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.