I am sure this is common, and I am sure that biological siblings are also often opposites, but I still often look at these two in awe, cataloguing their differences in my head.
She is sensory avoidant. He is sensory seeking… She avoids letting things (and people) touch her, while he touches everything, and rubs his skin on anything. An example of this is our last visit to the doctors office…little M complained constantly about the rough fabric on the waiting room chair hurting her skin, while baby J lifted his shirt to rub his belly on the fabric, then laid down to rub his head on the floor. Oh yes, he did.
She has had to learn to show affection, and it doesn’t come naturally. He gives all of us random hugs throughout the day.
She loves crafts. He doesn’t, not so much… he’s learning, though!
She is often quiet. He rarely is.
She is emotional when she gets hurt (she did have to learn this, though). He doesn’t cry when he is in pain, but he wails when he is scared (and shakes, and clings).
She doesn’t cry as much when she in in trouble, but he sobs if you tell him no, no matter what tone of voice you use.
They’re so different. I have had to learn how to do things much differently with baby J than with little M. They need to be parented differently…
Right now, at six months home, we are looking at attachment…we look back at where little M was at six months home, and we compare it to baby J. We have talked with people…other adoptive families, our social worker, therapists…
In looking and talking about baby J’s attachment, something that we have heard several people say, is that he is right where little M was at this time. How can this be? Little M was such a hot mess, so needy, and she melted down at EVERYTHING, and baby J doesn’t.
One thing that we keep hearing, from several sources, is that attachment is like a coin…there are two sides to the coin, and while little M’s side showed anxiety, and constant fear, baby J’s side of the coin looks indifferent, and composed. We know he’s not, because when you put your hand over his chest, you can feel his little heart pounding away in his shaking body.
What does it mean? What will our attachment look like? We don’t know right now, but we do know that we need to make some changes, and work needs to be done.
Our boy shows some great positive signs of attachment, and we are excited about that, but we are also aware that he also has some negative signs, and we need to address those sooner rather than later…
We worked so hard for a very long time on little M’s attachment, because her attachment issues were glaringly obvious.
We are realizing that even though our boy isn’t the attachment mess that little M was, he still needs us to work on this for him. Because we want this for him…we want him to be able to form healthy attachments, and we want him to be attached to us.
Our boy likes us… he is bonded to us, and he knows that we are his family. But we want more for him.
So we will make whatever changes he needs from us…we will work for him. Because he is our boy.