I love this article: Becoming Elvie's Mother
While we did not pursue a special needs adoption, the heart of what Finding Magnolia (the writer) shares is a question I get asked quite often by others who are interested in adoption.
"When did you feel like you became Noah's mom?"
In other words, how quickly did attachment/bonding happen? It's not a secret that every adoption is completely different just as every child and every parent are different as well. So there is definitely not a "one-size-fits-all" process.
Since Noah was 11 days old when he was first placed in my arms, the bonding process was relatively quick on my part and I feel it was the same for him. (Can't say the same for the husband though.) However it did not happen immediately. When we arrived home for the first time with Noah, we too just sat there and looked at him wondering what to do next. Obviously the logical part of feeding/changing a baby came into place, but having a newborn to solely care for was new territory. We spent New Year's weekend getting to know our little miracle as much as we were able.
I did not feel like a mom, let alone Noah's mom, that first week at least. It felt like we were temporarily caring for a baby that belonged to someone else. Bonding with him came very naturally after a few days but honestly the first time I felt like his mom was during my first outing with him by myself. The husband had gone back to work after taking a week of PTO and I needed to get Noah to the pediatrician for his second PKU test.
Something just clicked when I was out in public with him. He belonged to me and everyone who saw us would know it.
Charlize Theron was on The Ellen DeGeneres Show several weeks back and something she said about her adoption experience I identified with down to my very core. When Ellen asked her how it felt to fall in love with your non-biological child Charlize said, "It just feels exactly how it's supposed to feel. I don't know how to describe it. It just feels right."