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.