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    “I Feel Like a Beast, but I Don’t Love My Adopted Child”

    Dawn Davenport

    Parental attachment in adoption

    What to do when you don’t love or even like your newly adopted child?

    Please share your thoughts and advice for this new adoptive mom. If you have experienced anything similar, please let her know.

    Dear Dawn, I am a mother of nine children born to me (ages 20 months to 18 years), all homeschooled, and have adopted my husband’s cousin as of 2 months ago. We did not know her prior to this and the adoption moved very quickly once the state determined that her mother would not get her act together. She is 3.5 years old.

    I think she would have an easier time overcoming her attachment issues if I could overcome mine. Everywhere I read, no one has a problem with loving and sympathizing with their adopted child, but I do. I feel like a complete beast. I am civil to her, often affectionate, and try to be fair about her rights in the family, but I am unable to fake expressions of love and do not like how the integration has to be so sudden and total.

    I feel like if I was joining a family I would be quiet and shy and try not to make waves and let people get used to me. Instead I have to treat her like the sister to my children from minute #1 and everyone has to act like she has always been here.

    I don’t want to bore you with the details, especially of how awful I am. She is a normal little girl, but I am choking on what is required of me. I listened to about 24 of your podcasts preparing for the adoption, especially anything about attachment and parenting, but now that I’m living it, it is a lot harder than I imagined. Do you have any resources on how to help adoptive families form the bond.

    Attachment is a Two Way Street

    I am so glad you reached out to us for help. You are wise to realize that attachment is a two way street. Yes, we talk a lot about the child attaching to us, but parents also have to attach to their child.

    You are Not Alone

    The first thing you should know is that you are absolutely not alone. The second thing you should know is that there is help. This whole adoption happened very fast and wasn`t necessarily your choosing. It sounds like there was a need and you stepped in, but you wouldn`t have gone out to seek this opportunity.

    You’re likely struggling with two issues: the rapidity of change and the lack of a real choice. Both are hard to stomach. And let’s face it, you are also adjusting to life with 10 kids, which is no small feat.

    Time is a Blessing

    My first piece of advice is to give yourself time. With a pregnancy, you have 9 months to adjust to the idea of a new child and to fall in love with this child. Even after the birth for many people the process is more growing in love rather than falling in love. It sounds like you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself to love this child immediately. Change your expectations to allowing time for you to grow in love with her. Think in terms of 9 -12 months rather than 2 months.

    Growing in Love

    Adopting a 3.5 year old is more like the process of dating than the process of giving birth. When you give birth, the child is helpless and unformed (more or less). A toddler is neither helpless nor unformed. This child has almost certainly experienced trauma and loss. She is grieving and confused and acting accordingly.

    You need to get to know this person just like you got to know your husband when you were first dating. That takes time and effort.

    Growing in love would be enhanced if you can spend some one on one time with her. And yes, I do know how hard this will be with your schedule.You probably don’t have much one on one time with your other kids, but you did have this time when they were infants and you were involved with the day to day feeding and caring for them.

    Be Kind to Yourself

    You need to take very good care of yourself during this initial adjustment period. If there is any way you could get extra help for the next 6 -8 months, I would strongly recommend it. Also, lower your expectations during this adjustment period for your house-keeping and even your homeschooling. One of the blessings of homeschooling is that you have the flexibility to slack off just a bit and then pick up when things settle down.

    Fake It Till You Make It

    While you are growing in love, fake it till you make it. Continue to care and nurture this little being. The very act of caring and nurturing helps with bonding.

    Although what you are experiencing is not terribly uncommon and you are not a beast, I strongly recommend that you find a good adoption therapist to help you through this adjustment period. Call your local DSS office and ask who they have worked with. If a therapist knowledgeable about adoption issues is not available, then just go to a good counselor who can support you through this huge life transition.

    Resources to Help with Attachment

    I don’t want to overwhelm you with resources, but I would suggest finding time to listening to one of our shows on attachment at least 3 times a week. I love to listen to podcasts when I’m vacuuming, gardening, and running. Start with these:

    “I Don’t Have Time for All This Education”

    You may be tempted to say that you don’t have the time to spend doing all this stuff with 10 kids, homeschooling, and life in general. You’re right, you don’t have time, but you and your husband have to work together to create the time. I can’t stress enough how important it is for you, your family, and this child. The time spent now will pay off in spades as she ages.


