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Sunday, October 18, 2009


Well this evening I actually had to speak up and advocate for my child at church, and it was slightly stressful. First let me say that I hate confrontation.... as in de-test it! I am such a people pleaser, and sometimes that is so not a good thing. But this evening my mommy radar went up as I happened to stop by and glance in the window to observe Small Fry.

They were having story time and he typically has two regular leaders in his classroom. But today he had a parent subbing because one of the leaders was out. When I happened by he was comfortably sitting in the lady's lap on the floor and every so often would lean back and look up into her face and give her a big smile. So, my radars going up slightly, because I'm concerned about attachment here. Then once the story was done all the other children got up and started to move about the room and play, but my son stayed right where he was leaning back against the lady and content to stay there. My radar was definitely up by then!

He finally got up and that's when I asked a friend to pop in and ask if I could take him out to change his diaper. (It really was very wet cause The King Fish was rushing out the door and did not change it before he headed to church). So I took him out and rocked him in another quiet room and talked to him and listened to him tell me about stars. Then I changed his diaper and I dropped him back off for the last 20 minutes or so.

At the end of the night I talked to his teacher and just tried to share a little bit about my concerns and tried to explain a little bit about attachment with orphans. But her little ones were there and Small Fry was interrupting and I'm not sure how clear I sounded or if I made much sense. I also asked how he did this evening, as last week he and another little boy were both at odds with one another all night. This week she said she noticed when he would want a toy that someone else had, or the two wanted the same toy, he would get mad and you could see the rage on his face. It's true he does get mad, and we call him on it, and he calms. It's very short lived,.... and we are working with him on sharing and kindness, and as his speech improves, expressing his anger with words. Some of this is normal toddler behavior, and then I am sure some of this is orphanage related. On our first visit with him in Russia he had a nasty bruise on his upper arm and the caregiver said another child had bit him when he wanted a toy. Survival of the fittest. Some of it is just what he deals with anger-wise from the abandonment and first two years of his life. It's all wrapped up in there. Anyway, I love this leader, she is such a sweet woman.... and I really think she will take what I said and hopefully redirect Small Fry when need be.

Sometimes though it's so frustrating because most people don't really understand. I mean, before we adopted... I didn't get it. I was clueless about attachment and bonding. I wish I had the time to share uninterrupted tonight. I wish I had the time to share with so many people..... I'd like to share how infants from the time they are born, can detect their Mama's cooing and whispering sweet nothings in their ears. How infants when they can focus, can see their Mama's smile and learn to mimic that smile... they learn to look into a Mama's eyes and they trust. There basic needs are met from infancy, unlike our son who from the shape of his head was left to lie in a crib for many hours without any stimulation. No one cooed in his ear, and no one looked deep into his eyes while rocking him - marveling at this precious baby.

I'd like to share how my son has lived in an orphanage for two years and how he has been bounced from care giver to caregiver. No one that he could call Mama. He has seen many friends come and go from his life as they have been adopted into other families. This child has experienced loss and abandonment at an early age. I'd like to say that he has also lived in an environment where it has been survival of the fittest. We are working with him to unlearn some behaviors from the orphanage, and he has come amazingly far. Yes, he still has issues with some rage when he is struggling for a toy, or he wants his way, and we are working on that.

I'd like to say, please don't ask him for a hug.... even though I know he might want to give it freely to you. He has never had a mama or a daddy and we have worked for 9 long months to establish ourselves as his mommy and daddy. We don't want to confuse him or risk losing all the hard work we have achieved establishing this bond and attachment. Please just ask him for a high five. He'll gladly give you one.

It's difficult nights like these that I must remember what my friend Wendy said to me.... "Just remember where he has come from. He has only been with you a little while and he has come so far. You're doing great mom." Thank you Wendy- I'm clinging to those words tonight.


Melissa said...

It is hard at times. It is hard to try and explain the why. Why I do that or why we don't do that. It is even hard for me to remember where Colby has come from and the journey we have made. I'd like to forget it all but we can't. That wouldn't be fair. And it is especially hard to explain why to family. They want what is best but they don't really understand. Keep up the good work. Small Fry is doing great and so are you!

Troy and Rachel said...

Hang in there. I've been a little testy lately with Daniel - I believe we have a solid attachment, but there are occassional things that send my radar flying up also. I think you're a great mommy to even notice those things and to do something about it. I believe we see characteristics of Daniel of the "survival of the fittest" phrase also. My mom constantly reminds me that "he had to". And she's right and we'll just keep working on it! Thanks for sharing your story!

Tracey said...

Continuing to pray for you. You're doing such an awesome job and one day Small Fry will thank you!!!

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