Mushy adoption musings post

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We have now fostered our little guy for nearly six months, and our adoption process is plugging along, perhaps 2-3 months until we travel and head back to the US for his corrective heart surgery.

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I still go into shock when someone asks me how many kids I have and I say “five.” I think to myself, wow, that’s a lot.

Until we took in an extra guest with special needs for respite care last week for 4 days and 4 nights.

After he left again, I breathed a sigh of relief, “Whew, only five.”

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In February we had to leave the country for some required travel, and I came back early with our 5 year old daughter to minimize time away from him, thinking about all that attachment stuff.

It was startling to see his reaction at the door when we joyfully arrived to take him home again.

Even though we had video skyped twice with him while gone, waved and blown kisses, he was afraid to come to me initially and clung to our friend’s arms. Of course, after a few minutes of playtime on the floor he was ok again, but that initial moment was a stark reminder of how fragile that connection is, even after nearly 5 months in our home.

It only took ten days to redirect him.

My friend the psychotherapist told me infants under 1 year, when separated, will begin to attach to a new caregiver often within 7 days. Over one year, less than 14 days.

I remember my adoptive families in the US–as we saw them in our clinic they would say “oh, he bonded from the first day with us and is very attached now at one month” and yes, that may be true, on a preliminary level. But those deeper bonds of trust, mutual giving and love, take time and repeated shared experiences to forge and nothing can speed it up.

As we move along, I see him begin to trust us more: he throws temper tantrums like you wouldn’t believe, he flings himself on the floor, has become a rigidly picky eater. In the beginning he was docile, submissive, and ate every bite on his plate. Now he’s acting more like a “real” 2 year old. And he is learning that although we don’t permit certain things, we love him and pick him up and don’t scold him when he throws a fit. We just snuggle or whatever until he’s over it.

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We are eagerly counting the (unknown) number of days until we can finalize the adoption and get on a plane to the US. It’s kind of weird to not know when the traveling will happen, but suddenly a notice will arrive in the mail saying GO NOW. Especially when we plan to be gone from our home for the next six months. Good thing we’re used to packing fast (here’s an unsolicited plug for my favorite invention ever).

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4 responses »

  1. He is adorable! We adopted Faith at 2 years old. She never was docile. She threw monstrous fits early on. They were more than just 2 year old stuff. It was lying on the floor kicking and screaming for an hour. She would reach for us, but after we’d pick her her up she would bite us and scratch us. We’d put her down and she’d start up again. We finally after the fits decreased that it was grief that she was expressing. Even now (she is 10) she has trust issues. When she is disciplined, she always wonders if we love her. But she is such an sweetie and I can”t imagine my life without her.

  2. I am so excited for you, your family and Big Z….it is indeed startling to go through these initial attachment phases. Our oldest was very docile initially also (orphanage for 7 months), but our second was in foster care, and he so missed his foster mom that he would literally turn my face away from his when I held him. Thanks for sharing!❤️👍

  3. As always, thanks for sharing your heart. You all are ever in my mind and heart! Sending lots of air hugs and love!

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