NATALIE MORALES: ALL PARENTS HAVE FACED THOSE HUMBLING MOMENTS
From Natalie Morales, TODAY host and national correspondent
Posted by Jen Brown
October 1, 2009 / allDAY MSNBC.com
On Thursday we will be talking to Anita Tedaldi, a woman who adopted a child and then gave him up 18 months later. As horrible as that headline sounds, you realize how just complicated the situation was and how agonizing the decision to give up little “D.” was when you read Anita’s own account. It’s a piece that will bring you to tears.
When that essay was first published in the New York Time’s Motherlode blog, many people accused Anita of being irresponsible for taking on more than she could handle, for not trying hard enough to make her adoption work (even though she writes about trying everything from months of therapy to bonding sessions with a psychologist, etc.). Several others, however, applauded Anita for her courage and the strength she showed in making what she felt was ultimately the best decision for the child.
No matter how you feel about Anita's decision to terminate her adoption, her story is one almost every mother can relate to on some level. That’s because this is not necessarily about terminating an adoption as it is a story of a woman coming to terms with her emotions and accepting the fact she couldn't be the kind of mom she thought she would be to her adopted child. As much as we all like to think we can do it all, we’ve all had that humbling moment – or many humbling moments -- when we must recognize our own limitations. When was the last time you felt like you weren't a good enough parent? How often have you asked if you are doing the right thing, whether in loving or disciplining your child?
In her essay, Anita describes struggling to bond with D. the way she bonded with her five biological children. I know many women who have experienced that with their own flesh and blood. Upon becoming a parent we are often told that you will experience a love like no other. All this is very true, but some mothers don’t have that instant bond the second this brand new life is placed into their arms. It doesn't mean they don't become amazing supermoms and love their children more than anything, but we all love differently and some need time to forge that bond.
So perhaps some of you will still find fault with Anita; others might sympathize with her situation a little more when considering her story through the lens of a parent with their own limitations and shortcomings. We can all, I think, agree Anita did not fail in giving D. a better life in the end. Where might little D be now? Perhaps still in an orphanage in a third world country with a variety of health issues. I asked Anita if she felt she saved little D when he needed saving, and to that she responded with a resounding "yes."
I hope you read Anita's essay with an open mind and an open heart -- it will make you think, it will make you cry, it will make you question what it means to love as a parent.