Does She Love Me | Dugan Adoption Diaries


I knew without a doubt that I would love Selah with every fiber in my being .

But only because while we were matched with “S” , a sweet little foster boy I took care of a few times a week , squelched that fear in me . Before knowing him tiny slivers of doubt would surface . Painful slivers . Honestly,  I wondered . Would I feel the same love for her that I do my other children . Or would I feel set apart from my daughter ? Would I attach to her ? Would it all be natural ? Or seem forced and foreign ?

But as I snuggled that little boy day after day , I fell madly in love with him . I was sad to leave  him at the end of the afternoon and wondered how he was doing when I wasn’t with him . I broke more than one speed limit to get back to him faster in the mornings . He stretched , and tore , and literally ripped my heart apart. I truly loved him like he was my own , though he was never mine , never to be mine. This love totally took me by surprise. Today he is HOME and I’m thankful . However, he in such a short time  carved out his own home in my heart . I’ll never stop praying for him , missing him , and loving him .

Love Covers A Multitude…

When Selah was born , the love I felt for her was instantaneous . The following 43 hours I loved her fiercely , all while knowing she may never truly be mine . I didn’t want to leave her side for one second . Her first night Michael and I went back and forth from the hospital to the hotel every 2 hours just so we could feed and hold her . I absolutely hated the second night we weren’t allowed to stay with her overnight because of hospital policy . My heart ached leaving her behind, and the nurse almost had to push me out the door . He told me to sleep . I still think that was comical . Obviously, he didn’t know the beatings of a mother’s heart .

Friday morning ,  after “S” signed , I  timidly walked into Selah’s darkened room, picked up her warm little body , held her close to my chest , knowing that she was mine and that I was hers . Hers only because her birth mama loved her so much . So much that she placed her in my care , in my arms, trusting me to love her completely .

Love Covers A Multitude…

I already loved her . In fact, I already was loving her months prior  to her birth . Everyday , in the shower , I prayed for her, sometimes with tears mixing in with the water . I would write her name in the fog on the glass door . She was wanted , desired and every bit as loved as if I was carrying her .

But I didn’t carry her .

She came into this world not knowing my heartbeat , never hearing  my voice .

For nine months she was cocooned in “S”‘s belly . It was the rhythm of her heartbeat that brought her comfort and security . It was the sound of her voice that lulled her to sleep .

I loved her but she didn’t even know me . I was a stranger to her.

Would she ever love me? 

That question was a new fear that grew in me as I held my precious little daughter in the wee hours of the morning , with only the hospital hallway lights lighting her perfectly sweet, scrunched up – face . I wondered often in those dark nights if she missed her Mama, “S”, I am more than sure she did.

That first week she cried in my arms for hours and hours . We paced that tiny little room together . My voice didn’t instinctively calm her , nor did my embrace . When her cries finally tired her out, she would lean her cheek into mine – and I would sit very still as not to wake her , not to break the moment with needless movement . At all hours of the evening and early on into the morning I’d hold her like that as my arms ached and my eyelids were heavy .

I was never ever going to let her go .

It was in that room that she began to know me and I her. I’d whisper sweet nothings in her ear . I memorized the curve of her neck and counted her dimples . I breathed her in, in those hours. I learned her sighs , her whimpers, her yawns and the way she moved her body .

I instantly became her advocate and her voice , making sure her feedings were on time, that she was being handled gently , and was never left alone while awake. I was THAT mom in room 608 . You know , the mom who nurses talk about at shift change with hushed whispers and an exaggerated eye roll or two . But I didn’t care . Her daddy and I would often take shifts to eat and sleep so that she would always have one of us with her . The rare occasion we did leave her it was scheduled around her feedings so that we were the only ones to give her , her bottle and change her .

She was learning my heartbeat when she laid on my chest . The smell of my skin was slowly becoming familiar . She was learning to trust my voice , to trust that we would take care of her every need . We were beginning to mold into each other.

But was it enough ?

Today, our Selah girl rarely fusses or cries . However, she’s not the most cuddly baby either. She prefers to mostly fall asleep in her cradle, which of course only helped feed into my insecurities as her mama.

Does she need me ? Does she know me ? Does she love me? 

Oh the ache .

These are some of the things adoption blogs don’t talk about . The quiet , unspoken fears of adoptive parents…

Lately though I don’t wonder. You, see that ache has been replaced with reassurance . Love has been built in thousands of little , seemingly unimportant moments. Moments that I was there . That I showed up. That I was present.  Her eyes now follow me as I move across the room . Her face lights up when she hears my voice .  If I’m gone too long , she complains. And when I pick her up and hold her close – her cheek instinctively finds mine .

I am her home , I am her mama.

Love covers a multitude …

The other night , she woke , for seemingly no other reason but for me to hold her . In the darkness , we made our way to the couch . Instead of eating she tucked her head under my chin , and she fell back into a deep sleep , listening to the sound of my heartbeat . With her arms around my shoulders . We melted together . And she sighed the happiest, most content little sigh ever.

I love you mama . 

I love you my daughter .

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