Meeting Your Adopted Baby
Deciding to move forward with an adoption is one of the biggest decisions that a family will ever make. The adoption process can be fraught with emotion: alternating between joyful hope, self-doubt, and giddy anticipation. (sometimes all within an hour’s time) None of which can compare to when you actually meet you baby for the first time.
Even if you have nerves of steel, meeting your baby for the first time can be an overwhelming experience- especially for first time parents. Keep expectations versus realities in check. Don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t feel natural the first time you hold your child. Keep in mind one spouse may be better at it or more comfortable than the other.
Don’t be surprised if you have feelings of disappointment, regret, guilt, or panic. Adoption encompasses both loss and renewal. These feelings are normal. But about panic, they’ll be a lot more panic to come- the first diaper change, the first time your child pees on you, first throw up, first date, etc. It will subside in about eighteen years.
Adoptive parents go through a pre-adoption attachment process to their babies just like expectant parents do. Your baby may or may not look like what you expected. Your “gut” may have told you boy but clearly she wasn’t. Not to mention not all newborn babies are cute- yours will be beautiful.
Your first meeting with baby may not go as planned. Babies who are hot/cold, hungry, or need diaper changes can be cranky. Wear clothing that is soft and comfortable. If you are relaxed, this helps baby relax. Use eye contact, talk to baby in a calm reassuring voice, and touch baby gently. These three elements are essential to facilitating bonding and attachment.
Now that you’ve met your little one, you can move on to nesting and nurturing your new family. This first memory of meeting your child will be the first of many memories that you make together. The journey you took to get here will make it all worthwhile.