"" Writer's Wanderings: Adoption--Bonding 15

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Adoption--Bonding 15

When we went before the judge to make our adoption of Cheryl and Don final, Cheryl was asked if she wanted to be a part of our family--she was only six. She answered,"I want to be a Robbins forever and ever!" And then promptly hid her head in Bob's jacket.

At twenty-one, when Cheryl was asked by the judge at her divorce hearing if she wanted to return to her maiden name, she said no. She chose the name of her biological family instead.

It hurt.

Something happened in those teen years that I still do not understand. Maybe it was something that was there all along and we just didn't see it. Hindsight tells us that we should have had counseling for her and us. We just thought that loving her, caring for her, providing a stable home and family was all that was necessary. We never thought that perhaps the "baggage" she carried from her young life would stay with her.

Looking honestly at the way I relate to my children, I have to say that yes, there is a difference. The twins being the oldest were our "learning experience." Kids don't come with a manual and we certainly learned by trial and error with them. Andy came along and was a whole different personality from the beginning. And, having those three as babies made our bonding experience different than the adoption experience. Don had handicaps to deal with and Cheryl was a girl--now that in itself was all new territory. There is no way to love each child the same. No two children are exactly the same. (I can speak from experience since my husband is an identical twin and quite different from his brother.)

We have raised three young men who are functioning as solid, loving, independent adults who love their family. Don is living "independently" in his own apartment and wouldn't dream of abandoning the family. Had I failed as a mother with Cheryl? Why had she abandoned us?

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