Friday, May 28, 2010

Bonding and Attachment with LL....

Well, on to my NEXT topic in my series of POSTS leading up to our 1 year home with LL: Bonding and Attachment!!! This is a fascinating many people spend many hours researching and planning for....AND, I'll share with ya WHAT WORKED FOR US!! This necessarily won't work for everyone/anyone else!! This is JUST WHAT WORKED FOR US....I pass NO judgment on those that do things completely different than I do...cause I'm sure some of ya will find me QUITE NUTTY after reading our "BONDING with LL" after 1 year home post!! BUT..I will have to say, that we've had a WONDERFUL and SUCCESSFUL one year home...and it has been completely 110% EASY to bond with LL!! Again, I'm no professional...just sharing what worked for us....So, here goes.... ***So, I never for one minute THOUGHT it would be hard to LOVE a child that I didn't birth!! I just knew I could/would love an adopted child the same. I think what proved it for me was losing our FIRST referral....The pain and tears were real...and it let my hubby and I BOTH know that we obviously felt feelings for a baby girl we'd never even met....So...then came second referral....and well..I was just head over heals AGAIN!! I couldn't wait to get to my baby..and I couldn't get there fast enough.

***So, I truly think the trip to Ethiopia was awesome and wonderful!! My only worry was leaving my 4 other children behind...and when my hubby decided he should stay home..well..then I had nothing else to worry about!! I headed to Ethiopia on a Saturday morning with my big sister, Kelly...and well..we had a GREAT TIME!! She knew not to touch or even look at LL too long...cause we were going to be BONDING!! :) So, it was just the two of us the entire trip....Once Almaz handed LL to me....I was in love and I wasn't putting her back down. Now this was very similar to HOW I DEALT WITH MY BIO NEW BORNS...I was very much a BABY HOG...I didn't want anyone else to hold my babies, help me with them, or to really even touch them...and that pretty much includes my hubby too...I never wanted him to get up at night or to change a diaper..cause I honestly wanted to do it all my self...Yes, crazy I know!! :) Control issue there, maybe?? Hmmmm, Maybe!! :) So......after 4 bio babies..(and I FELT the same way over all 4)..I knew I'd be a GREAT adoptive Momma!!!

***So, I was given LL...and well...I just never put her back down...I lugged her around Africa never letting anyone else touch or hold her basically. I slept with her...took her in the bathroom if I was going, and attached her to my body with a sling and there she stayed!! The trip was wonderful!! I got more sleep in Ethiopia than I ever get back home with my 4 other little I actually came back home feeling GREAT!! I napped in Ethiopia when she did..and she slept better ONLY getting up a few times a night THAN my George was doing back home!! I hadn't slept through the night in getting up with LL was a breeze..I was very much used to it!! So this gets me to WHY DO I THINK OUR ADOPTION AND BONDING WAS SO EASY/SUCCESSFUL??

1. I was already in the midst of babies, diapers, sleepless nights, no showers, exhaustion with my other 4...LL just mixed right into it all...I find people have a hard time with adoption/birthing a new child WHEN THEY HAD GOTTEN OUT OF THE BABY STAGE AND TRIED TO RETURN BACK TO IT!!! When you are right in the thick of it already...adding another one just doesn't make that big of a difference!!

2. I had already birthed a "highly sensitive", "colicky" , "high maintenance" baby ONCE BEFORE...I was determined that NO ONE could be any harder than that experience...and well...LL was just EASY compared to my past experiences. I'd also birthed a sick baby that was hospitalized and was taken by ambulance from her sicknesses as an infant..and well...I was mentally prepared for a sick, screaming baby if that was what came my didn't!! LL seemed to like me from day one!! She wasn't a screamer...she was actually kind of funny and smiley!! She seemed to LOVE all the attention she was getting..and well...I really liked her too!! Oh, and she was VERY healthy hospital stays or weekly doctor visits like I'd done in the past with one of my bio babies!! So, already...things were easier than what I'd dealt with in the past!! Perspective is everything!!

3. Ok, Ladies...this will be the hard one for ya....You must reach in deep and find your "Laid Back Bone"!! I know...some of you are thinking YOU JUST DON'T HAVE ONE!!! But, i promise you do....Instead of getting stressed at the situation of being in a third world country and up to your eyeballs with baby poop and bottles and no water, no electricity (we seriously had none all week), no food, no hot showers, no computers or phones...LEARN TO LAUGH AT IT ALL!! I LOVED experiencing such a place cause I knew it might not ever happen again!! And, I hear all the time, "Oh, I just can't go with out my sleep"...Oh, really you can!! I used to think the same thing...and I promise your body will adjust..and you can go on way less sleep than you think you can!! You will survive!! Now, doing it with a good attitude might be the challenge though!! :)

