Sunday, March 11, 2012

Attachment Baby Steps, Fun Firsts, and The Difference

You probably remember the posts, before bringing our Jael home, on attachment. The more I sit in the midst of it, the more I learn. It's not always easy stuff, sometimes it's down right hard.
I think most of us adoptive parents probably analyze things constantly just a little bit (a lot).

Do you guys do this? I know I do. The "Is this mourning? Is this an attachment issue? Is this just a taught behavior to be unlearned? Is this just a normal toddler/child mentality?"

I feel so often our newly home children are a little like those pictures that you really can't understand completely and then you stare at the picture and stare and stare and after a long awhile a 3D picture pops out. Looking into the depths, with enough time...we can see our child. We start learning to know our child.

I'm finding a joy in getting to know Jael. That's been a big difference...I think one of the adopting a toddler for us. We are still getting to know her. She's a little person with a history, likes and dislikes, and a definite personality. Three and a half years is different than adopting an infant.

But let me tell you....I LOVE IT! Three years old have always been our "hard" toddler year for our family. Not so with Jael (as of yet). It's just a journey of getting to know our precious daughter. Maybe it's that things don't phase me as much as they used to.

Recently we have had some firsts. The first time our Jael went to Church. We held off purposely. I know some may not understand and I have to be ok with that. After Jael had been home about 2 1/2 weeks, she became overly friendly. She wanted to go to everyone. Even a non adoption professional stated that she was such a well socialized child (even professionals can not "get it" sometimes).

A newly adopted child that is overly friendly is not a good thing. It's really about not being fully attached. Jael was attaching, don't get me wrong. She still, though, didn't believe we were forever. She didn't see herself as ours and was seeking any attention she could get. She was trying to keep herself from attaching to us as well. This way she wouldn't get hurt when she didn't have us any longer.

We weren't worried, but knew what we were looking at. I'm probably not explaining this well, but it was necessary to "hole up" for awhile. To stay home and let our family and our care for her be her entire life.

Well, on a recent Sunday she was ready though. We went to Church. I explained to her that she needed to stay with mommy and daddy. I have to say, she understood on some level. She didn't try once to go to a stranger. She would smile, but with some she would hide her head. These were things we were SOOOO glad to see!

We forgot to get a picture sitting down just before Church, but this was in the car right after. We loved it SO much that we used it as her main picture on the side of the blog.
The next week we even took her to Bible Class. Thomas or I do stay in there with any newly home blessing though. Not only could a class mimic some orphanages (many kids the same age and few caregivers), but we want Jael to know that we will not leave her. In China she was handed to us and the caregivers of 3 1/2 years only stayed for about 5 minutes. Then they were gone. We don't want for this to be a fear for her. When she is securely attached she does need to learn we will come back. We are moving in that direction (woo hoo!), but are not 100% there yet. We usually do this for 6-12 months. It just depends on our little one.

The triplets were the only ones in class today with the time change. Springing forward is no ones favorite.
We're excited though. Time has brought signs...signs of good attachment.
One of the sweetest and cutest was when we were at her first dentist appointment.

Before the appointment, I needed to fill out new patient forms. I pulled the quad stroller up in front of me. It would have been pretty impossible getting out the triplets, chasing them, and filling out forms. They're fast! Smile...

So here I am...

Patient Name: Jael AoJing Jeny
Siblings of the Patient (Names and Ages):

This is always fun for us. It takes us awhile though.

I sat filling out the form out loud WITH the triplets. Jael, not understanding what "siblings" meant had something to say about it.

I began to list, out loud, Jael's siblings.
Gabe/2 1/2"

Just when I was about to say Rachel, Jael popped in. "MOMMY!!!" she said as she pointed to the paper,
She didn't want me to forget her when listing family. She KNEW she belonged with her brothers and sisters. My mommy heart sighed.

Not many days later I was packing a cooler and we were all rushing around. Jael laid down on the living room floor. We were getting ready to send Daddy, Sarah, and Tom to a Christian rock concert with a couple of other teens and another dad.

I walked over to Jael and she looked SOOOOO sad. I scooped her up and said, "What's wrong baby? She looked at me and gave me a heart breaking cry. She clung to my neck and sobbed. She was afraid mommy was going.

Was it the cloth cooler looking a little like a suitcase? The running around packing the van?

I don't know. It broke my heart though and made me smile at the same time. She didn't want me to leave. My mommy heart grew just a tad more.

Things are good here. They are not perfect. There is no perfection here on earth. Yet everything is heading the right direction.

Thank you for the prayers friends. We ask for continued prayers as we start heading through medical appointments starting on April 18th regarding Jael's legs (as well as continued prayers for attachment). Finally, please pray for guidance and discernment as we feel God moving.

I leave you today with some cool (and funny) teens enjoying some fun family/friends time at a "Red" concert.
My two (Sarah and Tom) are the two goofs in back. Their friend's Abby, Lexi (Sarah's BFF), and Josh are in front.


Thousand Foot Krutch

Sarah and Lexi


  1. yet again I find myself hating the distance between myself and my adoptive friends. Sometimes I think we are a breed all our own. It is nice to read your words and know that someone out there understands things the way I do when it comes to attachment and what our kids went through to become our kids. I think about what would I as an adult be like if everything I had ever known, felt, smelled, tasted, heard, etc was all of a sudden totally gone! That is what happend to my Noah. Yes we were loving on him, yes we were giving him the world compared to what he had, BUT he did not know that he didnt have things. He just knew his life as it was. Even home 3 years we still have things as a result of the time there and the ripping away of his life. Yes in the long run it is so much better for him. You are a very wise mama! What I wouldnt give to get together for a play date! :)

  2. SO Proud of you all! Glad Mamma has church again too!
    We continue to pray with you and love you!

  3. Love hearing how it is going! Sounds like you are all doing well. Attachment is soo important! And yet each child is sooo different. :)

  4. Sigh. . .
    love! I especially love that Jael already gets that her name BELONGS in that list!


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