Friday, October 25, 2013

the capacity to love

I've been thinking about this post for a long time and while I don't have all my thoughts worked out, I think I need to write it for ME.

A few people have asked me if I love Anna as much as Ryan. 

I'm always taken back a bit when someone asks me if I love Anna as much as I love Ryan.  But instead of thinking about whether or not the question bugs me, I thought I would write about it because I think a lot of people might have the question.  So here goes...

I think it would be more honest if I said I love Anna in a different way than Ryan.  In some ways, I love her so much that it breaks my heart, like when I think of her past and her future and the challenges that she is going to have with her surgeries, speech therapy and dealing with the fact that she was abandoned.  Obviously, I don't have any of those types of feelings with Ryan since he is biological and doesn't have any special needs.  But I will say that on the day we received her, our "Gotcha Day" I thought my heart was going to burst with love for this little girl.

Anna on Gotcha Day after she finally stopped sobbing after her nanny left.

In other ways, I will admit that I have struggled with Anna.  But I think it has more to do with our life circumstances than anything.  Bringing her home, starting medical appointments a few days after being home, having surgery 2 weeks after bringing her home, my business trip last week and the biggie - moving across the country next month.  All of those have been extremely stressful and have not allowed me any downtime to just enjoy her and love her.  I've been so stressed with the kids fighting and getting ready for the biggest tradeshow of the year and finding renters and a place to live that I haven't been able to sit down each night and read a book with the kids or play with them.  I've been putting far too many movies on the TV to babysit them while I get things done.

When I think about Anna, I am amazed at how well she is doing.  She has totally attached to each of us.  I got home very late Wednesday night - it was actually around 2am Thursday morning.  And when she saw me Thursday morning, she lit up and called out "mama".  That melted my heart as much as when Ryan calls me "mommy." 

Anna was very fortunate to have a loving nanny who took good care of her.  Anna was very attached to this nanny.  And I will always be grateful for the amazing care she received while she was in China.  We have been struggling with boundaries though because she had a full-time nanny who cared for her round the clock.  I also think Anna got her way a lot.  But other than that, she has been great.  I've already mentioned what a great sleeper and eater she is!

And when I have moments of exhaustion and feelings of being overwhelmed, I think of my favorite scripture:  "Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that he may be filled with this love (charity)". 

Unfortunately for my little family, I have had to pray to be filled with love a LOT over the past month.  But it isn't just love for little Anna.  I've prayed for love for Ryan and Tony too. 

So do I love Anna as much as Ryan?  I would say absolutely yes but I also have to work at it just as I have to work at being a good mother and loving Ryan and being a good wife and loving Tony.  I believe we all have an unlimited capacity to love, the key is how hard we work at it.

But I will say that it feels like Anna has always been ours.  And most of all, with Anna, our family feels complete. 


  1. I think those are very "normal" feelings for any parent. Our first daughter was a perfect baby- seriously, perfect! Our next literally screamed for the first two years of her life. I used to tell Tyler that the kind of love I felt for her was "hard" love. Love for every one of our children is different, but those two are the most starkly different. You're amazing and you're going to make it. I think we always think everything we do will affect our children forever and we stress so much about it. In reality, most of the details of young life will be forgotten (how many movies they watched, etc...), but the feelings of love and belonging will remain and you and Tony are NAILING IT in that category!

    1. Oh Charlotte - that made me teary. Thank you so much for that comment - I needed it!