Tuesday, February 5, 2013

the post I may regret?

I woke up this morning with hives and my eyes were almost swollen shut.  I got a steroid shot so I now I can't sleep.  Hence the midnight blogging.

I have hesitated to blog about this.  The last thing I ever want to do is say anything on here that will one day hurt my babies feelings.  However, another adoptive mom, that I blog stalk, shared her difficulty in attaching with one of her three adopted children after an instant attachment with the first two.  Suddenly, I felt like I could breathe a little deeper like we weren't adoptive failures.  We are just a work in progress. 

Now, I don't think we are having any attaching "problems" with Sam, and I think Sam is right on track with his attachment for us.  However, I could not say, as many adoptive moms do, that it is no different than with your biological children.  That is their reality, and I think I let that set me up for some unrealistic expectations about how I would feel about Sam when we met.  My only mother/son experience is my experience with John Hinton.  I thought about him for a decade. I carried him for nine months.  When I laid eyes on him for the first time, the world stopped turning.  When he cries or wheezes, I feel it in my bones and get a rush of adrenalin to protect him.  When he lays his head on my chest and I breathe him in, my heart skips a beat. 

I prayed for Sam since at least Christmas 2009 when I tearfully asked JR what he thought happened when you knew God's will but did not follow.  I told him that I thought God was breaking my heart for orphans and that I knew I was called to act, but that I did not want to adopt.  I wanted more babies just like the one we had.  Ha, what a joke now.  John Hinton is one of a kind.  JR was not thinking about adopting babies or any other babies for that matter. 

I have prayed on my knees for Sam since we saw his picture in January 2010.  I have begged God to show me his way and give me the courage to follow it while carrying JR, because that is the only way we were both going to get there.  I got on my knees at work and prayed for Sam's health, happiness and broken heart.  I also got on my knees to pray for him in my bedroom and even on the bathroom floor at beagle bagel.  I just assumed that after all of this, the world would stop turning when I laid eyes on him and hugged him, that nothing he would do would gross me out, and that I would suddenly have a reservoir of patience previously untapped.  For the record, I got some additional patience, plenty for Sam on his own, but just not enough for the two of them together.

While there were overwhelming emotions and plenty of love at "gotcha day" (I can't fake that smile in the picture), it was not a repeat of John Hinton's birth and why should it have been.  In a perfect world, all parents would be willing, ready and able to parent.  But this is an imperfect situation with imperfect people.  Sam came to us from places that John Hinton had never been.  He faced challenges that we all guard our children against.  He did this for two years and had learned to all but thrive in an orphanage where many do not.  He is a fighter and survivor.  He is superficially charming as a coping mechanism.  He has opinions and can hit and bite. He can lay out in the floor.  And I don't care who you are, having boiled egg yolk sneezed on you by someone you met less than 24 hours ago is disconcerting or an all out crisis if you are JR.  No one told us that because of his cleft, food will get packed into his nose and he will sneeze. These are things you need to know. 

These are challenges.

We are lucky, Sam is an easy kid to love. Everyday I learn something new about him that I love.  He is hilarious.  When he is displeased, he furls his brow, waves his right hand in a hail Hitler way and shouts.  This is now known as the "angry Asian."  He hates for the sun to be in his eyes and does the angry Asian at the sun.  He dances very slowly and purposefully like a ballerina.  He will bite my booty while I cook at the stove if I don't acknowledge him fast enough. He loves hugs and kisses now.  He loves baths.  He likes to stroke my hair and put barrettes in it.   He will still eat food that I offer after he refuses it from JR.  He likes his fuzzy blanket.  He tries to get naked every time he sees the bathtub.  He has learned to take his shoes off in the car like John Hinton.  He threw them at me the other day.  He loves Mexican food. He is not afraid of spicy food.  He thinks Sprite is the best thing ever.  He looks adorable with his hair spiked.  He loves his family and fried fish if this weekend is any indication.  He can throw a baseball 15 feet with accuracy.  He cannot walk down stairs without falling.  He MUST under ALL circumstance shut EVERY door he meets and loudly.  He likes to cuddle in the morning.  He doesn't like tv but loves the iphone.  He will do anything for M&Ms.  He claps for himself before we can.  He now snubs puffs.  He is a great kid.

Every day, every week, we draw a little closer together. He learns to love and to trust us a little more and we fall a little deeper in love with him.

I felt like I needed to write this in case there are any other mama's out there that feel like there is no one else like them out there.  Like the only love is love at first sight, all pictures are cute and glossy, all the houses are clean and siblings are kind.   

I mean I knew JR for five years before we started dating and dated him for five years before we were engaged and waited two more years before we got married and seven more years for John Hinton.  John Hinton is really an anomaly for my love style. 

The best advice anyone gave me is just feel the emotions that you are having.  They may not be what you expected but that doesn't mean they will last.

Here is our gotcha day picture. 

We've come a long way, baby, and we are not done yet.


  1. Oh Alissa, these feeling are so, so normal! I definitely had this experience with one of my children who was great at throwing major tantrums! There are so many things, though, that I wish that I had known when we adopted this child that I've learned along the way. Feel free to email me if you have any specific concerns or questions. There are lots of things that you could do to help your new (adorable) son as he adjusts, which makes it a lot easier to bond with him too!

    Bless you!

  2. You are probably my new hero. Great blog!

  3. You are doing a great job. And now you are back at work, so you've turned a corner, my friend!