Thursday, September 23, 2010

living in defense mode

Attachment. It's a word adoptive parents hear....and if your the kind of adoptive parent who went to pre-adoption classes or read books on adoption, you have heard that word attachment A LOT.

And if you are like me, you constantly worry about it. Studies have shown that kids who have proper attachment with their adoptive parents--especially the mother have less behavior issues later in life.

There is great emphasis that when the child first comes home, that the mother be the primary caregiver and that you wait 2-6 months on having a babysitter...etc. With infants, having even grandma hold the baby for long periods of time is greatly discouraged. There are a lot of different opinions regarding attachment and a lot of do's and don'ts. We had have these kind of conversations a lot with all our friends and family who have not adopted to prepare them.

Of course friends have disagreed. Some spoke to other adoptive parents who didn't worry about proper attachment and told us we were crazy. But I ignored them and moved on, but recently, a dear friend, let loose in a public way, their disagreement with my parenting decisions. And I am left pretty angry and hurt. Their anger stems from my lack of church involvement in the last 6 months.

I have been married for 11 years. And for over 7 of those years, I have begged God to allow me to be a mom and start my ginormous family. Sometimes, I was so depressed, I literally couldn't get out of bed. And then it finally happened. I became a mom.

Attachment isn't just about the baby attaching to the parent. It is about the parent attaching to the baby as well.

I did not carry my son in my belly for nine months. I did not feel him kick. I did not give birth to him. When I look at him, I don't see any resemblance of myself or my husband. One day I was not a mom and the next day a total stranger was placed in my arms.

My greatest joy came at Hannah's (the birthmom) greatest heartbreak. In former blogs, I have talked about my love for her. I'm not going to pretend for a second that he's better off with me as his mother. I saw her with her daughter. I saw her with him. She is wonderful. And knowing how badly she is hurting, breaks me. And then I look at this beautiful, happy boy I get to love and he has her eyes, her smile. It took a long time to begin to feel like his mom and not his very lucky baby sitter or legal guardian. Don't get me wrong, loving him was instant. But the motherly attachment builds every moment. And of course it doesn't help that when I go into public, I get asked about his "real" mom while I am still working at feeling like his real mom.

So, I wanted to take time and be with my son. I wanted to take time and bask in the joy of motherhood. I wanted to take time, no make time for attachment. And I don't regret it and I wouldn't change it. But I hate that instead of just basking in the joys of finally being a mom, I have to defend myself. I have left him with a family member or close friend to go have dinner with my husband. I have left him with my husband to go have a mommy break with a girlfriend almost weekly the past few months. I'm not scared of leaving him with people. I just want to enjoy being his mom. My adoption facilitator advised waiting till he reached the 6 month mark before leaving him in the church nursery. She has 14 children (9 through adoption) and has fostered over 90 children, so I tend to take her advice. He turned 6 months on a Friday and was in the nursery the following Sunday.

Anyway, I just want to focus on my kid and how my family dynamic has changed now that there is a child involved. My family is more important than my church life. And in my prayers with God, I know He wants me to focus on my son. I belong to two church growth groups and that doesn't count my adoptive mom group or a very active social life with other couple friends.

I'm not a shut-in. I just have different priorities now. And I guess I just needed to vent about it. I love my son. I love being a mom just like I love being a wife....and that's all I want to be right now.


  1. You're a wonderful mom, and you are doing exactly the right thing for him and your family.

  2. People always have opinions about the way things should/shouldn't be. The important thing is to do what is RIGHT for you and your family. I'm sorry that you were hurt. I'm sure whoever it was has no idea where you are coming from. It's hard to understand foreign concepts without making an effort to understand.
    I wouldn't let almost anyone hold Michael for a while and it was a bit easier to let go with Sophia but that was because she was so "attached" right away with breast feeding. I felt secure. Sometimes it's more about how attached we feel, like you said.