When I read Rosie Molinary’s post, How to Build Attachment After Adoption on Mamiverse.com, I was sucked back into fifteen year old memories of coming home with my sons.
What a mixed bag of emotions! I was relieved beyond words to leave Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and the 24/7 fear that had become a noxious second skin. I was home and grateful that my man no longer had to commute from northern California to El Paso, Texas to visit us. I no longer had to depend on public telephones or barricade the front door with furniture before going to bed.
I’d daydreamed that we’d parade around our neighborhood with our toddler sons and host parties to celebrate our homecoming, but instead I only wanted to cocoon with our family. I turned off the telephone ringer, closed the living room curtains, and forced my man to deal with well-meaning neighbors while my guilt escalated.
How I wish Ms. Molinary’s sage advice had been available to assuage my ever mounting guilt over what I perceived to be selfish and crazy behavior on my part. She outlines five practices to build attachment with your children: Slowly transition, Stay home, Avoid the party, Take it all on, and Talk, hold & play. They are also critical in helping curb the overwhelming emotions circling the new family.
While most of us think of adoption as a happy ending, it took time to explain to family and friends that my four-year old hadn’t given up hope his birth mother would find him. He missed the life we had in Juárez and while he liked la casa americana, he wanted to go back.
So while our loved ones wanted to rejoice that after a decade of infertility we finally had kids, my sons and I weren’t quite ready to celebrate.