November 15, 2008

National Adoption Awareness Month Part 7 (attachment issues)

Gotcha day March 16, 2008

Prior to traveling to China, I read everything I could get my hands on in regards to attachment and bonding issues. I prayed that her transition would go smoothly and that she would bond with me. I had read over and over again how initially children bond first with one parent and I selfishly hoped I would be the one. I was lucky. Almost as soon as her nannies left our hotel room and I was left to scoop Josie up in arms, she bonded with me.

Josie's bottle was her security blanket

Sure, there were all kinds of tears, but Josie looked to me for reassurance and comfort. It was love at first sight and my fears were quickly shelved. She took much longer to bond with Chris.

Gotcha Night March 16, 2008. Notice how Josie is cautiously looking at Chris

In fact, Chris was never able to hold her while we were in China. With all the screaming and tears we had at night and during our many plane rides around the country, he was never able to provide her with any kind of comfort. He felt frustrated, but was patient and was prepared to ride it out.

One of the best things I could have brought with me to China (besides Chris and Emma) was the baby carrier. She was strapped to me in the carrier the entire trip. Talk about bonding.

Tengwang Pavilion, Nanchang China

Even after we came home from China and were off to visit the many cardiologists and specialists, if she was throwing an absolute fit, if I put her in the carrier, she calmed right down. She's now too big for her carrier, but it was a life-saver during our first 3 months together.

Josie also bonded with her sister almost immediately. To this day (as you tell by the many pictures I post in my blog) Josie is absolutely in love with her big sister. She adores Emma. Almost to the point of obsession. I couldn't have asked for it to go any better than it has between the two girls. I'm so glad Emma came with us to China. That being said, we definitely have JEALOUSY issues that are overwhelming at times. That will be a whole other blog entry someday.

Emma playing with Josie in Nanchang, China

When my family medical leave ended and I went back to work, Chris took over as primary caregiver during the day. Thankfully, Chris works at a school he was now home for the summer. Being the primary care giver changed the attachment relationship between Josie and Chris dramatically. She started to equally seek comfort between Chris and myself and looks to either of us for reassurance and assistance.

I can't tell you how much I melt all over when I hear Josie say "Mommy, I wuv you" or I hear her scream with delight with Chris comes home from running an errand. We are blessed, so very very blessed. This whole adoption experience has far exceeded anything I could have ever imagined. My heart is so full of love for this sweet girl.

March 17, 2008 Civil Affairs Office, Nanchang China

Along the bottom of this blog are a list of some of my favorite attachment websites. The constant researcher in me, can't stop reading or exploring this topic. If anyone has anything else that would like to share on this topic (websites, books or personal experiences), feel free to post. I love hearing from you.


Shanna said...

Another great post!
I remember when you were in China and how I would wake up sometimes at 3 a.m. and check your "you belong" for an update :)I had all the family gathered around for the gotcha post and video. We all loved the video post in Guangzhou when Emma had taught Josie a cute expression by raising her eyebrows. It was clear how much having Emma there was a blessing to everyone.
What wonderful girls you have!

Tammy said...

I don't know if you remember, but it was the exact same way with Madi. She bonded with me (like Super Glue) but was very distant from Jim. He did great by being the "assistant" and took care of all of our needs while I took care of Madi. She is now his #1 fan!

redmaryjanes said...

This is such a great post. I read over and over how the babies will usually attach one of the parents first and then slowly open up to the other one.

Steffie B. said...

Great post....but more importantly....what special memories..... ;)

Have a great week girl.....could this be the week??????? ;)

Christine said...

You are a good Mama! Thanks for shairng. Glad to have come across your blog.

The Young's said... amazing to see how far Josie has come!!! I think the picture of her giving Chris the look on the couch is SO FUNNY!!! Aren't we both glad the girls have opened up to their daddies?!?!

Your thoughts have been amazing to read. I feel guilty that I haven't even given it a thought. Although....Mark and I are in a drama at our church that we are performing for our adoption agency and local DHR workers. it is promoting foster care and adoption. a way...we are raising awareness...I just have SO neglected to do it online!!!

I've really enjoyed reading your posts!!!

Hope you have a great afternoon. Thanks again for that yummy recipe!!! Can't wait to try them!!!
love ya,