Greetings!

We designed this site in order to keep in touch with friends and family who are far away and in order to communicate with other adoptive families from around the world.

When we first started researching this wonderful way to become a family we read everything we could get our hands on. Even though there are a lot of great books out there, nothing was as informative or touching as the blogs we found by adoptees, biological parents, and adoptive families. So we are writing this blog now in hopes of returning the favor. We hope that if you are dear to us you will enjoy keeping up with our adventures. If you are someone out there involved in a part of the adoption triad we hope you will find information and comfort here and provide us with some of your own!

If you would like to get in touch with us we can be reached at: becomingafamily@gmail.com
Feel free to stop by anytime. We're happy to share our family story.

Take care,
Brian and Rosemary

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Button and Mamma pt. 2

After yesterday's stark post about bonding with a traumatized child allow me to offer some hope today. Yes, it does get better. Slowly. Very slowly. I also want to make sure that I put out this disclaimer since I am talking about a very personal thing in such a public forum: "I am neither feeling sorry for myself nor feeling bad about my son. Button is the most amazing little boy on earth and I couldn't love any other child any more. There is nothing about him I want to change. I simply long for the day when our relationship gives him the peace and comfort he needs."

We have had Button now for 10 weeks and both Brian and I can change his diaper with equal amounts of ease. He shows no preference for one of us to do the task over the other. This took a month.

We can both put him to sleep and he actually shows a preference for ME at bedtime and naptime!! Can I just tell you what it does for the bleeding, shreds of my heart when Brian comes down after a bedtime struggle with Button and says, "I don't know how you manage to get him to fall asleep in under 15 minutes!" And he falls asleep, face to face, with my arms around him. This took at least 5-6 weeks.

The feeding thing has almost resolved itself too. When I am alone with him (most of the time) I can usually feed him his meals without a hitch but if Dad is home things can get more complicated. He will almost always demand Dad if possible and then throw fits in the middle of the meal about odd things. That may not be adoption related as much as "terrible two's" behavior though. Hard to know.

There were two interesting things that happened that let me know we were making real progress in bonding and, even though this post is getting long, I want to share them with you because I think they are an excellent picture of the bleak realities of a non-bonding child. I tried to imagine what this would be like before it happened to me and I tell you - I could not wrap my mind around it.

The first thing that happened was that Button has this little mantra he says to himself, on and off all day, as he plays. He sort of chants his people's names. I think it's a comfort mechanism. Anyway, he would say, "Bopa, Gaigai, Dada" over and over again while stacking blocks or doing any quiet activity. At about the 7 week mark I suddenly heard him say, "Bopa, Gaigai, Dada, Mamma." I had been added to his list of comfort names. Now he always chants me in with the group. Trust me, it's a big deal.

The second thing was that about 2 weeks ago, Button woke up from his nap and I got him out of bed and carried him into our wouldbig chair for "book time" like we do every day. As we walked along I realized that something was different. At first I couldn't identify it but then I realized that Button had snuggled against me koala style with his hands around my neck, head on my shoulder and legs wrapped around my waiste. Yes, I carry Button constantly and have done so for more than 2 months, but unless he was passed out cold that child has never snuggled against me. He holds his body away from me, rigidly, making it so heavy and difficult to carry him but he demands to be carried none-the-less.

I stood in our hallway holding him and cried. It was such a small thing and it felt so huge to me. My tears made me feel so pathetic, like I was desperate for love or something. Since that time Button seems to have decided that he can perform this "koala snuggle" with me safely and he will now do it once or twice a day and then pull back, look into my face searchingly and smile. Once though, he looked at me very seriously and then slapped me hard. He is working so hard to find safety that it breaks my heart for him. And, yes, a little for me too.

--Rosemary


14 comments:

Robin said...

Yay for koala snuggles! Have you tried cereal kisses? Those took us awhile, but were a great tool for our family. I sometimes do them now, not because he needs it anymore, but because it makes Tea LAUGH HYSTERICALLY!

