Sunday, August 23, 2009

Three Word Sunday - Attachment to Dolly

For us, when discussing AA's attachment progress, we always come back to her "abandonment". We have talked about the use of the word abandonment several times, ultimately deciding we will forgo its use.
Realities being what they are, we questioned what true good would be served other than to make AA feel worse about the fact that she really was left alone, hopefully, with the intent of someone finding her. And in our case, without going into detail, we know that this was the case with Alyzabeth. It was very much intended for her to be found.
I decided again to do more research (update what we knew from our "waiting years") about this as we will all face it at some point with our daughters. I always find ideas and places to begin my search from "Sunday Linkage" topics that Tongginator's Mommy links to.

This article calls the adoption and loss/abandonment issues "ambiguous loss" which has many symptoms.
This article is about describing and defining what abandonment means to adoptees. Self-esteem and the child's sense of their place in this world all shape their world that we don't understand. How can we? We have a home, a childhood, parents, a hometown......

From what I read, I don't know if I would be able to tell the difference from an adoptees abandonment feelings and some "normal" feeling of a certain age group... from pre-teen through college age. Many teens, me being one, had many of these feelings as I was faced with growing up. Social skills, avoidance, conflict and not feeling like I belonged with any one peer group. So how do we help our child with this anxiety?

We are going to use our family experiences to help AA as we have several people in our family who came to their parents by way of adoption, abandonment or a parent dying. We also will show them God's love and why we all feel like foreigners in our own land, about God's undying love, God's presence with us, that we are never alone. And WERE never alone even in those times of solitude.

Here's an article, that you may wish to excuse or ignore the title of the blog, but what she wrote speaks volumes about how we will never know our children's pain BUT we can be of help, s0me use to help her healing. This much anger must be helped. We will do everything in our power to help AA when we recognize the "hole" in her heart and how it manifests out to her actions. Possibly even RAD.

What is RAD - reactive attachment disorder? From articles I read, internationally adopted children seem to have this disorder at a significantly higher rate than the general population. Read this blog, starting with July 29, 2009 post for starters. If you need to learn more keep reading back in the archives as to how it all began (go to May 02, 2009, etc).

When AA starts asking why? about her "beginning" and when we say we don't know, how many more times will she ask why? We want her to be inquisitive. But how many times can we tell her that you were found on your birth day and taken to the Nanchuan orphanage where you were cared for by nannies and a loving lady director. We don't know what happened before that hour. We know she was found by a man at a certain time. That's it. We can tell her where she was found but that is probably not her birth place, her "home town". This is not your typical domestic case where you are trying to get birth records unsealed. There are none for AA!

Another reason why we are writing on this topic is that we are beginning to see some positive attachment changes in AA and are continuing to research information so that we will recognize signs that we need to intervene or change our parenting. Recently, AA, who had no interest in cuddling as she would wriggle and "fight" against us when we would hold her like a baby or lay her horizontally, except for sleep time. She now is interested in a "rock a bye baby" routine which allows us to hold her horizontally and cuddle while singing. She had no attachment to things, no doll or toy would interest her until a stuffed Elmo was given to her. She wouldn't cuddle him, but would carry him around and insist that he be by her side at meals and bedtime. But really, no outward affection being shown to Elmo. The big news? AA has taken a real interest in her "dolly", she carries her around; the difference from Elmo? She hugs Dolly, puts her down for a nap, holds her horizontally, puts her over her shoulder to pat her back and lots of hugging. She has interest in her Dolly as the Dolly's mommy. It is cute but also gratifying to see her love her Dolly.
Enjoy more 3WS posts over at PugMama.

If there is anything you have noticed that is a sign of good attachment or RAD, please feel free to share with us.

18 comments:

Dawn said...

Love the photo.
After 18 months Rosie is starting to not be as shy around other people and will actually speak to other people. she had a very hard time letting us have her heart, it took her a long time but now we have it.

Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

LOVE this photo..
Glad she is starting to show some great improvement..
I can't tell you anything or give any advice.. but I sure am soaking up all the info..
THANK YOU ..
And glad she picked one of my favorite dolls..
Hugs..
Have a great Sunday..

Dori's Mommy (Diana) said...

She is so precious with her dolly!

Great post!

a Tonggu Momma said...

What an encouraging thing to see! I know that, until this past year, every six months or so I've been able to look back and see significant milestones in the Tongginator's attachment. AA looks adorable with her dolly.

A Beautiful Mess said...

I agree with TM you will look back and it will attachment will be even better than before. After almost 2 years ( with some surgery thrown in) Sophie's attachment to us is what I have been hoping and praying for!

I talked with soph's attachment therapist about talking to her about her beginning and he mentioned something called a "reclaiming" story. I need to do more research but basically it is a story of what you would have done and how you would have felt had your daughter grown inside of you. Sounds a little kooky but again I have not researched it yet.

Lisa~~ said...

Such a sweet piccie!

Pug Mama said...

love it. so glad she is cuddling more and showing improvements. What a beauty.

Magi said...

Wonderful photo!

All this stuff is so hard to figure out. I guess we just keep reading and doing the best we can as we go along.

Briana's Mom said...

She is so adorable in her photo! Briana is very attached to her "baby" - and "baby" is very worn out from so much love. :) Glad to hear the good update on AA's attachment. Can't wait to hear your preschool update too!

amy said...

Such a sweetie and thanks for post and resources!

KHM said...

Funny - I just started writing up a recap of the progress of JJs bonding and attatchment this week - I'll have to share if it comes out half decent. But after 8 months JJ will actually hide behind my legs if a stranger alarms her (or climb up me if things are too hectic - but she just started ASKING to be picked up in the last month or so). Hugs and kisses started in the last 2 months. I noticed she was playing with her bears like babies about 3-4 months ago. And she likes to sit in my lap facing me now ( very resistant when first home) and likes being rocked and having her hair/face/head brushed/rubbed /played with.

It has never been really bad, and some things (mostly involving food) have always been pretty good. But it is definitely a process - and some of our kids adoption mates have a harder road. We have a NeroReorg seminar comming up at our FCCSD here soon, hope I can make it.

Shelly said...

She is a beautiful blessing!! Thank you for sharing your heart with us and your insight so far on what you have learned. I always find so much inspiration from you when I "visit". :)

Snowflowers Mum said...

So glad to see adoptive parents discussing these things!

It's part of our daily life so we talk about IT all the time.

Buckeyes & Eggrolls said...

great post ! Thank you for sharing information you find about these things. I am often looking for ways to start explaining as Maddy is close to 4 years old and I'm sure will start asking questions soon.

Love AA little doll. Is it a babybeblessed doll? We have one too that's why I asked.

Mike and Rhonda said...

Will we ever stop worrying about our little ones? Thanks for sharing the info and reminding us.

Dita said...

Great post! I just love hearing how AA is progressing and seeing her with her Dolly just melts my heart!

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

I am going to have to remember all these... as soon as I have my printer up and running will have to print them off... I will admit that I have not read anything during this whole wait but just what people have written on their sites...

to sing and to dance said...

What a thoughtful post. Thank you.