my adoption attachment experience: international v. domestic

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I’m thankful to have learned a lot about adoption attachment process for children and parents early in my pursuit of social work. And I’m really thankful for those who have spoken honestly about post-adoption depression. I think the attachment process can be thwarted by depression.

And I’m thankful for a husband that “gets” all this, too. Dan and I talk a lot about expectations and emotions. It’s really necessary for me, and really kind of him to learn how necessary it is for me. As we started submitting our profile for consideration by women making adoption plans for their children, I got a quick taste of how this would be different for me than our international adoption.

I have known about Theo and Elliot for almost three years now. I have longed and prepared for them, specifically. I know what they look like, and I have an idea of their personalities and preferences. Though I have not met them, I am emotionally attached to them. I am working hard to have realistic expectations for them, but I do have information to base my expectations on.

With domestic adoption, I would become emotionally attached to women for different reasons. Because they lived in a city we love, because they played an instrument I do, because they loved to read like I do, because they had a name significant to our family. Though the birth mom does come home with you in many figurative ways (for which I am grateful!), her child is the one physically placed in your home. Her child is a stranger to you, really, and I think it’s good to admit it. And you may not have even had much more than 24 hours to prepare to know and love this specific child.

It makes sense that the attachment process would be different. Learning and accepting that gave me the freedom to give myself a lot of grace. More tomorrow!