    Image credit: Melissa Wiese

    16/07/2014 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 42 Comments

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    42 Responses to “I Feel Like a Beast, but I Don’t Love My Adopted Child”

    1. Sarah Wilson says:

      I am so glad to have found this site.
      I’m a single adopter of a three year old girl who has been with me for nearly two years. I still feel no bond or attachment to her even though she’s bonded to me. I really don’t know what to do because I don’t feel any love or likeness towards her and feel like such a mean person. I met a partner earlier this year and we’re now expecting our own child. I’m so worried that my feelings will be even worse once I have my baby. I’ve tried talking to family but they just got angry saying that I need to carr on being her mummy. They don’t realise my full feelings and how much I wish I had not adopted her. Please help.

      • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

        Sarah, I am glad you felt safe enough to share these feelings here. I can only imagine how hard it was for you to share. I can not stress this enough–you need to get to a mental health professional immediately. I am not blaming you for your feelings–feelings are what they are. However, what you are describing is a form of child abuse. I doubt you are physically hurting your child, but your inability to love her and attach to her is causing deep psychological scars. No matter how you try to hide your lack of love or bonding with your child, she is picking it up on the deepest level, and I promise you it is causing damage. You need help deciding if this is something you are willing and able to work very hard to overcoming. If you are not able to start to love and feel connected to your daughter you, need help deciding what is in her best interest moving forward. I can’t stress enough the damage you are causing her each day this continues. I also can’t stress enough that this is something that can improve significantly with the proper help and your strong desire to fix it.

        • Sarah Wilson says:

          Thank you so much for getting back to me. That is why I’ve got in touch because I’m so worried about the impact on her. I feel so stuck because I want to do the best for her just don’t know what to do. I hate the thought that it could be a form of abuse. I just want her to have a happy life. I’ve been referred for some cognitive behaviour therapy but not sure how this will help.

          • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

            Sarah, you don’t have to know now how it will help, just get yourself to a good therapist and start work. I’m glad you’re going for help!

    2. C says:

      I am so glad I found this board. My adopted daughter is 4 years old now and has been in our home 18 months now. Like many of you I have been taken off guard by my ability to bond to her. There are days I resent her in my home so much I don’t know what to do with myself. I have one bio son age 13 and love him more than I can express. He is my whole world. Have gone to attachment therapy which has not been helpful. It seems it is designed to help the child attach to me, but does nothing to help me attach to her. Siting around playing with toys with another woman and the child is not helpful at all. I have tried to express some of my feelings to the therapist but the focus continues to be on her attaching to me which I do not think is our biggest problem at this point. Like some of you have expressed I feel like a monster. How can I dislike a little girl and resent her so when she is the one who has had the difficult life and been through so much. I no longer want ti come home from work and leave her at preschool until the last possible minute to get few minutes of peace from her. I know I need some help just not sure where to get it. Have terminated attachment therapy for the time being and am trying to get an individual therapist for myself. I feel like my being honest with her therapist was a mistake. She does nkt understand. The child is not in danger and is taken care of, I just dont have a lot of postive feelings and am concerned with how the therapist is scrutinizing our family right now even though I have asked her for help. I dont know if I can truly be honest with someone who does not understand. I am tired of people who judge these feelings. I know she did not ask ti come into my home and trust me if I knew things would feel like this I probably would not have done this, but now I just want help making it all okay. I am not looking for perfect, just okay would be awesome. I would love to be able to relax in my own home and not feel like I am on edge all the time.

      • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

        C. A couple of thoughts:
        First, please know you aren’t alone. Also know that this situation can be helped. I’m not a mental health professional, but I think getting a therapist for yourself is a great first step. It would be very helpful if the therapist understood adoption issues, but if that type of training is not readily available, I would get a really good family therapist.

