This week I’m sharing a beautifully honest post surrounding adoption (originally found here). I’m so grateful to Nicole for allowing me to republish it as part of this series.
Some people fall in love at first sight. Grizzly and I did not, which is probably for the best as we were 4 and that would have been weird. Our love was a friendly kind of thing that somewhere between teenage angst and the brink of adulthood became rather more permanent and somewhat less platonic.
When we brought Big Bear into the world I was lucky enough to fall in love with him straight away. I say lucky because growing and delivering another human whom you do not love perhaps for a good while afterwards must be a heart-breaking and desperate thing.
That is not to say that I found first time motherhood easy. Ravaged by a rather traumatic labour and a lot more naïve than we thought we were, the first year of his life was, to put it mildly, a little difficult. But I loved him. Even at the dead of night when I still hadn’t slept and he still wouldn’t settle, I would see his big eyes staring at me in the dark and think he was the most gorgeous creature I had ever seen. And the feeling of his chubby little cheek against mine…..bliss. It was an easy and natural love.
As I lay in my hospital bed fresh from labour (not actually fresh, no one is fresh after labour!), with Grizzly weeping beside me from the trauma of what he had just witnessed, not, I hasten to add, from the joy of getting a baby, we said “lets never do this again”. And we didn’t.
However, we very much loved having Big Bear and very much wanted a littler bear to love and press to our cheeks too. It was always going to be adoption when the time was right.
Fast-forward six years and the search was officially on. From the moment I saw Little Bear’s profile in an adoption newspaper (yes, it feels weird and a bit wrong, yes, it feels like you are shopping for a child in a catalogue) I began to have some feelings towards him. The overriding feeling at the early stage was excitement – which was distracting and all consuming. There was probably a 50% dip in my work productivity. Waiting for news was excruciating at each point and with each scrap of information we became more sure that Little Bear should be with us. When some social work bureaucracy threw this into jeopardy, I was devastated and flummoxed my colleagues having an out of character display of emotion at my computer.
It cemented our feelings though and my mother bear instincts kicked in. We would do whatever was necessary to get him to us. And we did.
Five long months ago, Little Bear whizzed into our lives with a flurry of switch-pressing, tap-turning, toy throwing and general over curiosity.
I think the first meeting could probably be said to have gone well, as these things go. He knew who we were; he greeted us with cuddles; he showed us his toys; he wanted us to stay. I would love to say that, on our part, it was love at first sight, but it wasn’t. Real life is much messier than that.
It was as though we had just had a nice visit with someone else’s child. A child who, we quickly learned, was very challenging in the behaviour stakes. Obviously there were reasons for his behaviour – we understood about attachment difficulties, about the need for boundaries, about under-stimulation. We started as we meant to go on. We did not accept behaviours that were unacceptable. We were firm, consistent, nurturing. We worked hard and to Little Bear’s credit, change has been quick and transformational. However, at times, it has been really bloody hard.
Getting bitten, scratched, hit, kicked and told to “shut up” by a 3 year old throughout the day and also for several hours of the night, challenges your every fibre. When you do not yet have your love for this child to cushion you and soften the blows and you cannot yet press him to your cheek because he doesn’t really know you and he is rejecting you for fear you will leave him too, you are challenged to the very core of your being.
There were days I feared I couldn’t do it. I didn’t love him. There were days I didn’t like him. There was the odd day I considered sending him back. I remember those days vividly – day 3 of introductions when Big Bear finally met his brother and it was beyond disastrous; a day in week 3 of placement when Grizzly took charge so I could be alone for a while and crawl back away from my mental edge; a day towards the end of month 3 when I was furious with myself for repeatedly losing my temper but didn’t seem to be able to stop doing it.
Throughout this, no matter how bad I felt, I would not allow myself to give up on him. On us. I still believed the Universe had meant him to be here with us and had to blindly believe that the love would come. And just like that, about one week after my third crisis, it did.
I have no idea what changed. Maybe it was time. Maybe it was my renewed efforts to be calm no matter what. Maybe it was because I became uber-strict on night time shenanigans and we all started getting more sleep. Je ne sais pas.
