Will I Love an Adopted Child as Much as a Biological Child?
What You Need to Know About Loving an Adopted Child
There are so many complicated thoughts and feelings that come with the transition from infertility to adoption. Families who come to adoption after struggling to get pregnant experience very real losses. They have to work through a complex grieving process and ask themselves some hard questions as they consider whether they are truly ready to adopt. Are we really ready to stop infertility treatments? Are we both on board with adoption? Are we prepared for the emotional ups and downs of the process?
And, one of the biggest, scariest ones to consider: Can we love an adopted child as much as a biological one?
If similar concerns about loving an adopted child have crossed your mind, you are not alone. It may feel silly — or even offensive — to ask that question out loud, but it’s one that many people struggle with, and it’s important to address it.
Read on to learn more about this common concern, and find out why your fears about loving an adopted child will disappear once he or she joins your family.
Where These Concerns Come From
It’s possible that different factors are influencing this concern. Maybe you already have other biological children, and you know the fierce, unconditional love you have for them. No parent can imagine loving anyone as much as their own children — especially if they come to you in a different way. Or, maybe you’ve dreamed for years of conceiving yourself, and it’s hard for you to accept the fact that you can’t. No matter the reasons behind your fears about loving an adopted child, it’s natural to feel and necessary to admit to yourself.
First, let us assure you that, while it may be difficult for you to imagine, you will absolutely love your future adopted son or daughter just as much as you would a biological child. Once he or she has joined your home, it may seem almost laughable to you that you ever questioned it. However, right now, it’s a very real and important concern, and so this article is dedicated to explaining exactly how we’re so confident that loving an adopted child will not be an issue in the slightest.
The answer is in attachment and bonding.
Bonding With Your Adopted Baby
Every time you feed, change, bathe, hold, hug and kiss your baby, you and your baby are bonding and developing attachment. This bond you form has nothing to do with whether the child is biological or adopted; it has everything to do with the experiences you share together. The same is true with your spouse, in-laws, pets, friends, and anyone else in your life whom you love dearly but don’t share a blood relation with.
We hear often from women who are concerned that they’ll be missing the intimacy that comes with being pregnant — with carrying the child, feeling him or her kick, following their progress and feeling the love and deep emotional ties forming long before the jumping bean in your stomach is the baby in your arms. This is a completely valid concern, but this biological process is not the sole way to form a strong, loving relationship with your child. To begin with, this idealized notion ignores many very real issues like postpartum depression and other health problems, and it also assumes that love is more physical than emotional. We can guarantee you that the second you get the call letting you know you have an adoption opportunity, you’ll know there has never been a love more strong than the one you have for the little one you now get to go meet.
For many parents, it’s love at first sight. You see that tiny baby you’ve been waiting your whole life to meet, and you know that you couldn’t possibly feel any more love than you do right now. For others, it’s a more gradual feeling that strengthens over time with bonding and attachment, all of which is a process that evolves over the course of your child’s life. This is true even for biological parents — every parent and child bonds differently, and that’s okay. One way is no better or worse than the other.
What happens after your child returns home with you is the same, no matter how they came to you. You’ll tend to them when they are sick or upset. You’ll wipe the tears and bandage the skinned knees and put them to bed for the first, second and third times each night. You’ll sing songs and read books, and you will love that child more than you ever thought possible. They’ll love you just the same, too.
And if you adopt an older child? It’s all still in the attachment and bonding. Spend solo time with them. Schedule “dates” just as you would have when getting to know your partner or a friend. Go out to eat, go shopping, bake some cookies. Learn about what they like, and just as importantly, what they don’t. Learn about their stories and where they’ve come from. Honor that. Be patient and firm, and know that, however long it takes, the love that develops will be so worth it in the end.
Loving an Adopted Child is No Different
So, while this question is a very common and natural concern, ask any adoptive family about how they feel about their children and you will hear a unanimous response: loving an adopted child is just the same as loving any other child, period. End of story. That’s not to say that it’s unusual to have those concerns, though. These feelings can be a normal part of the adoption process, but it’s important to work through them and be excited to adopt before beginning the adoption process.
If this concern is keeping you from pursuing adoption, call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with one of our adoption specialists about your concerns, or request free adoption information about this topic. But you don’t have to take it from us; you can also read firsthand accounts from adoptive families about their experiences and the unconditional love they feel for their children.
Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.