In My Child's World is another site that brings together parents who are committed to giving their children their very best. A quote from their pages:"I have four children. Two are adopted. I forget which two." ~ Bob Constantine
I don't who Bob is, but I like him.
Another site is all about creating/providing/producing duffel bags - real, tangible life-long bags to keep - for foster children! Instead of sending them packing (either to a forever home, another placement, or back to their biological families) with everything they own in garbage bags these people saw a need and filled it! Go here to check it out...Revival Gear Project.
So...I'm going out on a limb here. I'm going to be brief, but I could write forever.
But, let's face it - after reading and learning and praying and pondering I do realize that adoption is about loss, grief, turmoil, hope, love and redemption. Loss for me in that I was not there for the first moments of my son's life, grief that he has suffered the loss of 9 months in the womb + 7 months in an (albeit extraordinary and Christian love-filled) orphange setting, and turmoil at being hoisted from both of these situations to a loving home across the ocean filled with new scents, people, languages, loves, sites, hands and so much more. (ALL, by the way, HUGE sensory experiences even for a biological 7 months old!)
This is the first time I've put pen to paper - um, fingers to keyboard - and really journaled my thoughts for the world to read. I pray, fast, and ruminate in my head at length, all the intricacies of life with my son. Because, geesh, I'm a stay at home mom and although the laundry, dishes, farm work and more all call out to me daily I still have a lot of time to think and pray! Anyway...
All of that to say that, like it or not, I do take a backseat to daddy. And, I am tired of feeling sad and resentful (a little) about it. I'm going to pursue my son until he melts in my arms. Arching his back, protesting loudly, grunting, putting me at arms length when I hold him facing me is no longer acceptable. Holding him on my hip with his arm and elbow propped on my collarbone to keep me at bay is no longer tollerable for me! I want to feel his arm around my neck. I want him to bury his head in my neck like he does with his daddy. He can do it with me b/c I see him do it with dad! He is capable!
I love when he sits on my lap facing outward when we read together. But, I've always felt something is missing. Attachment - real attachment - is what we both want.
So, yesterday I held him for almost an hour. I tried cradling him, which he would not have. I tried turning him to face me, which he would not have. I tried holding him to me - head to head. But, he climbed up past me, trying to get away. I heard lots of "no's," lots of "I don't need you's." But, I didn't stop loving him and pursuing him. I heard, "I want mommy." Huh? I'm right here, I thought. And, you can read it how you'd like. But, I think in my heart that he meant the mommy who held him inside of her for 9 months. Or, the "mommies" that fed him countless bottles for 7 months. Call me crazy. It's ok. I can take it. But, it's what I believe.
I told him calmly, sometimes whispering, over and over how much I love him, how he is my child, my baby, and I will always be here for him.,,forever. I am never leaving.
We stopped for dinner with daddy and as we walked into the kitchen with me holding him he actually held on to me for a minute with his arms around my neck. He laid his little head on my shoulder and whispered, "I love you, mommy." Oh man.
It's not like he doesn't tell me he loves me, he does. But, this was unexpected, genuine, straight from the heart. Something about it was different.
Later, after dinner, daddy went outside to finish chores. Usually John wants to play and go outside with him. But, last night he sat in my lap and said, "bye!" Totally unusual for him.
John and I sat rocking together, with him facing out (of course!), but he was content. After a few minutes I turned him around...well, attempted to turn him around (he's so strong!) and we went at it again for awhile. Without any prompting he slowed a little bit as I tried to cradle him, looking into his eyes and he said, "I need you mommy." Then, he looked at me square in the eye and said, "mommy needs me?" while he nodded his head. Oh man...that was when I knew I was doing what he had wanted me to do for so long - to just hold him, give him eye contact, no matter how painful. And, tell him over and over that I loved him and I would never leave him and he is my forever baby.
So much of John's story is personal. I don't ever want to exploite his story or tell the world his raw emotions for fear that he will dislike my words as he can understand more and more each passing year. It's a tricky thing - putting your words, your heart out there in blogland. But, I can't hold these moments in my heart. God's children are made alike in so many ways and I know there other mom's feeling what I feel.
So, I couldn't help but share this journey of attachment and bonding. Our story is too good to hide in this little house. It's a safe little house and we so often want to shelter ourselves from the storms of the world. But our light shines bright - for our son, his life's journey, our trip to parenthood, and for the LORD! In the hopes that it might make a difference in the life of another little one unable to bond, I write these words of encouragment ~ there is hope for healing the wounds of loss felt so deeply inside the heart. There is light at the long end of what sometimes feels like a dark and winding tunnel.
I am encouraged beyond words b/c for the first time last night, my son fell fast asleep in my arms.
Every fostering class, social worker and most friends, encourage a child to fall asleep on their own. And, for most children, that's true! For most biological children, that's a fact! And, we have done that ever since John came home. But, the love he showed me by cuddling his little back to me last night and trusting me enough to fall asleep as I held him was by FAR the most wonderful statement of love he has ever given me.
Yes, he obeys most of the time b/c I tow the line. But, I want him to want to obey me b/c he loves, cheriches and trusts me. Hmmm, I think...just like God wants us to spend time talking, loving and cherishing Him.
I believe that the more I hold him, the more I tell John I cherich him over and over and talk quietly about our losses and gains...that he and I will have a bond closer than he and his daddy. Is it ok to want that for us? I think it is. We'll heal our distraught emotions and come out on top of the world.
And, the whole focus? LOVE.
Because LOVE is what LIFE is all about.
The next time God brings a child into my life I will follow my heart, my gut. I will not take "no" for an answer when I try putting her in a chest carrier facing me. Charley and I will be the only ones to hold her for weeks. I will be her primary bottle-giver, lover, comforter and holder. Me. Mommy. Forever. Easy words to say, but for so many little ones, hard words to accept and trust.
Remember the picture of the 3 of us at Christmas from the start of the post? Scroll up and take a closer look at it. My goal for next year is to have my boy giving a hint of a smile and for his little hands to be at rest.