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Love & attachment

As I hug and kiss my son goodnight (for at least the third time, 2 hours past his bedtime!) I can't help but think about my other children. How I long to hold them in my arms, kiss them goodnight, show them how much they are loved, let them know that I will always be their mother.

Yesterday Jon and I attended our first education meeting. This was put on by our local agency conducting our homestudy. The focus of this meeting was to talk about what to expect once our children are home. We learned a lot about "triggers" for our children - when life could be more difficult, we also learned more about attachment issues, and we learned/discussed what it will be like for our children to live in a "white privileged" family & neighborhood.

Since this education, my mind has been swarming with many different thoughts. Many I'd like to try to convey into my writing, although this may take a few blogs. Tonight, as I work on getting my son to go to bed - and Stay in bed! - I have been thinking a lot about love & attachment.

No matter how a child is adopted, whether it is straight from the birth hospital, or out of a long stay at an orphanage, every child that is adopted has gone through a loss. I think of the Grandparents I've loved and lost, the friends I've loved and lost and I think of the pets I've loved and lost. Loss is never easy. Never easy. As an adult, I've dealt with my loss, I understand my feelings and why I'm "sad". How does a child deal with this? How does a child understand loss?

Through this process of loss, many children are "lost" themselves. My children will have been put into an orphanage, where a couple people will be given the task of taking care of multiple children. My children won't have constant care. My children won't necessarily be hugged every time they scrape a knee or have a tummy ache. My children may not understand why they are in an orphanage. My children might think that living in an orphanage is "normal". So why, when they join their forever family in our home, would they trust us and realize that what they have now gained is life, instead of loss?

Many adopted children have what is known as "attachment disorder" or if not the disorder, they have attachment issues. Some signs of this would be lack of eye contact, stiff body when hugged or held, disliking physical comfort, having irrational emotions (eg. such as not crying when hurt).... the list is actually quite long. How do I deal with this as a Mother? How will I show my children they are loved, no matter what. How do I show them that they are part of my forever family and that God has blessed us by having them as part of our family?

How will I help my children not feel so much pain from their loss? I will want them to see their gain.

Love. I will love them. I will love them until my dying day.

Truthfully, I'm sitting here crying. I already love them, and I don't even know how old they are, what they look like, when they will join our family, what their personalities are like, or even what gender they are. But they are mine. They are part of my family, and I LOVE THEM.

So, love and attachment. How will I make sure they know they are loved? Well, for starters, I will do my best to show and say how much I love them and how important they are to me. How could I not do that! I also plan to do my research though and learn more about where my children will be coming from. I've never experienced the loss in life that they have, so I have a learning curve ahead of me. Since they aren't here physically to love, I'm going to at least try to understand by giving myself a little more education. I've been recommended a book, not only from the meeting yesterday, but Jon's Aunt had given us this book a couple years ago when I had talked to her about foster care or adoption. She has done both and very much trusts this author and what she has to say about attachment for adopted children. It is called, "The Connected Child" by Karyn Purvis. Nothing like a "light" read before bedtime each night!  :)    But I am ready and willing to delve into this book and learn how to connect more with my children. Has anyone else read this book? What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment - I'd love to hear from others.

Well, I'm just about spent thinking about all of this. I'm sure I could ramble on and on about just this thought alone, but I'll spare you the mumbled words.  :)
I think I'm off to get an Owie Owl or two done before heading to bed. I have some cute ones cut out and ready to go on my ironing board - they are so stinkin' cute - they make me happy to be sewing!

Thank you all for thinking of my family while we take these next steps. I can't express enough how much your love and support means to us.

In Christ,
Mara

Comments

  1. Keep on writing Mara! I am so enjoying reading about your family's journey.

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  2. Katie (Jewison) JohnsonJanuary 19, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Beautiful words Mara! I had chills and tears reading this! I love that you are sharing this experiance with all of us! I pray that soon you know more about these children that you already love to the ends of the earth!

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  3. Thanks for sharing! You have a gift of writing & a gift of Love - I also had tears in my eyes as I read through your heartfelt words! These children that are your's are going to be so blessed! Praying for all of you as you continue in this journey that has so many unknowns.

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  4. Hi Mara and Jon,
    Val passed this along on FB and I am so glad I opened it and read it. I too have tears. I am living the life you talk of with my adopted son who has reactive attachment disorder.

    My journey with him the past 11 years has been full of those unknowns, but I continue to learn and grow each day. There has been much heartache, but much joy too! Yes, love all you can, it's all you can do sometimes. I have never looked back, only forward, and I would do it all again. God gave this child to me and it has been my biggest challenge and my biggest triumph.

    Educating yourselves now is so important and so smart. I went into it thinking if I loved him enough, everything would be just fine. It hasn't always worked out that way, but I know I have made a difference and that has to be enough.

    God Bless You Both, you will be in my prayers as you continue on your journey, and if you would ever like to talk to me please let me know... Julie, an old friend from Zion

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  5. Mara we adopted our son Nikolai from Russia, and we started doing 'Music Together' classes, it's a 'mommy and me' type class, once a week. http://www.musictogether.com/ My husband said that after ONE class, that our son started making more eye contact with me. WHICH WAS HUGE.. not just for attachment, but attachment to ME, bc I'm a woman, and all he had was female caregivers, all who came and went, I'm sure perhaps some mistreated him (bc he hasMusic is a great tool in your adoptive parenting 'tool belt'! - Kathy

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