Adoption Attachment

I sat in on a conference call tonight about attachment. The call was lead by a really great lady, Jean, who is a child development specialist and soon to be (THIS MONTH) the mother of a 15yr old girl from Ethiopia.

Our agency does these calls for people who will soon travel to get kids from Ethiopia and for us who are back and currently wading through the murky water of attaching to our new children.

Yes, adopting an older child means you are adopting a hurt, abandoned, sometimes abused, and confused child. So with that comes lots of issues, and that makes attaching a really delicate flower.

We are very fortunate with Abel. He is happy, kind, generous, obedient, loving and eager to learn. He really doesn't "seem" to have any attachment issues. But he does seem to kinda go blank sometimes, I think he may be suppressing his feelings. He just doesn't "go there" really instead of feeling it. Maybe it's to hard right now, or maybe he doesn't know it's ok yet.

Like Jean said, we may need to let him know that its ok to feel what he needs to feel. Like anger. I have never seen him angry. I've seen him sad, happy, joyful, excited, playful, content, eager, everything really but not angry. And he may not know it's ok to be angry.

The one thing that struck me when someone on the call said Abel always looked sad in the pictures on my blog, was that of course he's sad. He's been in America for 3 months. Even when having fun and being playful, the pain of his past life, or any orphan's life, will leave them with an underlying sadness about them. I don't think it has to be permanent but I do think grieving loss of their country, their language, their culture, and mostly their parents and family, would make a child very sad at least for a while.

So, just pray for us to be able to communicate to him his freedom to feel. Feel what he needs to to be whole mentally and be able to get through this period of adjustment and grieving and be able to really attach to us and us to him.

I am so thankful for the adoption agency we used, IAG, and the message boards and conference calls. We all are able to glean from each others experiences and share life. It's a great thing.

Comments

the tjeps said…
Hi Carole -

We don't know eachother yet - however, I do feel connected to you already! I am Jennifer O's friend. We just got placed with our sweet little Ruby Merhawit (prob. 3ish) I was touched by your words last night, and your family is in my prayers. I am new to all of this - OH SO NEW!!! I just took a minute to look at your blog, and I see two sweet boys - I don't see sadness - I see a blessed family! Like you said, OBVIOUSLY there are going to be moments of saddness, anger and confusion - but there is also JOY! And from what I was a part of growing up with a child that was adopted older and from what Jennifer has said, it is those times of JOY that makes it easier to walk through the saddness with him.

Just had to write! I'm sure we'll be talking again -

Sarah (jennifer's friend)
Anonymous said…
Hey... funny that Sarah is calling me "Jennifer". That's from my childhood, but anyway...

Abel is yours, and you know him. I know that you are a great mom, and love the Lord.

You are doing great. Keep it up.

Jen
Erin Moore said…
You are such a great mom!