Today marks 6 months since Veronica was placed in our arms. Okay, I guess it was yesterday if you factor in time zone switches. But there is no need to get so technical.
Like everyone who has a child, either through adoption or abdominal-stretching pregnancy, the arbitrary time milestones make you pause in the middle of the frantic day-to-day living, look around, and wonder "when did all these changes happen"?
Certain changes in Veronica are obvious. Now she has a forever family to love her along with her birth family and foster family who, I am sure, continue to think about her and love her. She is understanding more and more English and sign language, minimizing her communication frustration. Her buzz cut hair has grown out to a style that could only be called "mullet-like". And, she is losing that rounded baby appearance. Her legs look longer in jeans even though she has gained four pounds since coming home.
Oh. And I guess the most obvious change has been her cleft lip/palate repair. Although to be quite honest, after a few days with her I hardly noticed her unrepaired cleft unless someone else commented on it. And now I don't really think about her repaired lip. Something that initially seemed like such a big deal turns out to be just a blip on the radar of our everyday lives. Yes, there are speech therapy appointments and more surgeries to come, but it is really not a big deal.
My mental review of the past 6 months had marked changes in me, too. I have learned that "Special Needs" is really just a fairly useless label of medical quirks. Most kids have some kind of medical or emotional quirk that requires a bit more energy to parent. My child is so much more than a label.
I've also learned that love for an adoptive child is no different than love for a bio child. I had posted on another link about how my Mama love came gradually for my children - Veronica was no different. But I'll admit now that the moment of worry has passed: I had a nagging thought that I might not love her as much as my other children. There. I said it. I admitted the worry that nobody in adoption is willing to say.
This worry wasn't much different than when a parent is expecting another child and wonders how they could love another baby as much as their first. Everyone who has gone through the experience is so reassuring. "Of course you will love your child who was adopted just as much as your biological children." I am so grateful that I can join in that chorus.
Let me declare to all of you with biological children who might be thinking about adoption or in the midst of one that you will, in fact, love them just as much as your other children. I know you won't completely trust me on this. But I will boldly declare it now and reserve my "I told you so" for after your child is home.
One of the biggest and best changes to occur is the continued development of the relationships between Veronica and her siblings, Veronica and her Daddy, and Veronica and myself. She is no longer the "new child". The other kids now get annoyed with her sometimes when she tries to assert her wants into the family dynamic. The necessary separation of her from contact with family (no one could feed her, hold her, comfort her except parents to help with attachment) is done. She is a full fledged family member, required to do chores, use please and thank you, and share toys.
I have come to the point where I have stopped worrying about how to make this little girl love me. She already does. And I love her. We are to the good part - where we both know that I am her Mommy and she is my little girl.