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.

Virus, you go sit in the corner or go home!


So my sweet, happy, baby boy was infected by a very, very mean and evil virus called "theparentswon'tsleepforweek" virus. It was awful. He wouldn't take liquids. We spent Monday night at the pediatrician and Tuesday at the ER.....and my usually sweet boy screamed so much he started losing his voice.

So when I was told by the pediatrician to take my son to the ER, I wish I was the model of a cool mom. I was not. I started to cry and panic. I called a close friend of mine who is also my son's godmother and told her I had to go to the ER and she started to cry and couldn't even speak. She sent me a text apologizing saying she was not the one to call in these kind of situations. But honestly, her crying stopped my crying. I was relieved to have someone else just as worried and it made me even more grateful she is J's godmother, because I know she loves him so much. I was able to gain a little composure then.....of course all was lost at the hospital when my son was hooked up to an IV and all the other wires and such. He could not be comforted and my husband and I felt utterly helpless.

This was just a virus and I remember thinking..."How on earth do those mothers of terminally ill children do this?" I have nothing but total awe at their strength and beg God to spare me from that.

He is nearly back to normal....just a really gross, stuffy nose and J and I battle cleaning it out multiple times a day. Sometimes he wins.

But he seems to be smiling and laughing even more now and today has been either trying to kiss me or chew on me. He doesn't try to bite down, so I'm going to claim it as kisses.

I know kids get sick and it's something I can not escape. But hopefully that virus doesn't make a visit back to our house for a very, very long time.