Whatever it was, I think he knew I had stopped faking it and he began to let me in. The rejections of me as the female caregiver began to drop away. His guard slipped so much it pretty much fell off. He stopped pushing us away at bedtime and actually reached for hugs. Not perfunctory, superficial embraces but genuine, I-want-to-be-close-to-you-squeezes. I got butterfly kisses and Eskimo kisses and lovely, blissful, cheek to cheek time. He started to say “I love you”. Well, not exactly, his delayed speech and language skills won’t allow him – more “I wuzh you”, which is rather cute, especially with the recent addition of “ a not” (a lot).
So there you have it. Love is complicated. It sneaks about, teasing you and really only arrives when it is good and ready. And now I have 3 lovely bears and many, many more stories to tell. And I wuzh all my bears. A not.
Please visit Adoption: The Bear Facts to read more wonderful posts or follow Nicole on Twitter here.
17 comments on “Love – Guest Post By Adoption: The Bear Facts”
What an emotional post, I can only imagine how tough this must have been but I’m so glad that your little bear began to reach out to you. What a journey! #marvmondays
Thank you. Yes, the first few months were definitely tough but thankfully they have got much much easier . Thanks for taking the time to read it x
Oh this is such a moving post – you are a truly wonderful person for giving Little Bear a home and a family to love him. It was so wonderful to read the last few lines where he has started to reach for you for hugs – just beautiful #BigPinkLink
justsayingmum recently posted…Social Media: Safety Versus Privacy
Yes, it’s certainly easier when you get proper hugs! Thank you for your lovely comment. We are nearly 11 months in now and Little Bear is really settled and it’s hard to remember when he wasn’t part of the family x
Blogfox14 recently posted…Achievement
What a brave, endearing, emotional post! Adopting a child is such an admirable, courageous, loving thing to do and I am glad that things are starting to fall into place for you. I wish you much happiness in your new family unit. #bigpinklink
This is so, so beautiful! Adopting a child must be so challenging but also so, so rewarding when they finally let that guard down and let you in. Such an amazing story. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo
Kaye recently posted…Marvellous Mondays #36 – Welcome back, Emily!
What a beautiful, honest, emotional read… I just can’t imagine how difficult the whole process must have been for you all. It must take an amazing person with a determination of steel, to take a child who isn’t theirs, into their family and make it work. The love and affection he now gives you though, must make every second worthwhile, and I’m so glad this decision had completed your family. Xx
This Mum’s Life recently posted…A Reflection of Emotional Abuse
What an emotional journey you’ve had. It’s lovely that you are able to share this so honestly as there are likely to be other people who feel just like you did and this will give them strength. Touches the heart strings this does.
Sally @ Life Loving
Life Loving recently posted…Praia Do Lourenço
Thank you for all the lovely comments. We have always wanted to adopt so weirdly it was an easy decision for us. Yes, very challenging but without doubt the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
I hope my honesty helps someone because I think adopters put a lot of pressure on themselves and expect to love their new little one at first sight but it doesn’t happen that way for everyone. It can take time for love to grow and that’s ok too. And I think that could be the case on giving birth for some people.
I’m relatively new to blogging so a teensy bit confused by the link ups (!) but thank you for having me X
Blogfox14 recently posted…Achievement
Oh wow, what an absolutely beautiful piece. This really tugged at my emotions, and I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to begin to establish those first bonds with an adopted child. Adopting really takes a special family, so I think you immensely for sharing some pieces of your journey with us. <3 #KCACOLS
Savannah recently posted…A Little Fake Laugh
Such a beautiful, powerful post. Love really does come to us in so many ways, but is always worth battling for. x #KCACOLS
Jess Powell (Babi a Fi) recently posted…Review: Truth and Tails
I love your honestly as this was such a moving post. Very nice read 🙂 #KCACOLS
Kim recently posted…I Love Toddler Moments Like This
What a moving, honest post. I’m so pleased for Little Bear that all the bears were able to hang in there until things started to turn around – pleased he has found such a strong, loving family now.
Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday
Silly Mummy recently posted…Friday Frolics – 15th July 2016
What a lovely honest post. I have a lot of admiration for mums who adopt I can’t imagine how hard it can be. So glad things turned out great it sounds like little bear now has a great family xx #kcacols
Tracey Bowden recently posted…Another School Disco Outfit
Goosebumps…..that little voice saying “I wuzh you” must mean the world to you. Hopefully with a fabulous family around him, all the difficulties will diminish. I’m so grateful there are people out there like you who are willing to take on challenging children and give them a wonderful home. x
Thank you everyone for all your lovely comments x
Blogfox14 recently posted…End of Term