54: Just Like Any Other

54: Just Like Any Other

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms

Just Like Any Other

It has been said that adoption is more like a marriage than a birth: two (or more) individuals, each with their own unique mix of needs, patterns, and genetic history, coming together with love, hope, and commitment for a joint future.
You become a family not because you share the same genes, but because you share love for each other.

~Joan McNamara

Bringing my daughter home on that cold November day was like many other new parents bringing their baby home. I sat in the back seat with her as she slept while my husband drove. My mind was racing, as was my heart. I looked at her and wondered how we could ever live up to such a tremendous responsibility. She seemed so fragile and innocent. I felt paralyzed by the fear that this was too great of an undertaking. The past nine months of anticipation for this very moment, where I had been consumed with nothing but how to get to this exact place, and now I was panic-stricken.

The difference in my story of bringing my daughter home was that she was eight years old on her first day with us. What seemed to be the end of a long road was really the beginning. We were finally at the end of a long home study process, her at the end of a nearly five-year foster care stay. In reality, it was the beginning of a long journey to building our lives together as a family.

I slept very little the first month she was home. I spent the first year with her hardly ever out of my sight. We did everything that we were told to do to facilitate bonding and attachment. At first, the all-consuming schedule was more than I could take. I had to choose what she wore, what she ate, who she talked to... every move she made was supervised by me. It was surreal to have a new person just appear in our lives and our family. Again, it was very similar to having a newborn in the house.

I’m not quite sure when it happened. We went from almost strangers, to family, to a very close mother/daughter team. Our family didn’t begin in a very typical fashion, but we are a family just like any other. We’ve overcome obstacles and rejoiced together. My story of being a new mom, my fears, and my delights are like most others. So is my love for my daughter. I look back now, and the memory of all of the hard times, waiting for her to come home, and the fears I had those first few months are all just a blur.

~Dena May

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