Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I can see a change in his eyes

What a difference one week can make!! As I implied in a previous post, I am struggling with attachment. I have been in love with my new beautiful son even before I met him. My heart has grown much for this precious gift I get to call my son and I've been praying for his heart to grow for his mommy.

Today when I rocked him to sleep for his nap, he did not put up a fight, he did not push me away. Instead, he snuggled into my arms and gazed into my eyes until his eyes grew heavy with sleep. This has happened before but the look in his eyes was different. If I could read his mind, I swear he was was saying, "mommy, I love you" and "this feels good".

Two weeks ago, just before nap time, I tried snuggling with him but he resisted me and instead laid on the floor and fell asleep on his own. He did this same thing in church one Sunday - instead of letting me hold him and comfort him when I knew he was tired, he chose to lay down on the floor and fall asleep on his own again.

So, in the attachment arena, we have made progress!! What is my secret?

The most important thing we did is STAY HOME and I literally quit all my volunteer responsibilities! I have been home with Samson and have had him to myself for an entire week! At home, I give all my attention to him - I make him my priority. He deserves my time and he is so worth every minute I spend with him.

His favorite thing to do is ride the lawn mower - he gets to steer with my guidance and I control everything else. We also read books, kick the ball, go for walks (he loves the stroller!), jump on the trampoline and swing together. I try to do activities where we interact with each other and where he has to make eye contact with me. Eye contact is crucial for attachment.

One other thing I do is rub him with lotion 2 times per day and take baths with him (a recommendation from another adoptive parent). Skin on skin contact also helps further attachment.

So, back to the eye thing ... ever since we first met him, I have seen changes in the way he looks at members of our family. When we met him for the first time at the care center, he barely made any eye contact. (Which had to be difficult for him with 5 set of eyes watching every move he made!!) At one point, his eyes were so glossed over, it almost appeared that he was cross eyed. His eyes were telling us that he wasn't going to fall in love and risk the chance of another loss again.

He has been through so much in his young life, that I knew we would have to work very hard to gain his trust and love. I don't blame him for the pain, fear and confusion in his eyes. It's not his fault this his fourth home.

Once home, he was happy but also overwhelmed and confused.

He has the biggest and most beautiful eyes that can speak a million words. Today, his eyes seemed to be saying, "I feel comfortable here" and "it may be worth the risk to fall in love".

I should mentioned that most of the time, he is happy. It's just the language of his eyes continues to change and keeps us tuned into how he is really doing.


Bonnie said...

Aaawwwwhhhh - so sweet. I remember the first time Miss B. let me rock her to sleep with out a fuss - total bliss! keep up the great work!

Kate and Jeff said...

Tammy this post brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations on a big attachment hurdle. Love to the family.

btmidden said...

With a 2 year old, we assume that his needs are different than a your own newborn...he still needs all those things that you did for your girls. Just think...taking time off of work and time off from activities to not only recoperate but to bond and get to know our children. He needs all those little things that we find so natural with our own born child. He also has to re-learn some of these things since he has had such a big change in his life! I am glad to hear that he has such wonderful one-on-one time with you! Keep up the great work!

Jones Family said...

Definitely worth the risk to fall in love again! So glad he is learning that. Thanks for sharing your link. I look forward to following your experiences from over here, next door to Ethiopia.