Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I've Got Nothin

I haven't had much to report lately, nor can I come up with any lame non adoption related topic to blab about. Partly because ALL our paperwork (well atleast all we can do for the moment) is now done and submitted, and partly because I've had a thyroid issue that's had me running around in spastic circles one minute, then passed out in a narcoleptic catatonic state the next. I had days of my heart racing, headaches, foggy brain, blood pressure jacked up...it's been awful. Blood tests showed that indeed my thyroid levels had gone up, and I'd gone from being hypothyroid (not producing enough thyroid hormone) to being hyperthyroid (as you might guess, producing too much). More tests are being done at the moment, as there is a possibility this is all due to to the dreaded pre men...perimeno...you know what word I'm trying to say. The phase of life that takes place before you move on to becoming a mature, wise woman. Like a nice Cabernet you've had time to mellow, you are not too tanic or bitter. Ok that metaphor didn't quite work and has gotten me way off track.
Other than that; I've been thinking about the early days with Bek and wondering what we'll experience with the second. We brought him home at 11 months old. While I was elated beyond words to have finally become a mother and got through the adoption process, trip, etc...I was overwhelmed when we got home. Sure it was in between lots of smiles and new discoveries and the joys of first time motherhood..but it was also very difficult. We had to work hard at attachment. He would physically push me away when I tried to hold him and have inconsolable crying fits. His back arched and his eyes would look anywhere but into mine. There was very little cuddling and he seemed to repel physical contact. Even though I'd read all the books, I was still caught off guard at how difficult this part was. At the same time though, I was fascinated that such a tiny being was capable of feeling those feelings, though they may not have even been conscious feelings; somehow on some level he knew he'd been hurt, and was trying to protect himself from being hurt again. I was driven to help him, to learn everything I could about attachment, and to show him my love no matter how much he protested. If any new adoptive parents are reading this, I think this is of the utmost importance, to really be prepared for this. I know it sounds scary and alarmist, but hey the worst that happens is that you are prepared and maybe you don't need to use all that wisdom you gained. Some kids experience it more than others, but they all, on some level, have some residual effects of neglect, abandonment and institutional living.
We kept him on his bottle longer than what is normally recommended, since food and feeding is a nurturing, comforting act. I made sure I was the one to do all of the nurturing duties, to go to him when he cried immediately. We acted out little scenarios with stuffed animals about mommies and babies, we put stickers on each other's noses to encourage face to face contact, i fed him, even when he "should have" been feeding himself. Fast forward 5.5 years, he is a happy healthy loving boy. He loves his mamma and his daddy like you wouldn't believe. We still have a few quirks, but I guess all kids do and who knows what is a result of a previous life and just personality.
It wasn't easy, but it was so so amazing to watch this transformation, and on the days we had breakthroughs when he first reached out to me with a real desire to be held, when he looked me in the eye and said "mamma", when he cried for me in a normal 'i want my mommy' cry...those moments were worth every tear we both cried!

1 comment:

Kim and Lance said...

Okay, I can tell I've been stressing because I checked my Google reader and had 72 (!) unread blog posts. Sorry I missed this one; a topic near and dear to my heart... attachment and bonding.

I wrote a post a few days ago that describes what you're talking about. Doing things for them beyond the "normal" timeframes, holding time, eye contact, answering all those little cries.

Isn't the fruit of the labor sweet? Even though Jack's been having a hard time lately, he's a dream of a little boy. Funny, sweet, kind and compassionate... I couldn't have done better if I'd birthed him myself!

I've been re-reading my attachment books and gearing up for the next round. I'll let you know if it's any different trying to attachment parent the new one while trying not to activate all the abandonment issues of the older one.

I'm so excited for you guys! And I'm sorry to hear about the peri-menopausal (ssshhhhhh... we don't say that here in our house) stuff. I've been dealing with it for the last couple of years. Its a hoot isn't it?