When handed to me, Zoe didn't cry. She clutched me like she'd never let me go. She fell asleep in my arms. Awwww! At the time, I thought it a sweet display of trust. Now, I look at the video and I see a child terrified, clinging to me because I was the only thing there, shutting down and checking out by going to sleep.
This blog post reminds us of the disconnect between what we, as parents, might expect in that first meeting and the reality of that first meeting:
When we think about having children, most of us tend to idealize the images. We picture smiling, rosy-cheeked cherubs reaching for us, giggling with happiness. We see them playing in our sunny backyards by day, tucked peacefully into their soft little beds by night. Birthday parties, school clothes, vacations at the beach – ah, it is the stuff of Norman Rockwell!So, do we have reason to hate you?! How was that first meeting? How did you perceive it then? Has that perception changed?
Becoming a parent through adoption has been even further romanticized. Many books and articles have been written about that first magical meeting, often proclaiming, “It was love at first sight!” The darling baby immediately cuddles up to the doting parents, and they all appear to live happily ever after. The adopted child is an angel, the parent a hero.
There are undoubtedly cases of this actually happening. If you actually had this glorious experience, then on behalf of all the rest of adoptive parents, let me say that we hate you.