I had heard people say they experienced an immediate overpowering euphoric attachment with some of their biological children, but it took time to form the same bond with others of their own genes. It seemed weird. That wasn’t the case with me. In fact, with three biological children, an adopted one, and two in the process of adoption, Jack had been the only exception for me. It wasn’t fair. I had been trying to do the right thing with Jack. With him I had been taking care of what I believed to be a moral responsibility. Shouldn’t it have come with the reward of the experience I had with the others? The attachment and feelings did come over time, but it was different. It wasn’t fair. Now I was off to accept more moral responsibility. I wondered if the same lack of justice would plague my meeting with Kirrill.
Then it hit me. That was the difference. It was the only difference! While I wanted to adopt Jack, I did it more out of responsibility than desire. I was putting off adopting my girls to adopt another little boy. It was before I understood what he would do for our family and me. I naively thought I could do more for him than he could do for me. With the other children I had wanted them more than I wanted anything else in the world. I didn’t care about responsibility or what I could do for the child. I wanted them for me. I wanted them simply because I wanted them.
Was it possible a variation of intensity in emotion was caused by the same mistake with all parents, biological or adoptive? Could a lessening of the experience in meeting a child be caused by a sense of duty to complete an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy? Would a feeling of religious obligation—placed above personal desire—to procreate do the same? How about a husband or wife adding to a family not of their own desire but to acquiesce to a spouse’s?
I sat up and shook my head to clear it. I didn’t have time to worry about other parents and their situations. I had a problem of my own. I was racing up the highway at a mile a minute destined for another failure.
“How far are we from the orphanage?” I blurted.
Stass jerked his head to the side to look at me, obviously startled. “About fifteen minutes. Why, is everything okay?”
“Dandy.” I said sarcastically.
“What?” I guess the word “dandy” isn’t at the top of most Russian to English vocabulary lists.
“Everything is fine.” Fine? Fine? I had fifteen minutes to want to adopt Kirrill more than I wanted anything else in the world.
Amy was now awake and finishing a yawn in the back seat. She sat silent—as if she was deep in thought—for several minutes before speaking.
“Stass, the girls are in the orphanages because of neglect and abuse. Is it the same with Kirrill?”
Kirrill’s story broke my heart. Two young parents decided to marry before the baby was born. He wasn’t six months old when the father accused the baby’s mother of having an affair. He could have handled it better. Almost any way would have been an improvement. The father went home and hung himself. After the funeral, the father’s family began stalking the baby’s mother. They swore they would kill her and she had no reason to doubt their oaths. Fortunately, Kirrill’s sickly grandmother was still in the area and convinced his mother to move back home where she could protect her. It worked well for a couple of months. Then Kirrill’s mother woke up to find the cold stiff body of the grandmother in her bed. It was too much. She took her baby to the orphanage and signed over custody. Then she ambled home and switched off her life.
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