And so we woo.

20 Jan

One of my adoption friends wrote a blog post about ‘woo-ing’ her new son.

“I have never worked so hard to win another person’s love. Ever.”

This spoke to me so much because in adoption, there is no “the instant”.  Love does not start from the moment that baby is placed in your arms.  For some parents (thankfully I am included in this group) love grows before you go to pick up your child, but for some, it happens much later.  Many people compare adoption, especially older child adoption, as feeling as though you are caring for someone else’s kid.  “When are his or her parents coming to get him or her back!??!”

But then, love grows. Overtime, most times, love grows.

But let us not forget, we’re looking at it through the parents eyes.

For me, love was a seed that was planted the moment we said yes.  It wasn’t the whole, “I saw her picture and I knew she was my child” bit of crazy that you’ll hear some parents say.  I had seen Cora’s picture on our agency’s list for a while before I thought, “Oh, I can ask for her file. Hmmm….maybe I will.”  There was no referral of Cora to me.  There was no “this is your daughter” opening of the documents.  It was a child – a beautiful child, but was it my child?
Woo1Eventually, obviously, “the child” did become “MY child”.  After a good month plus of researching, digging, praying and giving each other time to digest the contents of what we dug up, “child” became “daughter” and our love started to grow, just like a seed grows into a flower with the aid of the sun.  By the time we went to bring her home, there was already a stem and the bud of a flower ready to bloom and it wasn’t long at all until a flower was fully formed.

Our daughter, on the other hand, was quite content in all ways, mostly because she didn’t know what she was missing without a family.  She didn’t know what mommies and daddies did. She didn’t know how a parent’s touch feels. She didn’t know what it was like to have mommy comb the snarls out of your hair or have daddy trim the nails that have grown long on her toes.  She was perfectly capable of washing every square inch of her body, hair included, and would never ever cry of soap got into her eyes.

She didn’t know.

But I knew.

Her seed was planted at that time, not when ours was planted. She had no bud yet. No stem. Just a seed. Or maybe just the gift of a seed with the option of planting it when she was ready.

In the past 9 months, that seed has started to grow, but it is very obvious that there is more needed to aid her growth than the little sun that we had.  She needs to learn unconditional love. She needs to be woo-d.  And wooing her is not always easy.

This is a foreign concept to those who have not adopted.  I know this because I would have never guessed with prior to Cora.  Woo your child? Forget that! I’m the mom, you’re the child and we are a family. Some days are better than others, but in it together, we are.  Sure, it’s the truth even now, but it’s not that simple.  I would never ever look at Logan or Miles and think, “They need wooing today” with much more than a passing thought.  But sometimes, it’s easy to think that with Cora.

Logan and Miles have known nothing other than me as mom.  They know my ups and downs and even on my down days, they have had a million up days to know that the good far outweighs the bad.  Cora on the other hand has had just a handful of days. Or so it seems in the whole layout of her little life.  I’m still new. Even 9 months in.

She now knows what mommies and daddies do, and most often she’ll gladly share how she loves having the experience of a mommy and daddy to do those things. Singing at bed, reading books, snuggling, praying together, carrying…all things she said she didn’t have much experience with prior to 9 months ago. But there are those moments when I doubt that it is ME that brings her joy – just the experience.

The days when she would do anything just to get off of my lap, the days where she’ll look anywhere but my eyes when I’m signing to her, the days when I tell her I love her and she pretends she doesn’t hear me. The days when I pick her up from school and she’s far more interested in visiting someone else’s mom than coming to see me.

I don’t blame her.  It hurts my feelings, I won’t lie, but I don’t blame her. I took her away from her life.  She loves the children she’s missing.  She begs to visit them. She tells me how she will feed them and hold them and put them to sleep and she wants to share it with me.  It’s what she did and now it’s what she doesn’t do because of me.  I know in her mind she compares the fully grown flower of love she had with the other children in her orphanage to what she has at home – the stem, still growing.

When we read about attachment and adoption, I read all of this great info about touch and attachment games/activities that involve touching – hair, fingernails, lotion, etc….We’re doing just great there! Girl wants me to hold her any second.  She lets me comb and do her hair and 85% of the time she’ll even let me wash it.  She loves her sling and 95% of the time she loves to snuggle on my lap before bed.  I can lotion her little body up and trim her hair or nails.  I can dry her off and wrap her up like a baby and sing her a little lullaby.  In terms of attachment, I’d say we’re winning.  We’re establishing a great base and I do believe the sun is growing her stem bit by bit into a beautiful flower.

It’s just those off moments. Those off days. They are few and far between, thank God, but they hurt.

And I know they hurt her, too.

And so I woo.

I look deep in her eyes and woo with all of my might.

Even when they won’t look back.

And pray with all of my heart that the effort of wooing is starting the growth of a bud.


4 Responses to “And so we woo.”

  1. Nora January 20, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

    Beautiful Jen! I completely identify with all you say here–it’s hard not to let the “off” days get me down, but I just keep pushing through. So much love to you.

    • Jen February 5, 2013 at 4:09 am #


  2. Stephanie January 29, 2013 at 3:31 am #

    Girl, you need to get me your bio and picture so I can feature this post on “We Are Grafted In”. Please? 🙂

    • Jen January 29, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

      Sending! 🙂

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