Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sweet babies, attachment, and more...

Isn't she darling?? I can't believe she's mine!! I just love watching her sleep, she looks so peaceful. Lilyann is doing so well, and she loves hugs, giving kisses, cuddling and laughing. Tonight I had her laughing so hard, she was falling over backwards!

I want to keep things real, though, and explain that even with adopting a very young child, there are issues. Lately the main issue we are having fall under the umbrella of bonding/attachment. Since having adopted an older child from russia several years ago, I found myself right in the middle of the world of attachment disorder. I ended up learning so much about attachment and trauma issues in children, while living with it, that it became a huge part of my life. If I ran into a person that had no idea what I was talking about, I was often surprised, because it was so much a part of my life, that it seemed the norm. But, the fact is, the general public has no idea what attachment/bonding issues are.

Our gotcha day/family day in China was picture perfect. I was handed over this beautiful sleeping angel, much like the photo above (she's just a bit older there). She slept through many of the other babies death defying screams as they were handed over to their parents, or perfect strangers in their eyes. When Lilyann finally awoke, she was curious, and there was no fear. She was content with us. This made things easy for us, but I knew that this was not a really good thing. When we returned home, we were determined to keep her with us exclusively, and to not even allow others to hold her, which is something that is recommended for those adopting little ones her age. Well, once home, this seemed impossible. Or, maybe we just didn't have it in us to tell all of our friends and family that they couldn't hold her, or feed her. It seemed too complicated to explain. So, we allowed people to hold her, and she was fine with that. She began to look a bit more uncomfortable with it, which is a good sign, but after she began walking, she would walk up to anyone, arms up, looking to be held. We finally realized this is much more serious than we thought. She is just so friendly, and comfortable in the arms of almost anyone. So, now, almost 6 months later, we are getting serious about the fact that we really cannot allow everyone to hold her. She needs to learn safe boundaries. She needs to learn that we are the ones that meet her needs. Today was the first day that I began speaking out to people, and it wasn't easy, and I felt bad. These unsuspecting people just see a cute little girl that wants to be held, so they willingly pick her up. I still need to stand my ground on this, and I have no idea how long it will take until she will fully understand that every stranger around her is not a caregiver, or someone that can comfort her. It will be a process!

The other update is that our foster adopt social worker called last week about a little boy. We were not expecting this, because she still needed to finish some paperwork on us, and we thought it would be months before any children came into the picture. He sounds precious. He was a preemie also! He is somewhat medically fragile, and has been in a hospital setting most of his young life. We prayed about it and realized that this is still too soon. Lilyann needs more time. I was very tempted to get more information on this little guy, but I didn't want to waste their time, when a family could be found faster. We believe he will find a wonderful family soon. A couple of weeks before that, I was approached by a friend at work who knows of another little baby boy who is half chinese and in need of an adoptive family! That was shocking because there are not many asians in our area. We were told that when his case is complete we may be contacted. I have no idea if that will ever happen. My heart is open, and just like when we were in the middle of the process of waiting for the right waiting child referral (we had to turn down 2), we knew that we would know when we felt peace. So, again, when that peace comes, we will know it is the right time for another child to enter our family.

Blessings!

5 comments:

A Blessed Life said...

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog. I came over to yours to get to know you better. You've got a beautiful family and I look forward to reading more about you all. It looks like we have a lot of similiar interests.
Leanne

MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...

Hi Michelle! So glad you stopped by. Our Megan is from Jiangxi. We returned home with her April 2007. It is hard to believe that it has been a year already.

Good luck with the attachment issues. It is not easy saying no to others.

Ronda said...

Michelle,
I have been wondering when you would blog about the foster situation...I have been thinking about it. I know that when peace comes about a child-they are meant to be in your home. Lilyann looks so cute-love sleeping children.

Anonymous said...

You are wonderful at letting Lillyann's needs lead you. I know a lot of people send a letter to all friends and family or have no visitors for the first month. It's such a balance isn't it?
I think it's great that you know Lilyann isn't ready. Canada did a very large study on new siblings post adoption and some provinces (like states) put into place the research's findings. Ontario has a rule there has to be 18 months between placements. Now, a lot of people were angry at this, but there is a lot of wisdom in it.
Of course there isn't a hard & fast rule, children are different, families are different but it was to prevent undiagnosed attachment issues and give the highest chance for secure attachment before a new sibling arrived.
The picture is beautiful!
poppy and peony

chicknboy said...

Thank God you know all the ins/outs of attachment so that you recognized these behaviors in Lilyann early on...and that you're willing to do something about it. :)