Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Where's Mommy?

A few of you have asked about the lack of photos of Eli and his mommy.  The truth is, Eli's not much into mommy right now.

When we first picked Eli up from the care center, he wanted to hold my hand and sit on my lap. In his sleep, it was me who he snuggled up to; Brad received Eli's feet in his face.  As Eli became more comfortable with life outside the care center, he wanted me a little bit less.  But then traveling home he clung pretty tightly to me again, particularly at the outset of our journey in the Addis airport.

Now that we're home and he's gotten settled in his new environment, he wants little to do with me.  I will ask him a question and receive a scowl; Brad will ask it immediately after and get a pleasant response.

Brad and I knew there was a good chance that Eli would attach to one of us before the other. We'd heard that sometimes the kids will reject their adoptive mother, as a reaction to having been relinquished by their birth mother.  Maybe it's anger at their birth mother, maybe it's fear of being rejected again that causes them to push the mother away; control the pain that they think is inevitable.  And we know nothing about what kind of relationship Eli had with his birth mother before his relinquishment, and how that may be complicating things between Eli and me.

Before we brought Eli home Brad and I agreed that, whatever happened, we would foster attachment in any way we could.  To whichever parent Eli was inclined to attach.

But you know what?  It's hard.  A lot harder than I thought it would be, not to let my emotions get in the way of simply allowing attachment to happen on Eli's terms.

It's hard to have your child recoil from your touch, and then accept his father.  It's hard to have your child shove you away, over and over again.

And it's hard for me to be honest about this.  It would be much easier to just post cute photos on facebook and give the illusion that everything is perfect.

But the truth is I look at our son and my heart aches.  And I have to remind myself that I have loved him a lot longer than he's even known I exist.

Intellectully I know to be grateful that Eli's attaching so well with one of us--Brad and I planned for this possiblity, and I am truly happy for the bond he and Eli are forming.  To see them together, father and son, makes me almost weep with joy.  I wouldn't change that for anything.

We have our moments, Eli and I.  Mainly when the rest of the world, including his father, aren't around.  And Brad has been really sensitive to giving Eli and me time alone to develop our relationship.

Yesterday afternoon, Brad left us at home to run errands for a few hours.  While I was working on the computer, Eli came over to me with a set of earbuds and plugged them into my iPhone.  He put one earbud in his ear and handed me the other.  We listened to CSN and Y (Deja Vu, a favorite) and looked at photos from our Embassy trip.

And I savored my moment with him.  Because it's these that keep me going.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I really really really relate to this! Not fun - not fun at ALL. So sorry that you're going through it - it's exceedingly tough to be dealing with pushes away from someone who you love so much.

    One thing we did that helped (please ignore this if it doesn't apply to you!) was 'cuddle sandwiches'. Our boy was happy to be hugged by Daddy but not me, but he stayed happy if the two of us cuddled him at once, squishing him in the middle (we called it a cuddle sandwich). I think that helped him a bit to get used to being touched by both of us at once, and then it was a bit easier for him to be touched by me on my own. Our boy was only about 1 at the time though so I realise he might not want lots of hugs from Daddy either.

    Keep on keeping on - this stage is HARD!