        Second, as hard as it might be, I think you should reach out to your adoption agency. If they are a full service agency they may have social workers on staff that have experience with parental attachment issues and can help.

        Third, Creating a Family has a course on Importance of Parental Attachment Styles in Adoption in our Online Adoption Education Center (https://creatingafamily.org/learningcenter/). We also have lots of other courses that may be helpful to you on attachment and post adoption depression (which may be a factor on what you are experiencing).

        Fourth, please join the Creating a Family Facebook Support Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/creatingafamily/) It’s a closed Facebook group so that only those in the group can see the posts. You will find others who have walked in your shoes and survived.

    3. MJ Hughes says:

      I understand how you are feeling. We recently completed an international adoption that took 3 years. The pictures and video we got in the beginning were when he was an infant. I knew after the long process he still would not be that same child we had the video of. I tried to mentally prepare myself that he would not be a baby anymore, although I desperately wanted him to still be. I think he is connecting to me more than I am to him because of my disappointment that I have lost knowing him in his babyhood. I feel guilty that I am struggling so much. Every morning I wake up and ask God to help me better mother and every night I have to ask for forgiveness for blowing it again and not being the mother I want and need to be. It’s only been about a month that we adopted him, so I’m hoping I can grieve our loss and connect with him like I need to. I feel guilty that he’s such a precious child and for some reason I can’t feel that deep, overwhelming love for him like I expected to feel. I hope it comes soon.

      • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

        MJ, you aren’t alone and there is help. First, reach out to the social worker that you felt the most connection to at your adoption agency and share your concerns. She/he can and should help. Second, join the Creating a Family Facebook Support Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/creatingafamily/) Many people in that group have been exactly where you are right now and have survived. They can help. By the way, it’s a closed Facebook group so that only those in the group can see the posts. We can also post questions anonymously for you if you want to not share your name.

    4. Lisa says:

      We adopted a 4 yr old 11 years ago. We have never bonded, never felt love. Now we count down the months til she turns 18 so we can part ways. She has severe RAD and thousands of hours of therapy and intervention has resulted in zero progress. We don’t love her and are eager to reclaim our lives sans he drama and sabotage. This relationship has put our marriage of nearly 30 years in jeopardy as there is so much daily stress its just hard not to become bitter. After all, we are human too. We will wish her well and hope for the best for her life. Fingers crossed! PS She has openly said she doesn’t love us and cant wait for her childhood to be over with. I have a new philosophy. Work on you! Make yourself the happiest human that ever walked the earth and guess what …your great attitude will be an example for all to see….even your resentful adopted child.

      • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

        Lisa, I can’t imagine what it must be like for your daughter and for you. I urge you not to give up on family counseling.

    5. Maria says:

      Wow, No one has posted since July 2014 and its March2015, I hope someone is out there that can help me and there is still some activity on this board, We adopted a little nine year old girl and have been home just about four months and I am really feeling horrible, The attachment is not going well, but like one poster said or maybe more, The child may be attaching but I feel like I am not, Sometimes the whole family feels they have to hide in their rooms to get some time alone, because she will follow everyone around and its like she thinks we are running an orphanage and everyone has to do the same things at the same time and everyone has to have the same things, She stares at me constantly every single thing I am doing, I feel like I am in a fishbowl, My husband doesnt have nearly half the problems or see them!! I feel like a monster and I am the one who pushed for this and I feel like what did I do to our familly, I feel her personality is already formed at nine and this is what we have to endure, Control, manipulation, sometimes not telling the truth, I have no idea how to parent alot of the behaviors because our Bio children never did stuff like this, Pouting, sulking, biting, seeking constant attention, I am her sixth Mom where she is coming from two foster homes and two orphanages and her own bio Mom, I get depressed and think every day what did I do, I am afraid to go to a therapist like anything you tell them they will call the state on you or report you, I dont trust them, Alot of my friends said not to adopt and warned me how hard it would be, so I cant even talk to them about it because they will say I told you so, I feel like I am just venting problem after problem, She comes to me and tells me to do her wash, When this is a child that got one dress a week and they washed it on Sunday< I resent her telling me to do her wash, or if there is a tiny staiin on her clothes or a little rip in something,she has to tell me,like she cant wear it, Like our children or myself never wore anything that had a little stain on it or a tiny rip, I dont get that part, There are so many parts I dont get, Our facilitator says Oh, as long as she isnt rocking back and forth and banging her head then she sounds good and its just going to take time ,Thanks for the support! and I feel like I am just left in the ocean in a boat with one oar, Its so hard and I never ever in my life dreamed I would feel like this. Same thing as one poster stated, Just thought would have all these loving feelings of taking care of a orphaned child, It didnt work that way, , I also keep thinking how easier a toddler would have been,to adopt, but from reading these posts it doesnt seem like that is the answer and some Moms have trouble with toddlers too, Waiting for a year or more seems like such a long time to feel down and upset with yourself for feeling this way, You wake up everyday thinking, Oh no, what will today bring, There is also one of our bio children that she doesnt get along with, and they fight every day about the most stupid things,that we always have to break up, where we never had any kind of fighting like that, Everyone always got along, I could go on and on and on, I need help! and am still figuring out where to go and what to do besides praying!! Any advice is greatly appreciated and hope someone is out there still!! Its been pretty inactive since July, God Bless you all, ,

      • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

        Maria, first, you absolutely need to either talk with a therapist or with your adoption social worker to get help for you and this child. I understand your fear of being judged, but a therapist or your social worker has heard this from other people, and I hope will know that you need support and concrete advice. I would also strongly encourage you to post your question on the Creating a Family Facebook Support Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/40688106167/) It’s a closed Facebook group so that only those in the group can see the posts. You’ll need to join the group. There are others on that group who have been where you are at and hearing their stories can give you hope and give you suggestions of what they did that helped them.

        P.S. This is the comment section of a blog post. The Creating a Family Facebook Support Group is an active support forum.

    6. Angela says:

      I’ll be short and sweet. What your feeling is expected and okay. Don’t beat yourself up, assuming you’re not capable of bonding with her.
      Plan on 1-2 years to develop attachment and bonding for each year she was not in your care. Counseling for yourself is not a bad idea but may be premature.
      Resources to consider. http://www.empoweredtoconnect.org
      Attaching in Adoption by Deborah Gray
      Becoming A Family by Lark Eshleman
      I Love You Rituals by Becky Bailey
      As you get into doing some of the attachment activities and she responds to them, your brain will release neuro-chemicals that reward you with pleasure. That’s the biological magic :-)

    7. Diane says:

      Attaching is a process. It takes time. So. Much. Time. Try to be patient with yourself, understand that it is normal, take breaks if you can, and know that the feelings will come in time. We are 22 months in to our adoptions, and I can finally say the girls feel like my own. Try to rest and give yourself some grace. It’s okay. It really is.

    8. Diane says:

      You are not alone. I’m sharing an entire series about this on my blog. This is so normal and you should feel no shame. You are not alone. I totally understand.
      God bless you.


    9. Susan Sinclair says:

      I’d just like to add that I totally agree with the comments that parent bonding with the child should be raised in the adoption training.

      There was no mention of this in any of the training materials, and I had no idea at all that I would be unable to attach to my child. I was so worried that she wouldn’t attach to us; it didn’t even cross my mind that I would feel love towards her. Thus, no feeling anything toward her really caught me off guard because it was so unexpected. The feeling is so terrible it makes me want to die because I think she’d be better off without me.

    10. Susan Sinclair says:

      We adopted a 3.5 year old nearly 3 years ago and I’ve never felt connected to her. I have been gentle with myself and have feigned affection with her. I simply just don’t like her. Some days are better than others. It mostly feels like I am a servant to a stranger.

      I’ve just come to the conclusion that all I can do is help her as much as I can and accept that the feeling of love may never come. My husband has bonded with her and she has him wrapped around her little finger.

      I think one of the most unpleasant experiences being an adoptive parent is going to birthday parties and having to deal with insensitive comments that put be back in a downward spiral. I know people don’t mean to hurt me, but I really cringe when I hear comments like, “Oh, I’d totally adopt if I couldn’t have my own kids.” It makes me feel as if I chosen something second best. The other comment I hate is, “You must have a really big heart. There’s no way I could love a child that wasn’t my own.” Or the big heart comment frequently gets followed up by, “Raising your own kids is hard enough.”

