around my waist, I put my arm around her shoulders, and we both smile. These will give you a chance to see and hear that I love my daughter at least as much as you love yours!

Recommended Reading

: A Mother for Choco is a perfect adoption tale! The story of Choco, a little yellow bird with big round cheeks, searching for his mother is delightful. Choco asks one animal after another if they are his mother. In despair, he fears he will never find a mother who looks just like him. What Choco finds in his search is that a mom means someone who loves unconditionally. This is a heart-warming tale, encouraging acceptance of differences, and the importance and healing power of love. A great choice for any young adopted child. (courtesy: Amazon)

Susan Ward (1 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe
Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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