It's all about the tiny changes over a long time that eventually add up to a well-connected mama and boy. I remember desperately wishing I could set my (well-loved-but-gosh-I-need-a-millimeter-of-personal-space-for-a-half-second-because-I'm-suffocating!) son down long enough to just start a load of laundry. And now he will occasionally play happily while I move around the house - provided I update him as to which room I'm in and how long I'll be there, but his questioning is no longer desperate and he trusts that I'll be back. The changes were glacial but I am GRATEFUL for them at whatever speed they arrive.

You're an awesome mom to be sensitive to his pace.

Anonymous said...

You're my hero, baby. You've done such an amazing job with this scared little boy and it is overwhelming to see the changes you've effected in him. Love you.

Maci Miller said...

Wow, you are doing an incredible job! The part about him adding you to his names of comfort list and the koala snuggle made me tear up. I'm so glad for you and in awe of your sensitivity to his needs. Way to go! The slap seems to me like he is testing you. Like to see if you will stop holding him or not love him if he does it. I read about that somewhere. But anyway, keep on going, Momma! Your'e doing great!

Jessica said...

Button must have been a monk in another lifetime with all of that chanting! Who knew that darn tortise and the hare parable would have lifelong application. But the finish line holds your little boy's complete heart. What a worthwhile prize!

Love is little, love is big and love is patient. You've exemplified that.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Oh, I SO remember that moment when the Tongginator first sank into my arms in such a way. Congratulations! It's a moment you will always remember.

brad r said...

Rosemary,
I heard a portion of Fresh Air yesterday, it was on international adoption, sounded really good and made me think of y'all. If you didn't hear it you might find it interesting: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126777059

Be well, Brad

April said...

Love this post!! Thanks for sharing this most wonderful HUGE step in bonding with your little one! They come around in their own time and we can almost miss those moments but they are so precious and sweet! So happy that you got that wonderful snuggle time!

Elizabeth said...

wow!! I think that is amazing!!! It took about 6 months with Ricky before we saw a change. And since it was a domestic adoption (since loss and grief is universal), he understood the language and man, did he know how to use hurtful words, but the punching, hitting, kicking, and spitting (oh God, the spitting) soon turned into hugs, kisses and lots of snuggles with my mom and myself. He is now the most affectionate of all the children in the family.
I only wish I would have read this kind of blog when we were in the middle of his anger, it would have been so helpful and encouraging.

I think you are fantastic and thank you for being so open. You know how to express yourself with an honesty that is so needed for all the mommies (or even big siblings out there) that are finding ways to help their children process such loss and grief.

Chris and Terri said...

I so remember the walking on egg shells feeling. Mia definitely initially preferred men to women. Have to love the snuggles - takes a while to get there but we are stronger for going through it.

I can't seem to find a balance to blog and even at 2am - she just woke up and is looking at me. Gotta go

Jay and Chandra and Penny Regan said...

We adoptive parents get what you're going through. We are cheering you and Button on. Lots of love and tears for you and your family!

Mireille said...

AYOBA!! That is what they say in SA, when something great, cool happens!! I am so happy for you, this is a memorable moment and so good that you wrote both sides down. You are a super mommy and he is a super baby!! With also a super daddy!

Jason and Staci said...

For the most part Braxton seems to be a mama's boy but then suddenly he slaps or bites me. About a week ago he was snuggling with me on the couch then he suddenly bit my arm so hard that I screamed and nearly cried. He left a perfect bite mark through two layers of clothes that lasted for days then turned into an ugly bruise. I think I was hurt more emotionally than physically. I was really upset about it. It made me question everything; am I doing something wrong, have we not bonded as well as I thought, etc...

Staci

Annie said...

I'm catching up on you past few posts today Rosemary. Thank you for being so candid. It is important to learn all of these details. I am so amazed at how you are able to look at each step and analyze it. I am so happy to hear of Button's progress in trust and love. Keep up the good work, you are an awesome mom!

Melissa May said...

Oh, Rosemary... yes, thank God for the sweet moments and signs of progress. Don't feel silly for crying over snuggles. Parenting is one of the hardest things ever (just ask God!) and when our kids respond by receiving our love and loving us back??? It NEVER gets old. Love is what families were created for and our kids aren't the only ones who need it. You guys are doing a great job!

Funny! My word verification is "safefer" and I'm sure that Button is feeling "safefer and safefer" with you every day, even when he doesn't know how to rest in it! : )