How sad I am that on homecoming day at ten days of age, Retha (Mom) and Mike (Dad) momentarily lost their confidence, giving in to fear. When Mike handed tiny me to Retha, I arched my back and screamed bloody murder. I’ve since learned that whenever a baby arches it’s back, it means it is in a lot of pain. Not only was there the pain of being unwanted and unplanned, but the pain of inexplicable loss that kept me from eating. I’m sure the nurses were good, but how often was I touched during those first ten days? To this day, I startle when someone touches me unexpectedly. Actually, this mound of newborn suffering created in me a cry print, which is akin to a fingerprint. It expresses the unique need of the one who is crying. Mine was, “I lost my mama whom I loved with all my heart. Where is she? Where did she go? I’m going to die without her.”
Who can even imagine how Retha felt? Perhaps, like a bucket of ice water was thrown on her? She probably shook in shock, like anyone when something unfathomable happened. Where was Mike? Was he holding her close? Knowing him for a lifetime, he was probably running for the back bedroom. And, there Retha was. All alone. No one to help her, no one who had the presence of mind to hold her close, even my grandmother. It would be easy for her to read rejection into my screams. “Maybe my baby doesn’t like me, or maybe I’m not suited to be this baby’s Mom. If I were, Sherrie would have snuggled into my welcoming arms immediately. She would have known my inexplicable love for her. But, this instance is proof that I am not enough to meet my child’s needs.”
Note that this unpleasant moment didn’t have a permanent effect on me, but it sure made for a challenging homecoming day.
Best wishes to you as you interpret your child’s cry print. I encourage you to check out a special FB page dedicated to these challenging dynamics. Look for WHAT PARENTS CAN DO WHEN ADOPTED KIDS REJECT LOVE.