UPDATE AND A NOTE ON TIMING

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Brae Update:

That boy’s language skills have just skyrocketed over the last several weeks. He’s using prepositions and complete sentences, and is learning and using new words each day, literally. He’s also recently catching on to his favorite phrases, which he then applies to everything. For instance, he’s learned “it’s too scary.” He learned it when we took him on the roller coaster ride at the local amusement park. The first time around the roller coaster, he was stunned. The second time around the roller coaster, I became one of those parents who force their screaming kids to go on amusement rides. In that moment, he learned the phrase, “it’s too scary.”

Well, now he applies it to everything. For example, yesterday morning he insisted on NOT having his hot cocoa in the purple cup with butterflies on it. Why? You guessed it. “It’s too scary.”

Sienna Update:

The girl LOVES her baths. She can be screaming bloody murder right before I put her in, but the second she melts into the sudsy water, she is in pure heaven. If there wasn’t that whole silly thing about drowning, I’d just leave her there for hours.

She’s recently discovered her hands. They go in her mouth. This is a blessing because she does not like binkys.

She’s starting to smile, and can actually roll over from her stomach to her back already.

We’re still dealing with evening crying spells, which we’re trying to combat by just putting her to bed early. Sometimes, that can be an hour-long-plus process.

Tygh/Britney Update and a Note on Timing:

We were recently interviewed by Biola University for a study they are doing with NEDC about our experience. The interviewer actually flew up from California and then drove down from Seattle just to interview us. She mostly just wanted to hear about our journey to Sienna from start to finish. It was so surreal to re-live the process from the beginning and it made me realize just how far we’ve come, and the story that God wove together for Sienna.

It also caused me to think about two very interesting timing “coincidences” God weaved in. When we think back on Sienna’s life (from conception), God has put together quite a masterpiece intertwining all of her time spent waiting in limbo, just waiting to be born, with all of our time waiting to get her. But it also recently dawned on me two very interesting dates that are just too coincidental to be accidental:

— September 18, 2010: date of our transfer
— September 18, 2011: last date of our maternity leave (coming full circle)

… and

— June 6, 2010: first appointment with NEDC in Tennessee
— June 6, 2011: my due date
— June 6, 2011: date my water broke

Isn’t that cool? It’s also cool to think that just 6 weeks after I gave birth, Sienna is 6 weeks old. Oh. Wait. I guess that’s not so coincidental.

LIFE WITH A ONE-MONTH-OLD (AND A TODDLER)

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Brae update:

— Brae walks up to me the other day, completely out of the blue, looks me square in the eyes, points his finger in my face, and says very sternly, “Mom, don’t HIT me!”…. that boy is going to get me in trouble one of these days.

— The other day, Brae hands me his wet diaper and declares, “Mom, I want to go potty.” We go upstairs to his little potty where he stands over it for several minutes, flexing his little bum muscles. Finally, he proclaims, “Mom, it’s too hard.” Then, he reaches down, and picks up the little potty and plants it squarely over/in front of his privates. I’d love to know the thought process that went behind that one…. “Hmm.. maybe if I bring the potty to ME, the pee will come…”

Sienna update:

— My father-in-law told me that he had a conversation with a friend about the journey Sienna took to come to us. He was telling him the whole story and at the end, asked his friend: “How do you think Sienna will process this when she is older? What would you think if you were Sienna?” And the friend said without hesitation, “I thought about that very same question as you were telling the story. The first thing that came to my mind is that I would be so grateful. So grateful someone went to that much trouble to save me.” I LOVE that.

— Sienna is a porker. And I say that with the utmost affection. But, I’m often finding dried, curdled milk in her neck folds. That does NOT smell good. And… umm… I’m having a hard time distinguishing her feminine parts from her thighs. It’s all just rolls down there! And, as my dear friend stated, “I hope no one ever thinks that about me!” Ha ha. (Only behind your back, Lauren). xoxo

— Sienna is definitely a more challenging infant than Brae was, and yet, I think that she’s probably perfectly “normal.” I’m realizing we were probably just very lucky with Brae. But, I fall more and more in love with my daughter (it’s so weird to say that word!) every day. I love you, baby girl.

