What The First Week After Adoption Looks Like

You got your call. It is the call you’ve dreamt about getting.you’ve been chosen to raise a child as your own. Your heart races, your excitement is through the roof, you can’t wait to share the news with everyone you know that you’re going to be parents.

The big day arrives, all the preparations have been made, you’ve stocked up on diapers, formula, baby clothes, new blankets, you may have had a baby shower with friends and family. You are ready to be a parent, you’ve never been more sure of anything in your life as you are about this moment: the moment you get to meet your new child.

There is no love greater than the love of a parent for their child, natural born or adopted, there is no love greater. The immediate parental bonding happens naturally, the butterflies and nerves are on full alert all of the time, and every emotion possible is running on overload. Every emotion surges through your body all at once; it’s an experience unlike any you’ve ever encountered, and one I promise you’ll never forget. And then the realization hits. You are now officially parents; you are responsible for an innocent, beautiful, perfect, precious child; that’s the moment panic hits.

I remember our drive home with our brand new baby girl. My face hurt so much from smiling, my eyes hurt so much from crying, my heart was overjoyed with love, and my husband said to me from the front seat, “Now what?”

Neither of us had been a parent before, my daughter was our first child, and although we’d each been around children our entire lives, neither one of us knew what it meant to be a parent. I honestly didn’t know how to respond to his question; it was a valid question. We’d prepared as much as we could for her arrival but emotionally we had no idea of what to do next.

I’d read the books, I’d talked to friends and family about her anticipated arrival, I knew she’d need diapers changed, need to be fed and held and loved, but what else would I need to know? Luckily it just kind of happened, and when I didn’t know I asked my own mother or mother-in-law. 

The first week she was home I remember being so completely exhausted I could hardly stand. I wasn’t used to her schedule, her little noises, the constant worry, what if I did something wrong? Pure exhaustion was an understatement of our first week, but it was an amazing bliss. We had a dog so we knew it would be essential that the dog knew our daughter was going to be there to stay. We introduced the two and after our sweet dog made her way around our baby and sniffed every inch of her, she sat down next to her and never left her side. She knew instinctively that our daughter was now her responsibly too and they were instantly best friends. 

We watched every little move she made, held her closely as much as we could, fawned over every sound she made, giggled at every little face she made, we basked in the joy of being new parents. We each took turns holding her, changing her, feeding her, kissing on her, and just watching her in awe. Our first week as parents brought more joy to my life than I ever knew life could give. She was the most amazing gift I’d ever received, she still is. She instantly became my center, my world, my universe. I adapted to her every need, her eating/sleeping/diaper/etc. schedules willingly and eventually her routine became my own. There wasn’t (still isn’t) anything I wouldn’t have done for her from the moment I met her; she was my daughter the instant we got that call and instantly I loved her with my whole heart and soul.

Everyone we knew wanted to rush over and meet her: family, friends, neighbors, but we had established boundaries. Our first week home was going to be our first week together without interruptions. I asked both sets of parents, who were begging to come out to meet her, to wait until she was home for a couple of weeks before they flew out to visit, everyone else was on standby, too. We wanted that first week to bond and it was amazing.

Although exhausting and overwhelming that first week, there wasn’t a thing I would have changed about it. My precious baby girl, she is my entire world and I fall more deeply in love with her every single moment. I’m proud to be her mother and I’m honored to call her mine.