We had a number of friends and family say in advance of our sons moving in that we would just need to ‘smother them with love’ and all would be OK.
It was then repeated by others when they met the children as if love was a ‘cure all’ in the world of adoption.
And yes SO much of what needs to be achieved can be done with love. They
need to feel secure and feeling loved is such an important part of
that, they need to attach and to bond and again love is essential –
however love alone is clearly not enough and I wonder if love is
relevant at all for some of what we have to deal with. In fact as an
adoptive parent of over 4 years I can now confidently say that the ‘love
conquers all’ theory feels quite misguided as it doesn’t take into
account our children’s individuality and their personal history and
worryingly I fear it could stop adoptive parents focussing on the bigger
Regardless, In some cases the children have indeed come from
families that had love. They have been loved – and often continue to be
loved – by their birth parents, yet that love was anything but
enough. Their past is not always about a lack of love, it’s just a love
that was overridden by lack of care, lack of consideration or lack of
Now there is an abundance of love not just from us, but from our
families too: their new grandparents, new aunties, new uncles, new
cousins etc and it’s wonderful to see that love and to see how they are
flourishing from these new relationships.
Most of all though there is our love – a selfless, unconditional and
endless love. We adore our sons and we feel that we fell in love with
them from the very moment we were brought together and that is a love
that we can see has grown deeper than anything we had experienced
previously or anything we could have anticipated. We reassure them daily
of that love and I know they understand it and truly feel it – yet we
can see that the love alone can only achieve so much.
It is painfully clear that no matter how intense the love they are
surrounded by, it has not and can not erase the damage that the early
years have inflicted. It gives us strength and greatly helps us deal
with the troubling behaviour that is a result of their past, it
reassures them that no matter what we will always be here, but it doesn’t change what they have lived through or the resulting hurt, anger and confusion.
How we wish it did, how we wish it was that simple, because smothering them with love has been the really very, very easy part.