Thursday, September 24, 2009

4 months home & attachment update


It's been awhile since I talked about attachment and on this day, Sept. 24, exactly 4 months after a complete stranger handed me my daughter, I thought it would be good to mention how far my champ of a girl has come and yet how far she still has to go.
There's a part of me that evaluates the significance of her time in China with her time home. Her time with us has surpassed her first 2 disruptions. My daughter's attachment was disrupted with her birth Mom after a little time had passed with her & I'd rather not say how long for the sake of her privacy, but she was then moved to a hospital and then to an orphanage for 4 months before she ultimately ended up with a foster family. I think of her time home with us at 4 months and I could easily tell you that she is completely bonded to her family. That she greets us all with her huge smile, a big "HI" and a hug. That she knows who each of us are, that she would much prefer me over anyone, that she has adjusted to the point of more smiles, giggles and laughter over crying and looking away. That her eye contact is dead on, that she craves the snuggles of her Mama and how much she is .trying to say words and that we understand her seamless communication. She is super fun 99% of the time and she is my good time girl. However, to ignore the past of my daughter would be completely ignorant. We don't focus on her history, but her history has helped us to maintain our steadfast commitment in doing it the 'Nancy Th0mas' way. To assume that all is well because of the great amount of change we have seen in her would be foolish because quite frankly, with all the good she is experiencing, she still does not have the ability to speak her fears, to verbalize her pain and to ask questions.
Recently when we were at Disney, my girl had a smack down episode with a happy little girl about the same sage. I have no clue why, it came out of nowhere and it made me question the anxiety she still feels at times. I wondered if this place carried to many people and she was not ready for that busy of a place. Do large busy crowds = high anxiety? Maybe.
Some of the attachment things that we still practice every day with Eme is holding time, especially at nap and night. Immediate family members are the only ones that hold her for comfort, bath her or feed her, all food passes through our hands first. Absolutely no kisses from anyone other than Mommy, Daddy & brothers. This rule will stay into affect for quite some time because Eme tends to seek kisses from anyone that is close in range, from adults to children. She will lean into them and give her humming sound that she does right before she desires a kiss, that alone shows me that she has not established her boundaries. I know many people think it's affectionate and cute, but it's a red flag warning to us. By practicing attachment parenting, we are not harming our child. We might go through all this and she will still have some RAD or PTSD, but the effort that we are putting in now, will certainly not hurt her.
The past 4 months have not been easy. It has been an adjustment for all of us, but we could not be happier with the little girl that we call our daughter. I can't tell you how many times a day I hear the boys tell me how much they love their sister. Just last night, G said, "Isn't she the best girl ever? I just love her so much." I couldn't agree more.
I don't know what goes on in that matching room at the CC*AA, but they have proven to know exactly what they are doing. Emerson Grace was born to be our daughter. To compare the pictures of the scared little girl that was handed to us 4 months ago to the happy smiling girl she has become just makes it all so surreal. She has always been a tropper with her smiles, but I never felt they were 'real' until recently. My heart is complete & my life is full.

15 comments:

Tawni said...

Oh, I love your posts. All of them.

Being a mom is work and it takes on a whole new set of rules with each child and with each situation. Av's adoption was different, but I can relate to the things you write so much.

I can't believe it's been 4 months!

t

Sandra said...

I have always been amazed by what the love a family can do for our children and there has NEVER been a doubt in my mind that the CCAA somehow knows how to place each child with the family that is meant for them 100%...

Debra said...

It's not CCAA that does it.

Jenny F. said...

It is heartwarming to watch you all fall in love and amazing to watch Eme's transformation, clearly she is your girl!

Suzie said...

It' been amazing to watch Eme's transformation into your family. She has come a long way and with the love and suppport that you all embrace her with. Lucky girl, lucky family!

Briana's Mom said...

Eme was truly meant to be your daughter. It is so amazing. So glad to hear how much she blossoms every day.

3 Peanuts said...

T this is so beautiful and I know what you mean. You are doing the exact right thing. Kate wanted to kiss and hug everyone and we had to do exactly what you are doing. It has worked. Stay the course...you are a dedicated, loving and selfless MAMA!

Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

LOVE this post.. you are always sooo honest and that is sooo me..I need to get that book..and start figuring out what I need to do..
I know that is the way it has to be for our girls to go through the proper attachment..
Thank you again..
And I truly can see Emerson's attachment in the photos..
she is sooo BEAUTIFUL..

Kristy said...

Its a "God thing", and it is absolutely beautiful how he puts us right where we are supposed to be. You have a beautiful family and you are a great mommy, I hope you know that!

Love and blessings, Kristy

Cindy said...

Eme is so beautiful!

It's easy to see that you and J are wonderful parents and she has some awesome brothers as well!

Debbie said...

That post made me tear up. I am so glad that everything is working out with litle Eme and she has completed your family xxx You all look so happy together x

Buckeyes & Eggrolls said...

I've seen the same transformations in Maddy that you see in your sweet Emerson and in my mind and heart... only God could put together such a matching! :0) I often wondered why we were never chosen for other special needs children before other people in our agency who signed on after us but now I know. Maddy was chosen for us and her paperwork wasn't ready just yet. We had to wait and then we had to be accepting of a greater need than what we said we would take. :0) (God thing? I think so)
You are doing the right things for Eme. It took us a long time and some serious arguments with family to be the only ones to hold, feed and care for Maddy. She LOVED everyone but now-a-days... not so much. She still goes easily to adults which is scary but most of the time, she stays very close to mommy and daddy.
Happy 4 months together!

3D said...

Thanks for sharing your update. I look to you for what to do and the knowledge that BTDT brings. She is a wonderful sweetie pie and I am so happy for you that your life feels full.

Keep smilin!

Georgea's Mommy said...

LOVE all of this!! Thanks for sharing your heart.

Amy

Catherine said...

I am always learning from you and appreciate your attachment posts so much. Just finished listening to Nancy's CD's for the 4th time today and yet reading this post I realize there are still things about her program that I hadn't taken seriously enough. Thank you t for all you're doing to help the rest of us when you share what you're doing for your beautiful Emerson Grace!!