She was talking about her pregnancy. Which is fine, I love to listen to her. Then she mentioned that her husband never talks to her belly in his normal voice and she is afraid that their baby won’t bond with him. Because he isn’t used to hearing his father’s voice. Talking to him. Through her pregnancy. Which got me thinking about her heartbeat from the inside. And how her baby has been listening to that. Just as quickly as those thoughts came to me and a pang of longing came over me, I softly spoke.

“Do you think E is bonded to us? To me, as her mother? To her father? To her brothers? Do you think she has completely bonded to us?” She nods her reply and states, “Of course she is!” I then mention that she didn’t grow in my body, but in my heart. She didn’t hear my voice or my heartbeat for nine months, but she clearly responds to them both now. That hearing a voice in-utero doesn’t mean there is more or less of a bond. Bonding consists of many things.

And then I started thinking. I have given birth and instantly fallen in love with that child. I have given birth and not fallen in love with that child for several days, weeks even. So to me, the fear of bonding wasn’t there. I knew that given time, care, and a ton of snuggles, I would fall in love with the child we adopted. That just like a child from my body, I would have to learn about her. Learn her cues. Learn her likes. Learn her dislikes. And she would have to learn about us. Our sounds. Our smells. Our heartbeats.

Through constant care of this sweet baby entrusted to us, I fell deeply in love. Watching her grow, my heart swells with pride of the little being she is becoming. I know her facial expressions. I can correctly guess what she will do or say next in most situations. I know her favorite colors, her favorite sucker flavor, and what she likes to eat. Just the same as she knows what buttons to push to get her way with her brothers, her father, and yes, with me as well. She is our dream come true. She didn’t grow under my heart, but in it. For years.

And as all of these snippets of our beautiful girl and our lives together for the past four years flashed through my mind, I smiled. And comforted my sweet friend. Knowing without a doubt that her baby will bond with his Daddy just fine. Because his daddy loves him, will be there to pick him up when he falls, to cheer him on at ball games, help him wash his car, and teach him to be an upstanding citizen. It is a bond that didn’t come from carrying him, but from loving him. And that is the best bond of all.