Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dirty Little Secret

Today started off much like every weekday for the past month.  I went to Target, TJ Maxx, a swim lesson, Lexie's Preschool, and the gym.  But then something big happened.

Before I go there though, let me give you some background information.

Adoption is my dirty little secret...since returning from China, I have been going to the gym anywhere from 3-4 times a week. I never went to the gym in 2011. In fact, we didn't even join until right before we left for China. Anyway, I love this hour of the day -- it is my time to focus on keeping myself healthy and, shockingly, it is kid free.  Lexie is in school and I drop Emma off at the  'Treehouse'.  Yes. Gym daycare people.. Pick your jaw up off the floor and hold your judgement.

Anyway,  typically drop-off is heartbreaking. For my family & friends, I bet you are thinking, 'oh Emma cries and it is so hard to leave her', right? Not fact, just the opposite. It is heartbreaking because she does not cry. She just grins, go's to her favorite toy (a little tykes rocking horse) & starts rocking away.

More background here...typically when parents return to pick their child up, the front desk lady call's the child's name and the appropriate child comes running to the door.  Emma is actually just learning her name so that makes it difficult. Of course, there are like 12 Emma's so they yell 'Emma' a that further complicates things. So, in general, our Emma has not historically reacted like the other children. In fact, when we first got home, I would physically go over and sit down next to her for her to recognize me.

Anyway, today I went for my run and when I came back the front desk woman called 'Emma' like she always does. And you know what? Emma turned, grinned, and ran to me.  It. was. amazing.

People ask me a lot if they can hold Emma. They ask if she is 'willing' to go to them now that she has been home for some time.  In my opinion, this is one of the biggest misconception among the non adoption community.  The whole  'oh they just picked up their child, I won't hold her' is not b/c the kid will freak out. It is b/c the kid won't freak out.  We want the kid to freak out...that is the goal. It means they are attaching.

To that extent....I found this article today. I just wish I would have found it earlier. Perhaps it was actually in an adoption training online that I 'breezed' through in late 2010. Anyway, it basically explains that attachment happens over time for ALL children.  When Emma joined our family she joined it as a newborn - starting her attachment process from scratch.  Emma has now been with us 4 mos (in the adoption land this is called 4 mos old in 'family age').   As you can see attached, it is not until 4 mos that children begin to have a preference for specific people. So today's events were right on time! :-)

In any case, this event made my heart melt. Maybe b/c I needed it today (don't get me started on the havoc my girls brought onto my house yesterday). Maybe b/c adoptive parenting is hard work. In any case, today reminded me how much I love the unique nuances about being an adoptive parent.   Sometimes the hard work you put in is different then with your bio kids... but today reminded me that  so is the reward you get back.