      • Susan, comments like that are so darn insensitive!

      • Ann says:

        We adopted 15 months old boy just 4 months ago. My husband is almost fine with him, but I feel the same as many commenters here – no love, servant to stranger, angry at myself, etc. we have a bio child too whom I love to pieces. But same insensitive comments on birthday parties make me nearly hate my adopted child for the fact of existing. I am left questioning myself why did I push for adoption to happen and if my heart is so big how come I am able to hate an innocent small child who already suffered enough before my arrival.

        • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

          Ann, 4 months is a relatively short time to adjust to the total upheaval of your life. However, given your feelings I strongly urge you to contact the social worker at your agency for help. I also think you would benefit from seeing a therapist to help you adjust to your new life. It doesn’t help, at this point, to beat yourself up for initiating the adoption, but you do need to get help as soon as possible for you, for your family, and especially for your new son.

    11. Abraham Cottrill says:

      You have hit my fear squarely on the head. We are looking at going into the adoption process again. Our first girl came to us when she was 6, and the paperwork is underway. Though the emotional bond has been long completed, it was a bit rough at the beginning. We also had a 17 year old boy come as what we thought was a permanent foster placement. That placement broke due to safety concerns. Now we are looking again, and have been presented with a 16 year old boy. I thought I was up for this. What i am finding is alot of fear and anger, and mostly concern about me not bonding, or it ending up being just another foster placement for this boy. And I feel like a beast for having these concerns.

    12. Megan says:

      Having not been in the same situation I cannot pretend to know what it’s like, but I do know that in the infertility world in general (and in pregnancy and post-pregnancy worlds too, I find), people are only just starting to open up about “what really happens” and I think that opening-up is SO important. It makes such a difference when you find that you’re not alone and that you can actually hear how other women are getting through it – and hopefully some of that guilt goes away too!

    13. Hope says:

      As a bio mom and an adoptive mom, I can tell you bonding can be challenging for either /both. I actually had more issues bonding with my bio than with my adopted. It is work and doesn’t just happen. I think the response was great. Though like another poster mentioned, the statement about “if I were joining a family…” is concerning. First that’s not really an appropriate expectation for a child, or anyone coming from trauma of who knows what. Plus I think it is unfair to think any one person mighty respond in the same way that you or anyone else would.

    14. Teresa says:

      I am so glad to see this post. I hear that this is a common occurrence but there really aren’t that many resources out there for this. I have really struggled to attach to my adopted children even though they very quickly attached to me. And since we have biological children too, it is hard not to compare myself and even harder when I know they can tell the difference. Parenting my bio toddler and infant in front of older adopted kids who never received the care and affection they needed is very hard. And they want that kind of attention/affection now and trying to fake it with older kids–very hard. I have sought therapy but I couldn’t find a therapist that had dealt with this, so I chose one that works with adopted/foster kids. I have sunk into a pretty heavy depression and feel like we have completely ruined our lives. We have very, very little outside help or support. With five kids, I would be a tired momma anyway, this just seems to make it 10 times harder. In theory, I know we did the right thing but day to day, it is a constant struggle.

      • Teresa, I’m sorry you are struggling and glad the blog gave you some comfort. I’m even more glad that you are in counseling. You didn’t say how long ago you adopted. It takes time to bond and attach in adoption for both kids and parents. In addition to counseling, I strongly recommend you do some reading and/or listening. We list some great books on attachment in adoption . We have interviewed most of the authors, plus lots more, on the Creating a Family show on this topic as well as on the topic of parental attachment. You can listen while you cook dinner or vacuum or whatever. You can find those shows listed on our Attachment Resource page.

    15. marilynn says:

      A lot of the families I reunite are parents who lost their kids in CPS actions where the parents fought and lost and had their rights terminated like I’m guessing your husband’s Aunt or Uncle must have.

