05 November 2009

attachment preamble

I am not an attachment expert.

I've read a lot of experts and talked to many in-the-trenches experts. I guess now it's my turn to share my view from the trenches.

I've tried to write this post several times, but it's just too big. So, dear viewers (as one of my second grade bloggers was wont to say), there's a whole lot of attachment and coping stuff coming. A whole series, I think. Which seems presumptuous. I mean, who am I to be writing a post on this, much less "a series"? (Although you already know I'm wordy, so the fact that it takes more than one post to manage this shouldn't be too shocking--unless you've only been reading since Lexi came home. Many of those posts have been...brief.) But many people have asked--especially those waiting for an "older" child.

So...here goes. There is a lot that is out of one's control as far as attachment goes. But here's what I've done, single mom adopting this particular six-year-old, that, hopefully, has helped.

It's been six weeks and things are going remarkably well. Really, it's amazing. Ann Marie is going to chime in on the comments and straighten this quote out. Basically, she was seeing signs of attachment in Lexi and I (attachment is a two-way street) after two weeks that she wasn't seeing in Alexander for months. (I'll fix that when you tell me what it really way, AM. I was too tired to remember. Hey--you can even have a guest post!)

I prayed for three-and-a-half years that my children's hearts would be prepared for me and my heart for them. And that's the biggest thing AM saw when we were in the US. Her quote, "Kate, she was just ready." And for that I am so grateful!

So, now that the preamble, disclaimers and celebrity endorsements are out of the way, here's my first gem:

If you can tell that it's going to be a hard day
, and I can tell, because the state of the day depends mostly upon me and how tired I am, then put your child in your favorite outfit. It's much easier to attach to a clean, sweet-smelling, darling child.

Okay, none of the experts told me that. But I think it's true. It may not be as conventional as the other things I did, but I am sharing this with you first, so that you can skip the rest of the attachment stuff if you're sick of reading about it.

16 comments:

srlsfamily said...

Agree- wholeheartedly! I am a single mom to 4 kids. My oldest (adopted at 18 months) was the toughest (both for me and for him). When I adopted my youngest (27 months) I was prepared for a run for my money. But I never got it. She just was ready (primed is the word i used in the first few months)for a mom and a family. We still work on it (1.5 years in) but I think it is a lifelong process. Having been through both types...I'll take the ready ones any day!

Maura said...

I really like the word "ready" - sounds like the perfect way to describe your Lexi when you and she found each other. And I totally agree about the "dress in favorite outfit" idea. On our toughest days with Danny (and even now sometimes), I always thought it helped that he is so cute. I loved him no matter what, but the really bad days were a bit easier when dealing with extreme cuteness. Shouldn't make a difference, but an impish grin from a sweet-looking little guy went a long way when he wasn't being so sweet!

Mrs. Butler said...

I. completely. agree. It is so true, there are days when Mama must do the fashion to take it easier on herself.

Hilarious.

Amy said...

LOVE it!!!
I second that!
LOL

Katie said...

I am having a sidebar with you. So I go to my mailbox today...and there is the sweetest pink note and picture of this fabulous child....what a blessing....she is so wonderful...and so is her momma...

habeshachild said...

what fabulous advice!!

Annie said...

You are so cute....now THAT is advice you can USE!

"Ready" is an interesting word. I actually think it applies more to man/woman relationships. I often think that is how I ended up married; I was READY. It was that or be a nun. (Don't let my husband read this.)

Whe word "ready" doesn't resonate regarding attachment and my adopted children, but perhaps that is just us or me. I am ALWAYS ready; I could fall in love with a child tonight. But not any child...that physical attraction is as important in children as it is in a spouse. Hate to think of a cow smelling and nosing around a calf to see if she'll nurse it - but I think it is an image worth pondering. Not just a visual thing; or intellectual, i.e. "I find this child attractive." It is a whole mish-mash of looks, feel, smell...

But if you don't naturally bond, the sheer act of loving will make it so. At least for me. That's why Maxim is here tonight. I didn't love him. It is hard to love him sometimes, but I certainly do love him.

jen.weber said...

I LOVE that and I think it's true for non-adopted children as well. :) Cute outfits are priceless.

Barb said...

I agree . . . especially the part about judging the day by how Mommy feels in the morning! But, for me, my girl could read me all too well and if we were going to have one of those days, she wouldn't put on a cute outfit that Mommy chose . . . sigh . . . off to watch some reality Tv ;->

votemom said...

there was a sweet picture and precious artwork in my mailbox yesterday too. they are now on my kitchen windowsill. tho i think the photo of your daughter is going in a frame.

God's fingerprints are all over this match. the end.

Lea said...

I agree wholeheartedly also! Good first point Kate!

Julie H said...

Well spoken you wise woman. See, you are already an expert :)

Rachael said...

So true! And a sense of humor helps on the *hard* days too, and I see you've got that down too!

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

A really pretty hair bow helps too. Like Lexi, Genea came to us with short hair (not AS short as Lexi though!). But once it grew a bit, a cute clip with Big Bird on it helps a lot!
I like solid advice... something a person can DO!

beckyww said...

So true! Clean and combed smooths everything along - even attachment!

CYNDI ~ DELANEY'S MOM said...

You are doing what feels right in your heart. And it shows!