Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Effort

I have been hiding. I've been battling kidney stones and infections, too, but I've also been hiding.

I so want to be posting idyllic things about how Bo and I are bonding, about how effortless it is to love him, about how it's like he's always been here.

But I'd be lying.

He is fitting in better than I expected. He loves his new siblings. And they really do adore him. I cannot tell you how much it moves me to watch his oldest sister come into the room, tickle him, and tell him how much she loves him. She has worked hard to bond with him when really, she didn't have to try. She has college plans in two years and will likely miss most of his childhood here. But, she did make the effort and now he loves her, too. My heart swells to see them interact. 

As far as bonding with me....well, we lost a lot of ground with my hospitalization and subsequent illness and surgery. I spent the last two weeks basically laying down. The other kids came to me with questions, snuggles, and to settle arguments. Obviously, Bo doesn't do that yet. And, honestly, I didn't feel good enough to make the effort that he needs from me. 

It was so effortless to love him while in Serbia. Now, when I play with him, it feels forced. I am making myself murmur endearing sweet things in his ear, pushing myself to seek him out when he's playing on the floor, trying to quell the slight panic I feel when he cries and I don't know what to do to comfort him. I try to squash the desire to hand him over to Shawn, who has bonded with him well.

Sometimes, he stares at me suspiciously with those big brown eyes and I imagine that he's thinking me a fraud. 

I made big promises about being his mama during those first weeks and I have not delivered. I'm faking my way to making it and I worry that he's onto me.

It helps to remember that love has always been more about doing than feeling. Even relationships that start with the feelings will end without the doings. True love always involves sacrifice. It's the kind of love that we are called to demonstrate, the kind that begins with obedience.

We will get there. I am devoted to this child of mine. I am making the effort now, and it may take awhile, but the feelings of love will wash over both of us one day. In the meantime, he is very cute and I can certainly live with that!


  1. Love you, dear friend! God's totally got this! But you knew that...

  2. I am so proud of you for writing that and for accepting, that through circumstances beyond your control, you had to step back for a while. And more importantly, for forgiving yourself for it. Bo is a lucky boy to be with you. Thank you for sharing the feelings that others may have and be afraid to admit.

  3. Bless your heart! He will be bonded with you in no time. You are doing a great job mama!

  4. Oh, I completely get it. I had to WORK to love Axel. There were several months when he just felt like the annoying neighbor kid who I wanted to say "Ok, play date is over, go home now." Only THIS was home. These kids come with habits and likes/dislikes that were created by someone else. They don't necessarily fit into our life yet. They have to mold to fit us, and we have to mold to fit them. Eventually it happens. And really, the more people who are in your house to met his needs, the longer it will take for him to bond with you. You can try explain to your older kids that for a time, when you're home if he needs something it needs to come from you. That will encourage him to seek you out. It will also mean that when you come home you don't get a break, so it's a catch 22!!

  5. Tara I love the honesty in this post. You have had a rough go the past little while with the kidney stones and being so sick...I hope you start feeling better soon and things get back to normal. It is wonderful that Bo has bonded well with others in the family...And he will with you too, just give it time, you're doing all you can right now :)