Tomorrow we will begin our journey home with our newest little one, and we are beyond excited. We are also thinking ahead to what the coming weeks and months will look like. We have already been challenged and stretched as a family, and we know more challenges await us as we navigate this thing called attachment with our tiny P.
Tiny P was well cared for in her orphanage. She was loved and she had many people looking after her. She had a rotation of nannies and caregivers, but she did not have a family. She formed attachments, which is wonderful, but she also experienced many traumas in the separation of her birth family, and transitions to unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people (the orphanage, different hospitals, and now us). She did not have the benefit of a consistent relationship with a mommy and daddy, primary relationships that then form the basis for her to build other healthy relationships in the future.
As tiny P settles into our family, we will need to build those parent-child relationships from scratch. We will need to show her that we are different than nannies or any other adults she encounters. We will be teaching her what it means to be a daughter, to be in a family, and what a mommy and daddy are.
When we brought little M home, we cocooned and were very strict about keeping her close, and being the ones to solely meet her needs. She was also immunocompromised, so we kept her home as much as possible. When we brought baby J home, he was healthy, and he was extroverted and charming, and we were not as strict with him… we now regret that, as we sometimes struggle with attachment and indiscriminate affection with him, and if we could go back, we would be so much stricter with him, as well.
Tiny P is not healthy, she is also immunocompromised, and we will be keeping her away from other children as much as we can manage until her health is stabilized.
Just two weeks ago, the people our tiny P trusted most in the world handed her off to complete strangers and left her. She is grieving and will be for some time…
As we seek to surround our baby girl with love and teach her what it means to be in a family, we plan to have some “rules” of engagement when it comes to our girl and her interactions…
Please don’t feed tiny P. Please don’t give her candy, drinks, or anything food related. She needs to learn and know that we will meet her needs. If you want to give her something, please pass it to the husband or I first. This may seem like a minor thing, but it truly is a HUGE deal. Meeting needs through food is a vital part of attachment, especially to a child with food issues.
Please do not try to pick her up, hold her, or give her hugs and kisses. Feel free to smile at her, wave, interact, even give her a high five… She may come to you and want to be picked up, or to hug you, or to charm you into giving her something. If you see this happening, please re-direct her to us.
It won’t always be this way, but the trust we have been working to build with tiny P is still so fragile, and tiny P has to be reassured every day that we are here to stay, as she has no reason to believe that, given what she has been through. Tiny P still melts down if the husband or I leave the hotel room without her, in her mind it’s still very possible that we will leave her, too.
God has been working in this little girl’s heart, and we know he will complete the work he has started.
We have been so blessed with an amazing network of supportive family and friends, and we can’t thank you enough for the prayers, encouragement, and love you have shown to our family, and we can’t wait for you to meet this amazing little girl of ours!