      You guys did the right thing to keep her in the family of course. You buckled down and prevented her from being adopted out to another family. You are good people. Why do you have to go whole hog and treat her like she’s a sister to your kid’s when she’s their 1st cousin 1r? Would it take pressure off you, your husband and your kids to just treat the situation and her as who she is which is a cousin that you have parental responsibility for? Yes they will be raised as if they are siblings but they are not. You’ll rear her the way a mother would but your not her mother and they are not her siblings your all cousins and your family and you’re in charge and everything will be fine.

      If God forbid something tragic happened to you and your husband where would all your kids go? Could they become wards of the court? Wouldn’t you want some members of your family to step forward and raise your kids for you? Would you want that aunt or cousin calling themselves your children’s parents, just because they were raising them? They’re your family, they have their titles and rolls already doing a different job and more work just makes them more awesome and wonderful but it won’t take away your parenthood (other than legal parental authority).

      It’s so cool what you did and she may really love growing up surrounded by all her cousins in a big family home. You did the right thing and this way she’s got a shot at having a relationship with her parents if they ever pull it together and think how much less threatened you are by her absent parents than someone who adopted with the goal of becoming a mother. Seriously you are the perfect person to adopt because you are not doing it to become a mother or get a child your doing it because that child has a need and so does his cousin and your doing it to keep a family in crisis from being separated forever.

      Don’t beat yourself up maybe you just need to look at the same situation differently cause what you did is beautiful and YOU are going to teach her how family should have each other’s back when things go haywire. You are a very good roll model. Don’t worry. Most people who relative adopt I have met don’t go trying to say their kinship changed because of that. They don’t call grandma mom, not that I have met.

    16. Anon AP says:

      I think this speaks to a continued need to improve and expand PAP education. Difficulty attaching – especially to 3 year olds, who are not known for a degree of passivity and compliance – is absolutely something known “out there”. It would be great if people were both introduced to the idea that this could be an issue and pointed in the direction of good resources before the need for help arises. It’s sad that the mother is feeling so strained and guilty right now, and I sincerely hope that good therapy, adjusting expectations, and time will help everyone involved.

      One thing that I can imagine being tricky is a fear of disruption if one asks for help. In the post-placement visit period, it’s the ideal time to ask for help, but I think there’s sometimes a temptation to show a strong, got-it-together face to the social worker during follow-up visits. What a loss of an opportunity to talk to a knowledgeable person and get help.

      Good luck to you and your family, letter writer. I hope you can find a solution that brings you all peace.

      • AnonAP, you are preaching to the choir on the need for pre-adoption education. Education, both pre and post adoption, is my life’s work. I have found that it isn’t unusual for education to be lacking in kinship placements–after all, the child is a relative, so what education can be needed–right?!? ARGHH!

        The good news is that this mama found a safe place to share and a place with lots of education. I pray that the experts interviewed on the radio show/podcasts are speaking to her heart and she and her family are starting the healing process. It is not at all too late. (I’m becoming an even bigger believer in post adoption education! :-))

    17. Cory Hodgerson says:

      It’s been 2 months. Change your expectations. You are putting way too much responsibility on a 3.5 yr old to fit into an overwhelmingly large family. That has to be intimidating for a toddler. Try to spend one on one time with her.

    18. Ginta says:

      I am in the same boat- a month away from finalizing first adoption of a child I am struggling to love. Through talking to other adoptive parents and reading Creating a Family Facebook posts I came to realize that it is a very common struggle for adoptive parents. Before this child came to into our lives I was so passionate about the idea of adoption, I envisioned how I would snuggle poor neglected orphan in my arms all day long. In reality I dread the time when she gets home from school and look forward sending her off to a week long summer camp. I feel like a monster, but I know I am not one. Because of the same experience adoptive parents have shared with me I have a lot of hope for the future. If I though I was the only one feeling this way, this adoption would have been disrupted a long time ago. It’s been a year with her in our house now and I am starting to have tiny moments of affection toward her. I believe this will continue to increase with time, but right now I feel your pain!

      • Ginta, I’m so sorry you’ve had such a rough transition. While it is not uncommon, especially with older child adoption, it does take active work to resolve. You and your daughter need to be working with an adoption trained therapist. Creating a Family has resources on finding such a therapist.

