Blogging is a strange thing. A public forum to put our private thoughts, experiences, and life. It's often a struggle for me to know what to say and what to leave out...how to inspire but keep it real.
Here's the bottom line, after being home 2 1/2 months. The hardest thing in adoption is attachment. Not the language barrier, or the fact that Tavin can't walk, or countless other things that may come to mind. You know, you hear that in all the trainings prior to adoption, adoption books, and from other adoptive parents. But hearing and preparing is different than living it. Living out the reality of not having attachment is approximately 1000x harder to experience as a parent than you can prepare for. I hurt every day for the last 2 1/2 years that Tavin simply missed out on family life....any family, and specifically ours. When he occasionally falls asleep on me, I mostly feel sadness for his not to have had this when he was a day old...a month old...a year old. When I see a mother cuddling her infant, I feel a stab of hurt for what he has lost out on, what we lost out on with him. Our one and only current goal with Tavin is attachment. It's SO much more than him preferring us to other friends or strangers. It's developing a deep seated, internal confidence, trust, in us, that we will always be around, always meet his needs. This can take years to establish. It's built in every daily interaction. We are seeing roots of it taking place. Beautiful sprouts that often seem small...like when he lets me finger feed him, tucking small pieces into his cheek to swallow, instead of refusing to eat. Relaxing into my chest when I hold him, screaming less, laughing when we play, reaching to be picked up.
Attachment is a two way street, and as he has relaxed and "let it all hang out" the last few months, we have to constantly remind ourselves that attachment takes time, for us as well as for him. Reminding ourselves that every day is a fresh day to pour into him, regardless of our failures the day before. That healing takes time, and can't be reached in a day. Constantly looking back over the time we've been home and seeing how far he's come helps to get through the rough spots. And there are plenty of those. But it IS getting better.
Two weeks ago we turned a HUGE corner when Tavin started shaking his head no, when offered something (usually food) that he didn't want. Rather than his knee jerk reaction (screaming) he learned that a simple head shake does just as well. This has drastically cut down on the tantrums throughout the day! That sounds small, but trust me - its not. It's the biggest gain so far! Also its a great reminder that as communication improves, so will our days.
We celebrated his first Independence Day. Several hours at the pool (never have pictures of that - I promise we were there), grilled out, caught fireflies and saw fireworks. (Maddox, taking the jar of fireflies to see the fireworks: "dem fidafwies gonna wub da fidaworks")
Letting him sit in the front seat of the car with daddy and "drive" while waiting for the fireworks to start far trumped the fireworks. It's now his desire to drive whenever we are in the car. Sorry buddy you have a few more years to go!
Tucker and Maddox have truly adjusted SO well, like a breeze, to having another brother. But we try to incorporate dates often with them to have some one on one time. I took out Tucker to Starbucks for breakfast and games of Uno. Somehow he will be 7 this year. It just doesn't seem possible!
Then I took Maddox out for a date to Subway and ice cream (his choice). I want to store up each moment with our boys. They are all three so precious!!
We celebrated Maddox's "half birthday" with cupcakes. Halfway to four!
Summertime has been the biggest blessing, mainly the pool. The boys love the pool, and Tavin is obsessed! He isn't afraid of getting his face wet or dunking under, never comes up sputtering, he just instinctively knows to hold his breath. he has this great flotation device that lets his paddle around anywhere, and gives us lots of time to play together. I'm so thankful for the timing of bringing him home, if it was winter we would go crazy cooped up inside!
We went to the mountains a couple weekends ago for the afternoon. Played in the creek, grilled out and took a walk. Unfortunately they had a sign posted proclaiming it "bear country", even more unfortunate is that Tucker felt the need to read it out loud, and Maddox spent the entire time asking where the bears were, if they would attack, what they were doing, if we would hunt them, and on and on. He's talked about them quite often since and how "Maddah so gwad da bear's not attacked we". Yes his grammar is a little off, but seriously so cute.
Sometimes we have pretend birthday parties, complete with singing and gifts from the playroom in gift bags. The boys think its the best.
Daffodils and earthworms-life is so much messy, so much beauty. I think it's a life long journey to learn to embrace both.