Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Coming together, coming apart

Underneath the tidal waves of excitement that I feel is a strong current of sorrow at the thought of all that YH is about to endure. As I shop for last minute toddler items, Mrs. S is putting his things away. As I look forward to bonding with YH, Mrs. S is slowly detaching from him.

For the second time in his short life my son will lose everything he knows and all the people who love him. First it was the familiar rhythm of his mother's heartbeat, the smell of her skin and hair, the warmth of her touch. Now it will be the loss of a foster mother who dotes on his every move, a foster father who takes him exploring in the park, a foster brother who makes him laugh with games and tickles, and a foster sister who holds his hand in restaurants. He will lose his routine, his language, his favorite foods, the sights and smells of his city.

It is horrifying and heartbreaking to think of my sweet little boy trying to process all that is about to befall him.

When YH joins our family he will be grieving these losses. He may rage. He may withdraw. He may seem to adapt immediately, and then melt down six weeks later. He may not sleep. Ever. He may refuse food. He may reject me/Sean/both of us. He may "shop around" for other caregivers in group settings. He may bite, scream and hit. He may weep inconsolably.

In order to support our son during this difficult transition we will be keeping our world small during our first weeks as a family. We will be cocooning at home. We will be declining invitations to big gatherings, we will eschew unnecessary trips to the market/target/etc.

We will not allow other people to hold YH, or feed him, or get him drinks/toys/snacks. This is not because we don't want our friends and family to LOVE him; it is because we want YH to learn that we are his parents. We will fulfill his needs and we are the ones he should trust to take care of him.

We are so thankful that we have such a fantastic community. Our friends and family are amazingly supportive--and we wouldn't be able to do this without them. We very much want to celebrate YH with all of our loved ones, but that will not happen during the first few weeks/months that he is with us.

 Instead we hope we can rely on our friends and family to offer playdates for Miss A and Sweet Bubs, meals for the whole family, sympathetic ears to listen to our growing pains, and a hug when we need it.

As frustrating as our wait has been, it pales in comparison to what YH and Mrs. S are about to experience.


  1. It always amazes me that you are so thoughtful and considerate of others, even in the midst of your own emotional (I don't know what word works best here) stuff...or maybe it's because you are so in tune with your own feelings that you empathize so well.... I don't know, but regardless, I find it inspiring. Thank you, Nora.

    Also remember that while YH will be losing "a foster mother who dotes on his every move, a foster father who takes him exploring in the park, a foster brother who makes him laugh with games and tickles, and a foster sister who holds his hand in restaurants," he will be gaining adoptive family members with whom he will be able to do all of those things. Yes, it will be a process before the new becomes comforting and comfortable, but he is coming into (and sounds like, from) so much love, that I can't help but be certain that everything will work out well. :)

  2. We cocooned too. It was hard. We didn't accept food from anyone and only allowed my mom and sister one visit for a few hours during the first month home. We only ventured out to the pediatricians and unfortunately the hospital once. After that we ventured out very slowly and still only allowed a few people 'in.' I think it's worth it. My eyes are teary for YH as this is the part of adoption that everyone else glosses over but it is primal and horrible and I only wish it wasn't a part of it at all. Sigh. But it is and he is fortunate that you get it on some level. I can understand the loss of my genetic future as we weren't able to have genetic children (though now this seems silly!) but I can't even comprehend what it would like to lose my genetic past.

    Hang in there during the cocooning time. You might cry as much as you laugh, but you'll all get through it together, as a family.