This is such a great article. One of the reasons I like Ukrainian
adoption is that you are not provided a referral and a photos you
fall in love with before you travel. You choose your child from
the government database of children available for international
adoption based not just on a photo but medical and social
Even still, I think every adoptive parent experiences these
feelings to some degree throughout and after the adoption
Falling in Love with a Fantasy Child
During the wait. Adoption usually involves
waiting. Some wait for months. Some wait for years. Some wait for
decades. During all that time spent waiting, it is only natural
that your brain begins to imagine this fantasy child, what he or
she will look like, what being a parent will feel like, what this
child will be like. Before long, no matter how hard you try not
to create a fantasy child in your brain, no matter how hard you
try not to get too excited, human nature has taken over and you
have an image of who this child is.
Preconception. And then the day comes when this
maybe child becomes a probably child. For some, that day is the
day they are chosen by a prospective birth mother. For others,
that day is the day that an official referral arrives for an
actual child, one with an actual picture. Suddenly, this child
isn't just a figment of your imagination. By holding their
picture in your hand or watching their movement on an ultrasound
screen, this child goes from a hope you barely dare whisper to a
person you love instantly. You begin to have preconceptions based
on what they look like, what their expression is, even what they
are wearing, as to what their personality will be.
Falling in love. You spend hours dreaming about
your child. Even though you know you should try not to have
expectations about what they will be like, what their personality
is or how they will relate to you, it's next to impossible not to
have preconceived notions. After all those years of anticipation,
you can't help but fall completely in love with this child who
you already feel as if you know.
Reality hits. In rare cases, the flesh and bone
child may live up to your fantasy child, but most of the time,
there is a disconnect between the two. The child you imagined
would surely love you back right away (even if you know logically
that this is not likely) and doesn't pull away from you, spit at
you, cry all night, or reject you. Not all cases of reality are
as shocking as raging or attachment issues. Perhaps the child you
pictured was quiet and the child you have turns out to be
extremely outgoing and active. That's not necessarily a bad
thing, but it is an adjustment from what you had prepared for.
Grieving the child that wasn't. The discrepancy
between the fantasy child or fantasy adoption and the reality can
be one of the contributing factor of "http://www.theadoptionmagazine.com/2012/04/26/post-adoption-depression/"
target="_blank">post adoption depression. This is one of the
reasons why it is so important to acknowledge the loss of this
imagined child or imagined life and grieve for that fantasy.
Accepting what is. Dreaming about adopting is
very different from the reality of adopting. It is only after
grieving for the child that wasn't that you can truly begin to
attach to the child that is.