Attachment – where we’re at with that

29 Jul

If you know anyone who has adopted, is adopting or is considering adopting, chances are good you’ve heard about attachment.  Attachment is when the child feels 100% confident and comfortable in your care. (And attachment goes both ways – the parents feeling 100% confident and comfortable with the child, too!)

There are a million books, DVD’s and websites that focus on attachment and it’s mandatory training pre-adoptive parents must do for most, if not all, agencies.

You do a little digging on ‘older child adoption’, which is where Coralie falls, and you’ll find nothing but hard to read information. Before finding Cora, our social worker almost scared us out of adoption completely with her older child talk.  Things can go horribly wrong.  Children who are abused, neglected, malnourished and a whole slew of other things – sometimes things that aren’t even obvious –  can go on to have a horrible time figuring out the whole family thing.

So imagine where our hearts are when the ‘older child adoption’ subject gets raised.  People with the best intentions wind up setting us back a bit.  I’m just going to be vulnerable for a minute and share where we’re at with this, our thoughts on Coralie and our thoughts on what we need.

Coralie has lived in a facility her entire life.  Unlike most Korean orphans, she did not live with a foster family in a home.  But don’t feel sad for her, because she is in an AMAZING facility full of love.  But, she may struggle with figuring out ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ and a home and a small family of 5.  She sleeps with 8 other children, I believe, so sleeping might be something we have to be flexible with.  She may not like the idea initially with a bedroom of her very own. Heck, my youngest NOW doesn’t like that idea either! Maybe they’ll share for a while?  Or maybe we’ll do a family sleeping thing for a while.  Parents on the bed, kids on the floor.  Co-sleeping is a bonding thing, and I can only imagine it would help with that.

Cora is going to be going on 5 when we bring her home.  We’re still deciding about school and when she’ll start. Hopeful that the school will let us sign her up for both Kindergarten and 4K.  Doing a lot of research and talking with ESL teachers as well as parents who have brought home children of this age.  We just can’t know until she’s home, but if she does come home in Feb, she’ll have 6-7 months at home before school would even start.  A great start to her English.

Are we afraid of bonding?  Well, I mean, yes, sort of.  But here’s the thing, we’re a pretty bonded family.  I’m ALWAYS with the kids.  We’re not really one of those families who have kids in and out every single day because my kids and I really like to do things together during the day.  My kids are happy if they have one playdate a WEEK in the summer.  I feel like, they’re young and I’m happy to have them at my feet because time is fleeting, fast.  So when Cora joins us, she’ll not be far away either.

We are doing SO much research, reading books and videos on attachment, but I’m also trusting in God.  He brought us to her and he’s going to weave our hearts together. (Thanks for that beautiful picture, Stephanie.)  Not that I’m not realistic.  It COULD be easy! It COULD be hard.  As our social worker said, “It’s a crapshoot at that age.”

So what do I need? EXCITEMENT. Because need I remind you how amazing it is that this sweet little girl is now my daughter? (ahhhh!!!) I say this in the most lovable way – I don’t need to hear, “Wow.  Well, I know someone who adopted a child that age and it was a nightmare and they divorced.”  Really.  I really do not need that. It’s counterproductive to us.   I also can’t really dig into some of the forums, as wonderful as they might be, if I get the feeling that I’m going to go backwards.

And if any of you out there are adoptive parents and thing I’m not doing my due diligence and might be setting myself up for a disaster, let me also tell you that we’re sooooo on this.  We know some of the things that can go wrong, (can’t know everything), we know that she’ll need to be loved even when she’s trying to make us NOT love her so we’ll go away and we’re very willing to ask for help if we need it. In fact, I’ve got an attachment therapist in my TOWN who we’ve reached out to already in preparation. 

Right now we’re realistic, but very optimistic.  We’ve seen so much video, so much info on her personality and we’re nothing but elated.  A little nervous? Well, sure, but we’d probably be WAY more nervous to bring home the typical 15-20 month old that would come from the traditional Korean adoption.  We’re much MUCH more at ease with her age.

So, if you’re an adoptive parent who adopted an ‘older child’ and you have positive and encouraging things to say to us, spill it! We’d LOVE to celebrate our daughter with you and celebrate your child’s positive attachment. I’m always up to hearing happy stories.  Ours may or may not wind up that way, but I certainly think it’s better for my emotional well being to continue on the optimistic path that I’m on in thinking we’re going to be ok. 😉


3 Responses to “Attachment – where we’re at with that”

  1. Park Family July 29, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

    I'm gonna be checking your blog to hear some happy stories too! I'm so thankful God has led our girls to us and that He has let us connect too…He has a plan…and it is always a good plan…no matter what.

  2. Merry Made Quilts July 30, 2011 at 12:05 am #

    I just wanted to share that the couple that introduced us to the idea of international adoption was from our daughters preschool class. She came home at 4 years old and is a pure delight. She's been home almost a year now and is completely in love with her family. I've seen them together and her mom just says that God prepared her heart for her family. Just some positive thoughts about the positive parts about older child adoption. She knew how hard her mom and dad were working to get her home and I think that helped her transition in the way that a younger child wouldn't understand. GOOD LUCK TO YOU GUYS!!

  3. Jen July 30, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Grace, absolutely! Our lives are in for a major wonderful change. And I think it's amazing that our families have been joined, too. I almost feel like our daughters are sisters and I hope we can keep them feeling a sense of family as they grow up. So thankful for you!And Merry Made Quilts (Ack! I know your name, but I don't know it at this exact second….sorry!) that is the perfect wonderful story. Coralie Seung Joo does know about us and I do believe she is getting wonderfully prepared. I have heard stories of children from her center who have fully known of their future adoptions and were ready for them. Hoping that's the case with our little girl, too!! THANK you for your continued support!!

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