In the adoption world the word attachment is used frequently. With a quick Google search, I found this definition of attachment. “The formation by a child of significant and stable emotional connections with the significant people in its life. This process begins in early infancy as the child bonds with one or more primary caregivers. A failure by a child to establish these types of important connections before the age of about five years may result in the child experiencing difficulties with a wide variety of social relationships for significant periods of time in its life.” One of the things that has always bothered me is that in adoption literature “attachment” is most always what the child feels towards the parent, not what the parents feel toward the child. Common sense tells us that any relationship is a two way street. It’s that way in adoption too. Another thing that has bothered me is that we adoption professionals often discount or under-value the role that chemistry plays in attachment. It is a lot like romantic relationships. Sometimes two people just “dig” each other. Pardon the 70’s expression but I cannot think of a better term to describe it.
Today I picked my eleven year old daughter up at her school after a weeklong trip to the Tremont Institute in the Great Smokey Mountains. I have been a wreck this week missing her like she had been gone for a month. I was so excited to see her and hear about her trip. We have never gone five days without at least being able to talk to each other. I was giddy with excitement as I stood with the other 100 plus parents waiting for their kids to get off of the school bus. I thought to myself “Did they miss their kids as much as I did?” and “Do people who give birth to children love their kids this much?”
It reminded me of a conversation that I had ten years ago. A few months after I returned from China with my daughter one of my former co-workers asked me “What does it feel like to be a mother?” This is what I said “Leigh Ann have you ever been in love?” She said “Yes”. I said “Do you remember that feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach when you’re newly in love?” She said “Yes” and I told her “That’s what it feels like. It’s a lot like falling in love.”