I think every mother in her third trimester of pregnancy goes through a moment or two of panic. I know I sure did. Well, adoption is no different. Except you have more time to worry.
I'm not a worrier by nature. Ususally, I leave that to my mom. Still, every once in a while, I find myself allowing fears to creep in and disrupt my otherwise iron-clad digestion.
This time, my adoption worries are completely irrational. I'm worried that Abi won't like me. Yep, That's what I am afraid of. There are several reasons for this particular little monster on my shoulder. For one thing, when you're adopting, it seems that everyone you talk to takes it upon themselves to tell you the most ghoulish horror story they can think of. Now that we're past the stage where the stories consist of the child dying of some dreadful disease before you can get her safely adopted, or the adoption process taking 32 years, we've moved on to the Attachment woes, with a capital A. I think the training we get, while useful later in the practical realm, now just makes me more freaked out now, because it describes every. possible. situation. that could go wrong. Books on attachment or toddler adoption begin by describing some poor family's worst-case-scenario, which later will be beautifully solved, as proof of why the book works and why you, as an unsuspecting adoptive parent, need to read it, so you don't get caught in just such a scenario. These stories tend to scare the crud out of me, as they describe the pain and stress and heartache these families endure on their journey to adoptive bliss.
Another reason my confidence is shaky is that previous to this, I have always begun with newborns. As far as I know, newborns don't have much of an opinion for the first few months. Feed them and snuggle them, and they are pretty cool with Mom. This gives some time to bond and establish yourself as a rockin' parent before they hid the harder stages. A 3.5 year old is a different kettle of fish entirely. Three-year-olds are opinionated, probably as opinionated as seventeen-year-olds and forty-year-olds. How am I going to successfully insert myself into her life at this age, disrupt it entirely and drag her to a new country with new smells and new food and three other kids who all demand my attention, and expect her to somehow like me?
I'm like any mother; I want my kids to like me! Love me, yes, but like me too. One of my biggest struggles as a mom is correcting and disciplining my kids because they don't like it. Heck, I don't like it either, but I do it, for their good and my sanity. Still, I struggle when my kids don't like me.
So far, loving Abi has not been a problem. Already, I adore her. She's pretty and smart and fun and girly. My worry right now is the reciprocation. What if she doesn't like me back? What if she doesn't want to leave her warm home in Africa and come live in chilly Idaho?
I'm probably being silly. In fact, I'm pretty sure I am. We mothers can be a paranoid bunch. Lately, though, that's the reality of what's in my head. Just keeping it real, folks.