4. Ladies, STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP!! Ok, so I find that most people having a hard time with their adoption experience is because THEY ARE PUTTING SO MUCH PRESSURE ON THEMSELVES!! I hear things like, "Oh, NO i'm failing....I don't feel LOVE at first sight..I feel like my child is a stranger" Ok, so WHO CARES!! YOU will eventually feel something for your child ONE the professionals say: FAKE IT UNTIL ITS REAL!! You won't be able to NOT LOVE a child that is attached to your body 24 hrs. a day after a few weeks...For some people, it just takes time...AND THAT IS OK!!! I have so many friends that didn't feel a thing for their new borns and called me to ask me IF THEY WERE CRAZY!! No...this is normal for some people...Some people really need to spend the time with their child whether birthed or adopted before some day waking up and realizing "Hey, I kind of LIKE you now!! " Which leads me to:

5. Raising Children is just HARD whether you birth them or adopt them....I have talked MORE friends OFF the fence after giving birth than I've ever done in the adoption world. We as American Citizens are just selfish and spoiled...there is nothing harder than realizing that THE WORLD DOESN'T REVOLVE AROUND US ANYMORE!! It revolves around this new person in your life...Again..some people handle this with ease...others FREAK OUT and really resist this new way of life...And, again...everything levels out eventually: The new mom gets in a groove...the mom going from one to two learns how to juggle...the mom who births a screaming baby that won't stop while two other toddlers stare at ya wanting your attention EVENTUALLY learns to calm the screaming baby!!! Everything CALMS down eventually and it is just learning to smile during the difficult times and ALWAYS praying to the Lord asking HIM to give you the skills to get through the hard times with GRACE!!

3. Just REALIZE that you don't know what your getting whether you birth a child or adopt a child!! All of my 5 children look different, act different and react differently to the same situation put before them. It is just the way of the world. You may birth a screamer or adopt a screamer...You may birth an easy child or adopt an easy child....Either way....that child is YOURS..and I promise you that God has a plan to help your GROW through the difficult times...and well...we could all use some spiritual growth in our take it, accept it, smile and move on!!

4. So, my hubby said once that " I " just thought LL was easy because I was SO used to kids now and "IF" someone else had adopted her that they probably would have thought she was "hard"!! LL hard?? NO WAY HUBBY!! :) Ok, so he meant that she isn't perfect...BUT SHE'S SO NORMAL!! She, from day one, LOVED for me to hold her all the time, SCREAMED very dramatically and could break glass if she didnt' get her way, didn't sleep through the night for the first 7 months home, and LOVES to make huge messes to get a reaction out of us!! She's gone through her "hitting" stage, her "throwing her self back" stage, etc. BUT all this is normal...She acts just like all my other kids did at certain, I'm used to it...but children are children..and there would be something wrong with them IF they weren't throwing fits!! :) So, I say...bring on the fit...I praise God and thank HIM for allowing her to be SO normal and NOT BROKEN after going through the loss of her birth mom and her orphanage workers, her country etc.

5. Ok, so I personally think the things I did for the FIRST YEAR home made it VERY easy to bond and attach to LL...Here are some of them:

* I seriously held her and comforted her as much as humanly possible...If she grunted or made a noise, I ran to her to let her know I was there for her.

* I've been co-sleeping with her for a year now..I did this with all my children..and it really makes for great bonding.

* I've still FOR ONE ENTIRE YEAR never left her. She's never been out of my sight day or night except for a hand full of times where my hubby watched her while I HAD to run to something for a VERY short period of time..and even then, I tried to make sure she was sleeping. So, that means: no nurseries, no babysitters, no family watching her, nothing...just 365 days/24 hrs. a day of us being together...Ok, so i know this is the time you're thinkin i'm nuts..but hey, I promise it works for me/us. :) I gave up all girls nights, book clubs, etc. for this entire year...

* I did/still do all the feeding, diaper changing, putting down for naps, getting up at night, etc.

* I KNEW we weren't going to be able to "stay at home" once we were LL in the sling all the time is what kept us close and her comfortable to her new surroundings...She never cared where we were as long as she was in the sling.

***Well, I'm tired and going to wrap this LONG WINDED sucker up...My point here tonight is...Do what works for you and your child..and realize that ATTITUDE is about 99% of the game. YES, there are some incredibly HARD situations out there that have NOTHING to do with attitude..I get that...but for the majority...take it slow...pour love into your child whether it feels REAL or not..and eventually...all the hard work will pay off....because ONE YEAR LATER..I can honestly say that I'm so thankful for all the sleepless nights, the constant one on one with LL, and all the work cause it has made us CLOSE and we share a BOND that can't be broken!!

