“Biology is powerful. It choreographs an invisible, important, tightly-stepped mother-baby dance. There is an extra base-level of connection inherent in a biological mother-infant relationship, a connection knit by nature, and that connection is perfect trust.
Adoption is different. Not in what we feel for our children, but in parenting around loss, both our children’s and our own. A securely attached biological child who hasn’t been abandoned by a birth parent would never believe that his mother would permanently leave him, for any reason. Primal loss will always be a deep, dark possibility for our adopted children, because the unthinkable did happen to them. It happened to them, it severed their connection, and it spun them halfway across the world.
….We can work to replicate the natural dance of attunement…..the music is there, we just need to teach our children to trust our lead, hold on tight and to follow our steps.”
-“A Different Dance” by Jean MacLeod, from Adoption Parenting, Creating a toolbox, building connections
Little Man had a good first day of school yesterday. He has never been in school before so it was a big deal. He did very well and had a blast. When I arrived to pick him up, however, he had a blank stare on his face. Little Man never has a blank stare on his face, never. When I walked in, he looked straight through me and not at me. This is very unusual behavior for him. Usually he jumps up and screams Mommmy!!!! when I return after being gone. But not today….today was different. He was quiet and stoic and it scared me.
He was worn out when we got home and he asked to snuggle with me on the couch. We talked a lot about his day and then he said something that shocked me.
“Mommy, I was afraid you weren’t going to come back and get me.”
He said it almost in a whisper with tears about to fill his eyes. The look on my face must have been one of pure horror and shock because he quickly added in “I’m just teasing you, Mommy.” And then he grabbed me tight and didn’t let go.
This is the point where my heart physically hurt. We had talked for months about every detail of school, especially emphasizing the fact that Mommy will pick Little Man up exactly at three o’clock each day…that mommy always comes back…..that mommy always will be the one to pick Little Man up…..that school is just during the day, etc. He knew the schedule and he knew I would come back. When I worked, he stayed with the nanny and he knew that mommy always came back. It was no big deal. That work was just during the day and that it was a part of life.
I know he knows. But at a deeper level, it is evident what he fears.
I had intended to write about something different entirely in this post, but I find that it’s not important right now. Maybe later.
School is good. Little Man did a good job and I’m proud of him. Yes, he banged his head and his teachers are perfectly ok with it. But because I know his fears, it’s so SO hard for me to let him go just yet. So when I anxiously fret over my son’s first day of school to the point where I make myself sick with worry, it’s because of that fear….because I know it lurks within…..because although Little Man deals with his own pain, I have mine, too. Letting him go is so scary for both of us, not because it’s merely a big transistion, but because it seems we are still both healing from the past.
fabulous weekend are the words that can pretty much sum up our last three days. On Friday, hubby and I celebrated our anniversary with a romantic dinner and a movie. It was DIVINE! We always have such a blast when we go out, even after 10 years! The boys did great without us, Big Brother went to bed about an hour after we left, so that made me feel even better about being away from him. The next day Little Man was definitely mad at us and made that very clear starting with an hour long melt down on Saturday morning. Yes, we definitely have some issues to work on. By Saturday afternoon (and after a swim in the creek) he was doing much better.
Today was a great day. We spent the day on the boat and went for a swim in the river. The weather was heavenly and it was nice to get a break from the extreme heat. Even though hubby had to work both Saturday and Sunday evenings, we still enjoyed our time together. We truly are so blessed!
Before the big date:
On the river (you’ll notice Little Man was very bothered that we interrupted his swim to pose for a picture, lol):
The boys must have enjoyed their swim, this was the boat ride back to the dock:
Big Brother kept saying “fun boat, fun swim water” when we got home, so I think he had a blast. He was also very brave in the water and wanted to try and “swim” without my help!!
A super duper weekend indeed! The next two weeks are going to be crazy, so I’m glad we got this time to de-stress and connect.
that you must be a mama to two little boys when you go for a short walk in the woods….
….and it turns into an impromptu swim session in the creek, clothes and all….
….and you are not shocked in the least. Love these guys!
a beautiful life.
..be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
Three years ago today our lives were changed forever, for the better.
Three years ago today I walked into a sweltering orphanage alongside my husband and we walked out as a family. Three years ago today we held Little Man for the first time and mere minutes later he became our son, fully and legally, in a small room of a Saigon “court building.” Three years ago today our eyes were opened forever and we saw the world in a different light. Three years ago today we realized that we have a second home in a faraway land.
Three years ago today we learned the painful truth of what severe neglect and institutionalization can do to an 11 month old child. Three years ago today I experienced for the first time the bitterrsweet dichotomy that adoption represents. Three years ago today, I became the happiest woman on the planet. Three years ago today, our family was created.
Happy third family day, my sweet child. You have been a constant joy and light to our lives. We love you so very, very much! You make our world so much more beautiful and I cherish that special day we met!