Open and honest guest post by one of our Madison families. She graciously agreed to share here, knowing how important it is to educate those following behind her about all aspects of adoption, and not just the unicorns and rainbows. Please check out their full blog here to read more!
He is a part of every conversation.
He inserts his opinion on on every topic, even ones he knows nothing about.
He remembers and confirms every detail, even when he was never here in the first place to experience it.
He’s wiggly and jiggly and bouncy and giggly almost all the time.
If he doesn’t know the answer, he lies.
He talks constantly… sometime just to repeat everything you’ve saying.
And it’s all a part of his defense to the newness of it all and finding his place in it.
Just prior to this he literally bounced out of his shoes.
There’s a lot of research and soul searching when you adopt, especially an older child. And much of this research is directed toward attachment. We ask ourselves a lot of questions. Will our child like us? Will our child accept us, love us, eventually? Will we form a family unit with parents that unconditionally love their child? Will our child feel secure enough to trust us with the scariest of feelings? Will he initiate appropriate affection? Will our child feel safe enough to show us their real un-perfect self? In all 3 of our prior adoptions I firmly believe that I solidly attached to my child extremely quickly, maybe even before I met them (if that’s possible) with 2 of the 3 children. So if you would have told me a year ago that I would be the one with the attachment issues this time around, I’m not sure I would have believed you.
This is our 4th time around adopting a special need’s child via international adoption all from institutionalized care. I know better than to create a false image of what it’ll be like ahead of time. Yet completely unknown to me, I absolutely did that with Ru, created an image of what he’d be like in my head even before I met him. And this vision was so far from accurate. Because Jude is also a boy, around the same age and also adopted, I think I unknowing envisioned Ru having a lot of Jude’s personality traits.
Incorrectly I thought Ru would have a personality that would need to be coaxed out. You know, like the stereotypical orphan you see in the movies. A scared little boy that would need to be wrapped in love before we’d see glimpses of his true personality. A shy quiet still child who would literally hide behind my skirts (or a pole or the chair or the wind) with fear in his heart and wouldn’t smile till he felt safe.
***insert record scratch here***
That’s not what we got at all!
Ru is nothing like that, and instead this is the boy that walked through the door 3 months ago.
Full of life, vim and vigor from moment one. Enthusiastic about life! And certainly no need to coax out out his personality because he wears it on his sleeve! On the outside he’s afraid of very little. He’s on All. The. Time. He’s confident and bold. He’s nothing like what I imagined he’d be.
Shame of me for even unknowingly creating this image of a child I knew nothing about. He’s so different. So so much more. He’s louder. Ru is more in the middle of everything I do. He’s faster and brash and more self-reliant than I unknowingly thought he’d be. He’s just plain o’ more than I expected. Again, all unknowingly.
And this is taking me time to process.
And attach to.
When folks ask me how it’s going I truthfully say something like, We’re still finding our new normal, but everyone seems to be adjusting well and just like we hoped they would…
Keeping it real, ’cause that’s what I’ve always tried to do here, (except for the name thing. Sorry.) I’m surprised by my lack of unconditional acceptance who my new son is. I’m embarrassed that there’s some part of me deep down that might still be trying to put him in a box that he just doesn’t fit in. I don’t want to do this, but let’s be honest, there’s parts of me that are. The good news is that with time I think I am getting to a point of acceptance and ultimately a secure attachment. I thought it would be all Ru that would need help attaching to us. I’m surprised that instead it’s me that’s going through this journey. I’m also trusting my support system that time and practice will get me there.