Happy Friday to you all, kj post will be HOW her siblings and Daddy handled the adoption, how they bonded and dealt with it all...just an fyi if you were wondering :)


  1. I love this post b/c its so similar to my parenting my one biological boy. He's been babysat four times (20 months old now), and only one was over night at my moms. He's in nursery probably every other week at church, and I always miss him while he's there. ;) I have no worries about attatching to my little princess. I expect the worse, and then anything better (and let's face it, SOMETHIGN will be better than the worse case scenerio) is icing on the cake.

  2. wow, you are an amazing woman! I know the Lord is going to reward you for that wonderfully positive attitude through the hard things. I would LOVE to know some secrets for how you juggle 5 kids and if adding another one had to create new schedules and routine changes at all. Just secrets you have found to handling that many kids... :)

  3. Great post... I have done some very similar things with my girls (well except I work full time), and it is amazing how far we've come with E since she's been home. R and I bonded instantly, but it was different with our second in many ways.

  4. Yahoo! I'm not the only nutty one....I was also with our adopted son 24/7 365! It worked! We didn't do this with my oldest adopted son and I really wish I could have do overs ~ he's bonded but it too so much longer and he only went to day care 1 day a week for "socialization". Boy did that back fire and it was a horrible experience for him. He socialized more with me all over town! Great Post!!! Blessings!

  5. Fascinating! This was really helpful. I just received my first dose of "you only want to adopt a child as a charity case" from someone so reading positive things about adoption really helped.

  6. kristi~you are right...attitude plays a huge role, and you have such a great and inspiring attitude=)! great post! kp

  7. Thanks for all the ideas. It is great to hear all you have done to bond with LL. I can't wait to do it with my little girl. Thanks for being real and trying to come across like a "perfect" parent. Staying positive in everything and praying constantly helps us Moms to be who GOD wants us to be - His instrument of love and grace to our children. ;-)

  8. wonderful post! THanks so much for all your words of wisdom!

  9. What a WONDERFUL post!!! Thank you for sharing your wisdom!!! It makes me want to adopt - wait - I am :). One week down and two more to go :)

    Love Ya!!

  10. YOu are so right, PERSPECTIVE IS EVERYTHING! This is my mantra at times.
    I thank God for having given me my "hard baby" first... it kicked my rear right into shape. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Thank you so much for this post!! I got a lot out of it! I'm going to book mark this for when Tucker comes home.

  12. Thank you so much for this post. Your gotcha video (and God) are what got us started on this journey. This post is just what I needed this week. Thanks again!

  13. Just wanted to let you know that I came upon your blog from a blog link from another blog! Inspiring and excited to read more!

  14. you were born to be a mom, kristi. i love how you delight in that role. but i also love how you encourage women who it may not come as naturally to.

    precious pic of you and ll at the end. my how she has changed since that gotcha day pic!

  15. I love where you are going with all your information, makes me want to share our experience all over again as well. Great for families thinking about adoption or just getting into it.

    I can relate to you on so many things. I too carried gracie all over in her front pack. It was great and the only way she would go to sleep.

    We have three kids and we have two older ones 13 and 11. Every one thought we were crazy to go back to baby stage again. But honestly "for us" I had longed to have another for so long that it was much easier than when I had two that were 4 and 2. I have more patience for one, and more time. As far as getting up and going, yes that was an adjustment..packing all the baby gear again, but everything els was great..and a gift from God ...Your the best and I wish we lived closer ..
    have a great weekend! I love your honesty!
    Tina W.

  16. I LOVE these posts on adoption and all the details. We want to adopt, just do not know when yet. Sooner than later though. I can't get enough of these keep them coming. Do as many as you can think of :) I like knowing all the details, even the negative stuff, cause it makes it easier. Also, it makes me know what to expect, and I feel like satan can't use some of the excuses we have had because you are calling them out. Great work! :) I wish we lived closer to you so we could meet and talk all about it in person. If your every in the Twin Cities, MN area, let me know! Also, what would you recommend doing: we want 4 bio kids like you and then to adopt one or two kids. We have 2 kids so far, so would you recommend waiting to have all of our bio kids first and then adopt or adopt in the middle of having our kids?

  17. Kristi,

    As the momma of seven bio kids, I say KUDOS to you. This advice should be shared with all moms. 1.) Attitude is everything, and 2.) Being a mom means sacrifice (which takes us back to #1!). Job well done. I have loved reading your last several posts. :-) (Saving up advice and gearing up for bringing our two new little ones home. I CAN'T WAIT!)

  18. Thank you for these post. It is very comforting to see how another family has dealt with the process and also so very exciting! We can wait to see what God has in store for us!

  19. Loved this post! I often think about how I'll bond with my baby boy, and then I think of your blog and all you did with LL. I work out of the home, so I know some things will be very different, but I look forward to using many of your tactics. :)

  20. Thanks for this post, Kristi! I have been thinking about these things a lot lately so thank you for the advice and encouragement!!

  21. Love, Love, LOVE this post!! These things need to be talked about with honesty. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Amazed by HIS grace,


Thank you for your kind words!!