Barbara, Like Sadie, I feel like an ambassador for open adoption. My husband Jeff was adopted in 1963 and we adopted a domestic newborn in…...
Adoption Blog: The Perfect Blend
Attachment and Adjustment: The Hard Work of Adoption
The honeymoon is over. My husband, Jeremiah, and our two daughters have comfortably settled into their individual roles of being members of our blended family of five. But Dylan, now home from Korea for three months, has begun the hard, hard work of adjustment, and as a result, I'm struggling too.
After multiple conversations we've had with our post-placement social worker, I now know that the problems he's had are fairly typical. He alternates between reaching out to strange women on the subway ("You look nice. Want to be my next mom?") and exhibiting full-blown panic attacks, complete with body-drenching sweats and hyperventilation, if I leave him with Jeremiah and the girls for a quick trip to the gym. But to see your child suffer the way Dylan does is intense, to say the least. As a parent, I want to take all the pain away. As an adoptive parent, I know that he needs to weather this storm in order to come out more whole on the other end.
It's all been a bit hard on me, too. Sure, I've had fantasies of my getting, say, appendicitis. You know, just serious enough for a brief break—er, hospitalization. Of course, I'm being silly, but a breather from the intensity—even just an afternoon date with Jeremiah—does sound amazing, and I don't see one coming in our near future. I can’t imagine leaving Dylan with our sitter, even though she’s the absolute best.
I'm glad, though—even relieved, I guess—that we're finally sinking our teeth into the tough stuff like separation anxiety. Now that Dylan is showing signs of being attached enough to fear my loss, I can begin the process of earning his trust, in addition to that beautiful all-encompassing love. And I can begin to prove to him that I'll keep coming back. For now, after each and every (long, exhausting) day, I promise my son that, although I'm not his first mommy, I will be his last. He doesn't understand the words yet but, as he settles into my arms and touches my cheek, I think he's beginning to get the picture.
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Thanks, Barb, what a unique story. I also liked what Sadie had to say about nature vs nurture: “There is something to this nature thing!”…...