      • Denise says:

        I am a month away from finalizing an adoption of a 6 year old boy. My husband told me it was him or the child a week after we had him at home because of the child’s behavior towards me such as pretending he was going to punch me in my face, jumping on top of me, hard, and twice peeking in at me through the bathroom door: he caught him once and corrected him but he then caught him a second time. I felt that I could not give up on the child and now I am a single mom and will have to adopt alone. Wow but being on my own was not what I had expected.
        We have good days but overall it is so hard. He is okay with others but very mean and defiant with me. We go to counseling weekly and I have tried the techniques for ODD children but I hate my life now. I had to cut down my work hours because I do not have help and also had to stop training jobs that supplemented my income. That and no help from my spouse means that I use retirement savings every month.
        I just do not like his irritating obnoxious laugh or his personality in general. I want to love him but I cannot even like him. Right now, feel like If I had to do this all over again I would not. Being a single mom of a child who you do not love or like is not what I expected. I am very spiritual so I believe that I must do the Christian way to forgive and accept and sacrifice because he is only a child, but I am not in a happy place. I have a therapist as well to talk to so I am getting emotional help but you cannot force love. And of course everyone is so happy for me and tells me how wonderful it is and I cannot tell them how I really feel. I know that my “son” is also going through a horrible time because he was placed for adoption by his biological mother who said he was ruining her marriage and his stepfather who had take care of him a while but his fiancée refused to take care of him anymore. The biological father said he could not take him and he had a failed placement before me. He has not been in the foster care system but that will be where he would end up if I do not end up adopting him and I cannot imagine a good ending for him at all. I feel that I have to sacrifice in order that I can give him hopefully a more stable life. I pray that with continued therapy and work on both our parts that we can eventually love each other and have a better life than we have right now. But I am so scared … What if it never gets any better? He just wants to go back to live with his stepfather and half brother and who can blame the poor little guy. And I am sure if his mom wanted him back he would want to be with her too. I wish he was easier to like but he is so abusive in the way he treats me that it is very difficult for me to care about him .
        Sorry for this long ramble. Thanks to others for sharing their feelings so that I could share mine

        • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

          Denise, this is a much more complicated situation than a comment in a blog can address. I am very thankful that you and he are each seeing a therapist who can give you advice based on knowing you and the child. If you are working with an adoption agency, reach out to them as well. One thought I had: I realize you don’t want him to go to foster care, but one advantage of having him “in the system” is that you would receive financial help to offset the cost now and in the future of providing the services that he needs. Also, you could request respite care, which it sounds like would be a huge help to you. I have no idea what is involved with getting him into the system and there are clearly disadvantages as well. Talk with your counselor and adoption agency about this before you decide.

    19. Melanie says:

      It is hard not to compare, but there is always adjustments when new family members are added, via marriage, birth, or adoption. You are not alone. Post-partum in adoption is just as real as post-partum in giving birth.

    20. You are right on Dawn with your advice. My one son and I did not bond right away and it was hard. I had a biological son already and once the new boys came it was hard to get attached. I knew I didn’t want these boys to stay in the orphanage but falling in love with them once they came home and the chaos started was not as spontaneous as I had thought and I did go through a time of feeling nothing but guilt.
      I did work out in the end with a lot of help and support from friends giving me creative ways of dealing with things. Support is so important as is unity between you and your husband. My experience led me to write a book called “From Half to Whole” and it is about our journey and how we survived. there wasn’t always love in the air! Good luck I wish you well.

    21. anon says:

      I’d add that personally, I’ve found that adding to the family via adoption and birth are just different – please refrain from trying to compare the two. You might not have the same relationship with your adopted child as your biological ones, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have something good nonetheless. It took me a looong time to come to a good place with my adopted child on this. I tried therapy, research, etc, but the bottom line is that you feel what you feel, and there’s no magic fix for this, only time. I’m always glad to see this discussed, because it seems rather taboo in adoption circles, and I always feel isolated and judged by it.I hope this person finds some support to get through this tough time.

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