Not the Worst, But Still Not There

An adoption bud is in China right now, three days from meeting her daughter, and she wrote a line about “that sweet little face that needs her mama to come pick her up” and my heart just broke.
Rory has a sweet little face, and she could use a mama to come pick her up, too, and in all honesty I’m still not feeling it.
I like her fine. She’s swell. She’s even very special, and she’s been through so much, and this is undoubtably tougher on her at some deep level than it is on me. She deserves way better than me. Would her foster mother’s heart open wide, if Rory were to run towards her right now, the way I would if Wyatt were returned to me after we’d been apart for two months? Or does no one’s heart pine for Rory? Oh, that’s even worse.
I also just read a line in Martha Beck’s memoir, Expecting Adam, that resonated for me. Adam, she says, is surrounded by little miracles. I have felt that with Rory, too–that forces move mountains on her behalf–but I seem to be the immovable object.
I’ve said a couple of times today, to people I know and know a little, that we’re fine, that we’re good, that the worst is over, as I said in an earlier post, and it is. It’s quite over, it’s completely over, the tantrums have eased and my rages died down and we are all settling in together quite nicely, like room mates in for the long haul.
But Rory needs passionate, abiding maternal love, and all I’ve got is vague affection. My blogging friend, and so many others, fell in love with their adopted children. I haven’t. That’s the hard question, the one that should get left but brought back out once in a while, I guess. Do I love her yet? Do I love her yet?
Isn’t it ok that I don’t? Shouldn’t I get a few months, a by until Christmas, maybe? I’m taking care of her. I’m snuggling her when she falls down, I’m kissing her good night, I’m reading her and telling her all day long what the word is for this and that. I’m wiping her. I am going through all the motions.
Ok, force that has powered Rory through her life, tossing her up and then gently landing her on her feet again and again. Move me. Fix this.
Seriously, let’s get on with it.

And can I say, that I don’t think she’s there yet either? She talks about us a lot. Proudly. That my mommy! That my daddy! But is she really convinced? I like her best when she’s running around, running like any kid (and, probably not incidentally, not sitting on me or yelling). Maybe she likes it best then, too, when she doesn’t have to think or try anything new or adjust to us. Maybe she needs some down space too, somehow. She’s not much for tv. She’ll play on her own, but I can’t give her that, exactly–she kind of has to go find it.

Maybe this is the point where we just need to settle in and let it kind of, take. The cuts have been made, the graft taped, let the healing begin.

8 Responses to “Not the Worst, But Still Not There”

  1. shirlee says:

    My sister experienced this with her older son. For months after he arrived home, she felt like his babysitter. She’d adopted his younger brother at the same time, and she adored the baby immediately. That was a hard time, but they made it through.

    Sometimes it just takes longer, but eventually the healing happens and the actions become more.

  2. Elliesmama says:

    I think some of the best advice that I’ve heard is just keep pretending that the love is there. Pretty soon, it actually will be. I don’t think there is a right or wrong time frame. I’m convinced that it will happen though.

  3. Nancy says:

    I, too, felt my daughter deserved a better family, one who LIKED her more. There was another child from her SWI who was just one day young who was placed as an only child in a two parent family (older parents, too). They doted on this child, gave her lessons and trips and made her the center of their lives. Their life was calm. My daughter would have LOVED being the star, the princess, the chosen one and I grieved that she didn’t get that life but was instead stuck with us.

    I know she would be a very different child if she’d been placed with the other family. We had to teach her to have a sense of humor (she had none). We made her athletic and now she’s a good lax player. We made her roll with the punches so now everything doesn’t end in tears. Her life is anything but calm.

    Takes time. You can have a bye until xmas.

  4. ellen says:

    Fake it until you can make it. I think you may be further along with it than you think you are, too. Also, beware of happy bloggers – most people are afraid to put the bad stuff out there and will only talk about the easy times and the good times (though I’m sure you know that already, it bears repeating).
    I think you are giving Rory a lot – and probably selling yourself short.
    My girl loves to run too – and you may be onto something about the freedom of it. When they’re running, they could be anywhere – not stuck in a place where nobody understands or knows them.

  5. Misty says:

    Oh KJ. I believe it will come. Time is your friend. I did indeed fall in love with a precious little face but that does not mean I might not be right where you are months from now. XOXO from China…

  6. Jen says:

    I love your honesty. I was going through this a year and half ago when we brought our son home.

    All I have to say is time will be your best friend. It will come.

    For me it took about a year to be truely bonded. After the first 4 months – it started to get better. The first year home was the hardest thing I ever done.

  7. Marie-Claude Gagnon says:

    I think your are futher than you think. You have quite a root of kids and most of us when we get our first Chinese treasure..well they are alone with us for quite a long time. You will get there but it is difficult. May I suggest something. I do not know if Rory goes to a preschool, but personnaly I think it is way too early for her to be away from home and you right now. I have now three girls, and all of them stayed with me for at least a full year before going to preschool. They need to understand and trust us in order to let go their fears, and that may only be achieved by spending time with us. They would play with kids in the neighborhood, I would leave when my husband woulb be home, or I would have a babysitter (after 6 to 10 months at home). We care for them, but the love thing does not come automatically, but we have to give it time.. and lots of months. Don’t put yourself down and don’t a time frame of the love thing. It will creep up on you.