Britney update:

— I’ve had a relatively easy and quick recovery (can I get an AMEN to that?). That’s what just 6 pushes yields (after 31 hours of torture). I did my first run/walk at 11 days P.S. (post-Sienna). And I’ve slowly been building up to a full run, for about 30 minutes at a time. It is heaven to return to one of my favorite pastimes — summer evening runs. And, my fabu brother-in-law made me a terrific 80s playlist that I cannot wait to rock out to. I ask you, is there anything better than running to Starship?

I think not.

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ADOPTION AND ATTACHMENT

PhotobucketAs I mentioned in my last blog, we went to an adoption/ attachment seminar the other day put on by our church. It was presented by a doctor who is an expert in the field. The seminar was very informative, but I felt geared more toward those who have adopted older children or internationally. I’m sure all types of adoptions (even biological relationships for that matter) have some sort of attachment issues/attachment breaks, but I felt the attachment disorders we learned about more readily apply to older children and international adoptees.

That said, we learned a lot, and I’d like to pass along some interesting tidbits:

1. In the first year of life, a baby has no wants. The baby only has needs. If those needs are not immediately met (wet diaper, fed, tired), the child has a break in basic trust. If that basic trust is continually not met, the child begins to have an attachment break. (Again, this applies to bio/genetic children as well).

2. Beginning at about 4 months gestation, the baby desires and longs to look into her mother’s eyes, and smell her skin. For children who are adopted domestically or internationally, if they don’t experience those two things after birth, their body records an attachment break. Their mind may not recognize it, but their body keeps score. (I have trouble with this one, because I don’t like to think my son’s body is suffering from the fact he didn’t look into his bio mom’s eyes, or smell her skin). As the doctor said, “Even when victims forget, their bodies keep score.”

3. There are 27 criteria in determining whether an infant has appropriately attached to her parents or not. A sampling: a) resists comforting or nurturance; b) poor eye contact; c) exceedingly demanding; d) stiffens or becomes rigid when held; and e) when held chest to chest, faces away.

4. There is another list for children under the age of 5. Tygh and I filled it out for Brae. Of the 30 criteria, we listed 23 as him exhibiting none of the behaviors. We listed 7 as him exhibiting “moderately.” They included: a) angry or rageful when cries; b) exceedingly demanding; c) likes to be in control; d) cries or rages when held beyond his wishes; e) prefers Dad to Mom; f) get in and out of parents lap frequently; g) feeding problems.

5. In reference to the above, I have to ask myself — do any of those behaviors seem abnormal for a 2.5-year-old boy? Don’t most 2.5-year-old boys have temper tantrums? Demand things? Want to be in control? Don’t want to be held when throwing a temper tantrum? Prefer Daddy (as a boy)? Are antsy? Want to eat only what they want to eat? … This was the heart of my confusion with the seminar — how do I know if what I see in my son is normal behavior vs. an attachment disorder?

Toward the end of the seminar, I had a mixture of emotions. Was my son’s body suffering on a daily basis because he never looked into his bio mom’s eyes? Did he have some kind of attachment disorder and I’m being naive? Is my son forever “ruined” because he had an attachment break at infancy?

As gloomy as some of the presentation was, in the back of the material, I learned that only 3-6% of the overall population actually have an attachment disorder. What we were listening to was the MINORITY and WORST cases.

Yes, it was good to have the information and general knowledge. Yes, I know that Brae will have to deal with certain feelings associated with being adopted. Yes, Sienna may have similar feelings as well. Tygh and I feel prepared and are open, ready, and willing to discuss their adoption stories with them at the appropriate times.

But, no, I don’t think that either of my children are any more broken than so many of us who grew up with our biological/genetic parents. As the product of divorce, I’m sure I myself fall into some classification of an attachment break. I know that I can’t “love away” an attachment break, but I refuse (perhaps naively) to believe that my son is wounded by the break from his biological family. Nothing at ALL against his bio family (when you adopt a child, you adopt the extended family as well), but blood does not make family.