2/27/14

Attachment update

Yesterday my friend Leanne invited Arie and me to join her and her son for a morning at our local Children's Museum. We had a great time watching our little boys run around, enjoying all the exhibits and activities.

"Dairy" was the theme of the day and Arie especially enjoyed interacting with the cow mascot. Except he sternly reprimanded the cow when he learned that cows eat grass: "No no cow!! You don't eat that! That's yucky!!"

My little rule follower.

I also embarrassed myself by loudly referring to the cow as a "he" until one of the staff people informed me that "his" name was "Molly." "Oh so he's a girl cow?" I asked. As the words slipped from my mouth I realized of course a dairy cow is a girl cow. Of course.

The staff person tried their best to hide a smug grin, but I saw it. Can I blame it on my suburban upbringing? Doesn't milk just come from the grocery store?

Moving along, when we were at the museum I ran into an old friend who asked me if I came there often. "Not too often," I replied and thought back to the last time I came with Arie. It was a little more than one year ago and I wrote this post about it, reflecting on Arie's growing attachment. With nostalgia and a happy heart, I read through the post and smiled at the pictures. How Arie has grown! How normal life has become with him!
January 2013
February 2014

These days we hardly have to think about his attachment and I can't remember the last time I worried about it. While the work of his attachment is never fully done, we rejoice when we reflect on how secure out little man has become. Right now one of his most common request is to "san-uggle" (snuggle) with us and read books. He is getting better and better at asserting himself and making his preferences known. Last week he demanded, "Gimme dat!" to me for the very first time, which I both corrected and thought of as a milestone. He is secure enough to push us away knowing we'll never leave him.

My heart leaps daily to see him cuddling various stuffed animals and giving them the same kind of love he sees us give him. He tells me about his stuffed friends, "He has a owie mama! I kiss him. I hug him!" and "shhhhhhh"s their imaginary cries. He loves tucking them into bed "all cozy and safe!" His heart is finally full enough that it can overflow into affection for others.
January 2013
February 2014: still with the tongue! 
He has also started a one afternoon per week preschool program which he adores. From what I can ascertain, he still seeks the affirmation and guidance of the teachers more than he seeks out other children as friends, however I have faith that as he gets more comfortable in this new space, that will change. In his baby home life, he had to endear himself to the adult caretakers for any sense of security and stability. That learned behavior runs deep in my little man. I remind myself to be tender with him and not frustrated that he doesn't jump into play with the other kids; he needs time to feel secure before branching out.

He has been attending our Wednesday evening children's ministry at church as well. The first time we tried to leave him there he melted into panicked tears and as a result, I've been volunteering in his class since the fall. For five months he attended the class glued to my side, becoming fearful if I ever walked away. Last week for the very first time he forgot about me and spent 15 minutes playing blocks with a friend! Truly a celebratory milestone for us! His confidence grows.

Life with our little man is becoming very routine; I take it as a sign of healing in our little man's heart. His adoption journey will always be significant, but right now I see healing much more than I see wounds.

Much to be grateful for!

xo

11 comments:

  1. Wonderful! Thank you for the update from us who wonder!

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    1. You are welcome! Thanks for commenting and enjoying our story!

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  2. This is a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing your family's journey here; I've always had a heart for adoption and I hope that when it comes time for me to start my family I'll be able to do it with the grace and wisdom you seem to have. God bless!

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    1. I hope the same for you! Adoption is an incredible gift and we are so blessed to have this calling. May God provide a way for you to adopt!

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  3. Anonymous2/27/2014

    Love the update on attachment! :)

    Arie may appreciate this video on "Where Does Milk Come From" that was done by friends of ours! Their two boys do such a great job explaining the process, love it! :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYFA2-4Zzhk

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    1. Thanks! I showed it to Arie and he was silent the whole time, mesmerized! Such cute boys!

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  4. What a beautiful post! The museum looks like a blast! I love the photo of Arie with the bubble wand nearly around his neck. Thank you for sharing so openly about your journey toward secure attachment. It is inspiring to see how well children can adjust when their parents work so hard at meeting their needs!

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    1. It is truly amazing how they can flourish when they get home! Thanks for commenting!

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  5. Anonymous2/27/2014

    Jill, to your credit, that cow doesn't have an udder.. so I wouldn't really call it a GIRL cow either ;)

    Thanks for the update. Arie is such a sweetie and it has been fun watching him grow. I can only imagine how proud you must be :)

    Chelsea

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  6. Sooo sweet - loved this update! :)

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  7. Love this update. So very VERY much! You are a tender hearted and intentional Mama, God does a lot with this for many people who are blessed to encounter you and Arie.

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