This post was originally published on Role/Reboot Role/Reboot and has been republished with full permission.
by TINA TRASTER
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt make it look easy. They adopt kids from all corners of the world and the media broadcasts images of perfect Kodak moments. They’d have you believing families bond and blend instantaneously.
They don’t. Not always. Not in my experience, or in the experience of many others. Sometimes the road to loving your adopted daughter is long and twisted and scary. You know something is wrong—but is it her? Is it you? You drown in shame and confusion, hiding your feelings from the world. It can’t possibly be that you’ve gone to the other end of the world to get this baby and you’re not bonded after a month, six months, two years.
I knew something wasn’t right early on. We adopted Julia from a Siberian orphanage in February 2003. She didn’t clutch to me or gaze in my eye. She never rested her head on my shoulder or relaxed into a warm embrace. She didn’t respond if I sang or read to her. It was like she was there, but wasn’t.
For a while, weeks, maybe months, I sank deeper and deeper into depression, thinking I’d made a terrible mistake. Maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a mother?
Julia was a little more responsive with my husband, but only somewhat. For the first 10 months, I suffered guilt, shame, and sadness. After traveling 10,000 miles, twice, to bring home this child, I was unwilling to let anyone know how I really felt. Then the revelations began.