Posted by: ourwildride | April 6, 2008

Keyed Up

I’m keyed up tonight. Perhaps (wild guess here) having something to do with the fact that I spent about 7 hours driving today with a 7 & 4 year old in the back seat. Then, immediately upon entering the house, I went into hyper mommy mode with the laundry, meal planning for the week, grocery list, and library book round-up. Now I’m feeling ready for the week – just can’t come down.

In the midst of that going on externally, my internal world is all about attachment. And wondering really, honestly, what is it going to be like to bring T home? What does it look like to parent a child with whom your intial interactions (from the child’s perspective) result in trauma and grief? How can we best foster trust and emotional security in our relationship with him?

Certainly parenting him – at least initially – is going to be different from how we parented our other 2 children by the time they reached the 1 year milestone. And we feel fortunate to have access to the research that has been done on attachment and attachment related issues and grief and trauma in a pre-verbal child.

So what are some of the things we would like you to think about regarding his transition?

  • Remember that while we have been excitedly preparing for him to join our family – he is not feeling the same way.
  • It is extremely important that he forms a primary attachment to us and only us. Initially, we will be the only ones performing all the primary care tasks including feeding, changing diapers, bathing, and holding him. And right now we have no idea how long ‘initially’ might last.
  • He needs the right kinds of stimulation which will encourage his attachment to us – not overstimulation. And it doesn’t take much to overstimulate a child in his situation. We will ‘hole-up’ at the house for some time after he comes home.
  • The first priority of attachment is responding promptly to his needs. There is no ‘spoiling’ of him by us during this transition. He has to know, and I mean deep down really know, that we are always going to be there for him. No matter what.

 

And how can you support us during this transition?

  • Respect the choices we are making in parenting him. You may not understand or agree with our choices but they are our choices.
  • Please don’t reach for him or try to hold him (or – this is for my father and brothers… try to feed him ice cream) until he is ready and we will let you know when we think he is ready. This may feel strange or unnatural for you. But we are doing this for him.
  • If you really want to understand attachment, and some of the related issues, and the research that is the basis for some of our decisions, we would recommend reading the book Attaching in Adoption by Deborah Gray.

 

The first few months we have with him are really critical for his long term health. I’m so ready for it. And people on the adoption forums are saying things like ‘better get packing’. Which, of course, I haven’t started just yet. Most of the time it still feels very surreal. But I did move buying a car seat for him to the must-do list for the week. So maybe, just maybe, by the end of the week it might be feeling a little more tangible.

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Responses

  1. Looks like you’ve got a good plan – and the Red-Head and I agree with your book recommendation.

    We’re only a few weeks ahead of you on this time-wise and I can tell you that it helps to prepare yourself and your family for all of this. I was worried that not everyone would understand, but everyone did. You’ve got two terrific kids with whom you’ve clearly made a lot of good parenting choices. Trust your instincts with T just like you did with them and it will work out fine!

    Can’t wait to meet the little dude – it really won’t be long now!

  2. You have clearly researched this carefully, and have an excellent plan in place to help your new son adjust and attach. I commend you, and hope that all goes well!

  3. Well said!!! So well said, in fact, that I’m stealing the whole post (except for that ice cream bit meant for your Dad and brothers, LOL) and sending it out to our friends and family. That is… IF we ever get out of PGN. 😉 I think of you often and am ever-so-ready to see your PINK post. Hang tough, my friend!


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