Friday, June 21, 2013

"Cocooning"

So, this beautiful thing called adoption has happened.We are home. We are thankful!

Allie Ruth has had some great-very thorough--medical appointments this week. We are thankful for our local physicians, who we are blessed to also call our friends, for taking such great care of Allie Ruth! We were also thankful that we were able to spend Wednesday at Children's Hospital/UAB International Adoption Clinic in Birmingham, having many adoption specialists assess and evaluate the behaviors of our precious daughter.  This clinic is an enormous asset for all families who are adopting internationally.
IAC appt--we were in this same room for 4 hours...and she was a trooper!
As we move forward, we cannot forget what life has been like for our daughter. Yes, she now has a mother and father who are deeply in love with her, and would do anything for her. Sadly, she doesn't understand that just yet...and she may not for a long time. We, along with the adoption professionals, have reason to believe that she has likely never bonded or attached to anyone...ever. Shu Shu showed no emotion when her caregivers passed her over to us at the Civil Affairs office. As I wrote about in a previous post, she didn't shed a tear as we said goodbye to her orphanage. This behavior is very telling. Breaks my heart to even think that my child, at 2.5 years old, has never been loved, or loved someone enough to miss them.
 
This was taken just a few minutes after she arrived at the civil affairs office to meet us.
Every child is different, and there are many things that will impact a child's behavior and their ability to attach to their forever family when they get home. Although we have a good amount of positive information about her last orphanage(thanks to the partnership with Lifeline), we do not have any information about the first orphanage where she lived for the entire first year of her life. We feel it is likely that she lacked in nurturing and was shunned/neglected in her orphanages because she has albinism(which is culturally rejected and feared in her birth country). Picturing my child for some--or even any--of her months of life thus far as not only the "least of these", but the "least of the least" is almost too much to even think about.

Allie Ruth loves, loves, loves being around people--especially other children. Those of you who met us at the airport, have seen us at doctor appointments, or have dropped off food/gifts have probably observed the same. She is truly the giggliest, funniest, happiest little chatter box of a child I've ever been around.
What we have observed though--as I mentioned in my last post-- is that she still has no fear of strangers, and calls almost everyone she meets "mama". Charming adults has been a survival mechanism for her over her two years of life. As strange as it may seem, adopted children who act very outgoing and affectionate with strangers is not a healthy thing. It typically means that the child hasn't attached to anyone.

So, here's the good news! Those terrible days as an orphan are gone...forever...for our daughter!
Allie Ruth loves her new room!
So what does her behavior mean for our family unit as we move forward? We must "cocoon" with her...and we were told by the adoption specialists to expect this to be necessary for Shu Shu from anywhere to 3-6 months. If you are not in the adoption loop, it may sound crazy to you. However, Stephen & I must be her only caregivers 24/7. We will be the only people to meet her physical needs-- the only ones to feed her, bath her, change her, console her, and so on. She must stay home with at least one parent as much as possible. We were told to limit visitors, and encourage friends and family to pour their affection, time, and energy into our boys, while we meet Allie Ruth's needs. Hopefully, then she will come to understand that we are her sole parents for life, and will have a strong and healthy attachment to her forever family. We had expected to "lay low" for a few weeks, but it actually needs to be much longer for her.

Will it be tough? Absolutely.

We ask you to pray for us all--especially our precious boys, who have been amazing big brothers. They are having to share the attention of mom and dad with a little sister these days. Their schedule and life will be different in the months ahead, and we pray they adjust well.
Big brothers serving breakfast in bed on Allie Ruth's first morning home.
Thank you all for the continuous calls, texts, and emails. I haven't been able to respond to most of them yet, but please know how much it means to know that you all are thinking and praying for our family.

 We have claimed this verse from the start, and will continue to do so.
 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with
you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)


Trusting Our Father,

 Alison

1 comment:

  1. Praying for your family as you journey down this road of attachment with Allie Ruth. I am praying for your boys and for you and Steven as you choose to do what's best for your daughter. Praying that she will start to grasp your love for her as her mom and dad. Hugs to you sweet friend! We are in this together and our children are so worth it!! {hugs}

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