One of the few benefits of being on the job hunt is getting to spend more time with my baby niece, Grace. She’ll be turning two months this weekend. My older sister, Vikki, could not be a prouder mama. I am happy being an aunt. Grace and I spent our first hour alone yesterday afternoon (we both survived!) and will have our first city adventure, Friday.
Yet all of this pink, baby happiness triggers me, reeling me into my own adoption story. At two weeks, my own birth mother made the decision to have me adopted. At Grace’s age, two months, I was being cared for by a foster mother. By three and a half months, I was on an airplane to JFK airport in NYC to meet my “mom,” the only mother I know. Seeing Grace grow, from Vikki’s pregnancy, the delivery, and to every little milestone since, my excitement for this new family is sometimes tempered by my own sense of loss.
Vikki is big on attachment parenting: fostering a strong emotional connection between the mother and child. There is no letting the baby “cry it out,” here. Every need the baby has is met with expediency. I watch Vikki revolve herself around Grace. She is attuned to her needs, but even more, surrounding her with love and positivity. I have no doubt that Grace knows she is loved, exactly as she should be!
This is the first time I have been around a baby and seen the natural evolution of a mother-child relationship from birth. As a result, it’s also the first time I’ve seen firsthand what I missed and feel that vacant feeling in my stomach coupled with a weighty heart, the pangs of missing someone, something. Grace will not remember this early period in her life, only learn pieces from her mom, see herself adoringly posed in baby photos. Even though, she hasn’t developed the awareness to “know” I have no doubt being blanketed in this love now will have a positive effect later.
As adoptees, our attachment processes were essentially, interrupted. Our lives continued, transposed into a different key. The attachments that we subsequently formed to our new parents is not lesser, but born out of a different set of variables. And today, at 24, I am feeling a new, raw sense of loss from the original version.
If you are a KAD, have you had a kindred experience?