Friday, June 12, 2009

Feeling better

 
T seems to be back to his usual silly self these days.  We're so glad.  I've upped the amount I hold him and gone back to some of the attachment games we used to play.  I'm also adding some new ones - I'm currently reading Parenting You Internationally Adopted Child, by Patty Cogen.  I'm not finished with it yet, but so far it's my favorite book dealing with the subject of attachment.  Cogen's writing style is easy to read and she gives really great explanations of how adoption can affect a child throughout different stages in their life, and relates these experiences to child development and brain development research.  She illustrates some of the different responses children have to adoption by following 4 fictional children (composites of the many children she's worked with).  She offers concrete activities to do at home to help foster a stronger connection with your child.  I feel a bit like I have my very own therapist in a book.  My only wish was that I'd read it before we brought T home.

One idea I have found particularly useful is her "3-picture story".  A detailed life book is important, but also still not finished at our house.  The 3-picture story, on the other hand, is really fast to create and very accessible for T to begin to understand and discuss the changes he's been through.  On one page, we have photos of:  T held by his birth mother, T in a group with his foster family and Kyle and I, and T with just Kyle and I.  This page has everything we need to show him (1) he was born to his birth mother, (2) he went to live with his foster family, who then gave him to us (the middle picture should be the actual transition to his new family), and (3)  we're his mom and dad and he can live with us until he's as old as grandma and grandpa (hopefully not literally, but you get the idea).  Cogen goes into detail about  how to discuss his story with him and what some of the common worries are for adopted children that they may not have the ability to ask yet. 

I think it's safe to say we're all feeling a little better now.  We ended up not doing anything to celebrate Family Day this last week.  We weren't sure which day to pick (meeting him?  taking custody?  the board meeting?  coming home?) and with his mood, we thought maybe celebrating when the adoption was final in Wisconsin (February) might be a better choice for us, at least this year, since it's not as coupled with his loses.  I can't believe it's been a whole year.  I'm so proud of my little man.
"Airplane, Thailand?"
Leaving Thailand, June 2008

Saturday, June 6, 2009

IRL

Through the last few years of blogging, we've made some internet friends who have adopted from Thailand. Usually, we don't have the chance to meet and become friends "in real life".  But back when we were 1st starting the adoption process,  Hannah and Sam were nice enough to meet with us and answer a bazillion questions (like, what goes in a diaper bag, anyway?) before we even got T's referral.  Today we had the pleasure of hanging out with them AND a Holt family we already felt like we knew - Tracy and Joel.  We're used to a one-(albeit rambunctious) kid house, so it was fun to watch all the kids run and play together.  It was even more fun to chat with Tracy and Hannah over Chicago-style pizza.  I wish that we all lived a bit closer.  We're so grateful to Tracy and Joel and their lovely family for taking time in their vacation schedule to hang out with us! =)
And I have to give a shout-out for Tracy's awesome flip flops.  Super comfy and way cuter than the (ahem) 15-year old pair I was wearing.  (At what age am I supposed to get rid of the stuff I wore in high school?)  Thanks, Tracy!
-Robin

Thursday, June 4, 2009

But not every moment is a struggle

Some T cuties so I can remind myself there's a happy boy in there, too...

(on waking)
"Hi Mama. Hi Punkin. Hi blanket. Hi knee."

Pointing to a train - "Potty Train!"

"T happy. Mama happy. Daddy happy. Angie happy. Kisa happy. Courtney happy. Grandma happy. Grandpa happy..."

Biological clock?

I think T may have an internal calendar that is telling him he separated from his foster family, was placed with total strangers, and lost the whole world he knew about one year ago.  I've read that this happens but was honestly a little skeptical.  He's 2.  Thailand has different seasons.  He doesn't even understand tomorrow or next week.  And yet, the last week has been a big ugly slide backwards for us.

I've noticed he has regressed to using a lot of baby talk.  He's extra clingy, like he was maybe 9 months ago.  He's on a hair trigger for tantrums.  His tantrums are nonsensical:
T:  Rock! (pointing at T-sized rocking chair)
Me:  OK, you can sit on your rocking chair.
T:  NO ROCK!!  NO!!!
Me:  That's fine.  You don't have to rock.  Let's go read a book.
T:  ROCK!!  WANT ROCK!!!!  (sobbing)
Me:  OK, it's right here.  Let me help you sit on it.
T:  NO.  NO WANT ROCK!!!  (throwing himself to the floor)
(on and on all day, over just ever subject you can imagine)
Nothing soothes him.  He pushes me away when I try to hold him, which he hasn't done in a long time.  His eating is finickier.  He's sleeping more.  He doesn't seem to be in any pain or getting teeth.  All of his behaviors really make me think it's very attachment related.  He's mostly charming when we have visitors.

So I'm sticking to my theory that his heart can feel it's been almost a year since the changes no little one should have to face.

-Robin