Monday, January 25

Our Social Butterfly


We have a pretty happy girl. She has her moments... but overall she is smiling and now will belly laugh. She is incredibly social and has a smile for everyone. I have been real careful that she is not "mommy shopping" because she seriously has to have everyone that she sees stop and smile at her. Sometimes this behavior happens with adopted children. Here are two stories from a wonderful website called A4everFamily.org

While every child is different, here is our experience. Our son came off the plane happy, smiling, and laughing. He was a beautiful and happy sixth-month-old. We planned on not letting anyone hold the baby until we felt he adjusted. Well, he looked very well-adjusted from the get-go. Everything made him happy and he took to everything so easily. Carseat, stroller, crib, new bottles, new formula, sleeping through the night…everything was so easy to introduce to him. What a happy, easy baby! And boy did he love people! It even said so in his pre-flight report. He seemed so happy and so willing to go to his grandparents, aunts, and uncles...a lot of people were waiting anxiously for this baby along with us. He seemed to adjust so well that we threw away the no holding policy and let close family members hold him earlier than we expected. He was not passed around nor held for long periods of time, but he was very loving and seemingly unaffected by the exposure to multiple family members.
As time went on our son distanced himself more and more from me, his mother, but still went happily to everyone else. I was his primary caretaker and doing a lot to promote bonding, but he avoided me more and more in ways that seemed innocent but didn't feel right to me. By the time he was home four months, he was not happy when I fed him, changed him, held him, gave him a bottle or anything that required me caring for him. By this time he completely ignored my existence and became a full-time mommy shopper. He learned lots of interesting tricks to get the attention of other women. This child would have willingly left with a complete stranger from the grocery store and never would have looked back. Meanwhile, everyone else continued to see a baby who was so easy and sweet and good and loving...I did not see that child because when it was just the two of us, he avoided me and pushed me away. It was very painful and I thought at first it had something to do with me not being a good mother...I know that is not the case now.
We had our son evaluated by an attachment therapist at ten months old. We learned that he was sensitive to the attachment process. Basically, he had the opinion of been there, done that...mommies are not trustworthy, mommies leave, I will pick my own mommy...I am safe when I control who takes care of me.


and this one...

A few months after my son came home, it was clear that he was waiting for his next mommy to come and take him away. He even began to do a lot of "mommy shopping" and would make cute noises for other women and reach out to strange and random women no matter where we were. During playdates he made it his mission to sit in another mother's lap and not mine. To the rest of the world he looked very social, happy, and personable. Our friends and family were thrilled, each thinking they had a special relationship with our son, but little did they know he would have just as happily gone to a complete stranger. Allowing this behavior to continue was allowing my son to continue to avoid me, his forever mommy, reinforcing that mommies are replaceable. I needed to prove otherwise.

We have been careful not to have people hold her, feed her, change her and she seems to show signs of good attachment so far. It is just something to look out for. Even when things seem to be going so very well... you still need to be careful.


8 comments:

Elizabeth Frick said...

She has such a beautiful smile, I can understand why people are drawn to her. We had the same experience with our Olive. If you ever want to discuss attachment, let me know. We had quite a struggle (and still do). It can be a tough road...

Elizabeth said...

What a beautiful girl! Love that big smile!

Lynn said...

I think just the knowledge of what others have gone through will give you the signs to look for. You just need to continue with being her primary caregiver and she will be just fine. It's a day to day process and I know you are up for the challenge!!

Gorgeous dress and can she be any more beautiful??

M&M said...

Hi There-

My husband and I are in the South Korea program with our agency and have been following your blog for about a month or so now. We just wanted to say "hi" from Ontario, Canada and "Thanks" for sharing your blog with us. We find it very hopeful.

Canada to China and back! said...

She is beautiful, look at her smile! Such a cutie:) It sounds like you are being very wise about the attachment stuff! Have a wonderful rest of your week!
Kim

Anonymous said...

You are so right....thanks for the update - good to know.
Nonna

Niki said...

She is so cute! I can't wait to see her again soon. Eden has a wonderful mom and doesn't need to do any "mommy shopping".
Niki

Jay and Emily said...

Her. That Dress. That bow. That face! Perfection. I love her so much and it is so easy to stare at her all day long. Thanks for sharing your stories with us. It will help for us to know what to do to help. Love you all!