And yet, pouring over adoption blogs for the past 2 years I never really found very many that reported stories like this. Hmmm... could it be that we are embarrassed? That the "super mommy" myths and the stroller derby that is modern parenting has forced us into some kind of self-imposed silence? Yea, I think that's possible but whatever people's personal reasons are for not sharing I totally respect that but I am going to talk about our bonding struggles on this blog. I want Button to have the story later and I also want any other moms struggling with this to know they're not alone.
When we first met Button he seemed to "like" us both ok. But he obviously thought Brian was wicked fun for all the dude reasons: wrestling, ball playing, truck sound effects, etc. It wasn't that I didn't do those things with him but I just didn't do them as well as Daddy. Testosterone deficient. Then, while we were still in Thailand, that preference seemed to suddenly turn into a dislike for me. I can't begin to tell you how unlucky it was that Brian was sick they day of the "child transfer." After he officially became ours Button really seemed to feel that everything he was experiencing was my fault. If Brian left the room he just freaked out. Only Brian could get him to sleep, bathe him, or make him laugh. If I could explain to you my level of discouragement at that time I would. But I'll just let your imagination go to work.
Once we got home, he did a little better in fits and starts. He would let me feed him at one meal and then, at the next meal, throw food at me and hit his tray screaming until Brian took over. He would allow Brian to hold and sway him to sleep but when I did nap/bedtime he would just scream and point at the bed until I would lie him down and then he would just roll away from me and cry himself to sleep.
He was happy to let me entertain him though. I could play blocks with him, take him on walks, push him in his car, read to him. I was a great "clown" but as soon as I tried to be a caregiver he started to show great ANGER and really tried to exert toddler rejection. He hated having his diaper changed by anyone but when Mommy did it it was an unbelievably violent exchange. Sometimes he would lie still and smile at me until I cautiously moved close to him then he would kick sideways, directly into my stomach, with all his might while screaming and laughing.
Button is much too active for the Ergo and we pretty much figured from the second we met him that it was going to be a no-go but we valiantly tried it a couple of times to see if he would adjust. He allowed Brian to ride him around the yard a few times before screaming to get down. The one time we put him in the ergo while I wore it he pulled my hair and bit my neck so hard I cried.
How does it feel to wait for years to be a mom and then find out your child wants nothing to do with you? Oh it feels terrible! I won't sugar coat it. It's the most discouraging, depressing, debilitating emotion I've ever felt. Especially when I see him giving love so freely to his dad and grandparents.
Button and I have already come a long way and I am going to talk about that in some additional posts on this subject but for now I will say that if this is happening to you or if you are a pre-adoptive parent and you experience this in the future: "Hang in there! You are a good mom (or dad) and I think you're great!"