this one is hard to write (and its looonnnggg)…

…and i really don’t want to upset anyone, especially my mom, whom i love like crazy even though we drive each other crazy, and who was a total lifesaver for our family this summer.

But i’ve been reading the comments and i feel like i’ve probably given y’all the wrong idea. its not at all clear to us whether emmett actually bonded to my mom this summer. we would be thrilled if that were the case, precisely for the reason you said…because it would show us that he is able to form an attachment with someone, giving us hope that he might someday be able to form an attachment to us. But what it seems to be the reality is that emmett likes attention (naturally), no matter who is giving it to him. he smiles and laughs at me when i interact with him (when he is in a good mood), just like he does with my mom, just like he does with my friends, just like he does with strangers. when he is upset, he likes (sometimes) to be held, by me or my mom or anyone else (which believe me, was a heartbreaker after i had spent pretty much every minute holding him during the first few months he was home and had driven myself beyond the brink of exhaustion trying to do everything for him and not letting others hold him as much as possible. eventually i learned, for the sake of my sanity and the well-being of our other children, that i had to let others help care for him). Other times when he is upset, he cannot be consoled by anyone.

this summer emmett cried a good deal less than normal (except at night, which involved as much crying as ever), which made us all happier, because my mom held and interacted with emmett a lot, while mike (when he was home) played with noah and sawyer, and i took care of silas. now that my mom is gone, time with every child is decreased as the math would dictate. as a result, everyone cries more. but emmett especially misses the constant attention. i think i’ve said before that emmett would love to be the only child :). when silas cries, he is easily consoled…by nursing if nothing else. the older boys you can talk out of being upset (ummm, usually).

so what have we done about these attachment issues? we have a social worker assigned to our family through the early intervention program – she’s available to talk whenever we need to. I have friends (especially sarah- love you!) who has listened to me cry about this more times than i can count. it is a leading topic of discussion between mike and i. we discuss the lack of attachement with every therapist and medical specialist that emmett sees, and we’ve seen a developmental pediatrician as well. no one seems very confident that he actually has the capability to form emotional attachments with others. of course, we do have that capability, and so that’s what we focus on. i do think that seeing a specialist in adoption issues would be helpful, and we plan on looking into that when we get back to the states.

on the developmental side, emmett sees therapists on a weekly basis through the early intervention program, and has done since we’ve been home. we have sue, our physical therapist, and libby, our speech pathologist/feeding specialist. they don’t think he’s ready for occupational therapy. once we get to america, we’ll see what the early intervention people think he needs there, although it looks like we’ll be seeing a feeding therapist three times weekly, in addition to whatever else.

i know we’re still in the grieving process about all of this, even though its now been a year. i don’t cry or get angry about it every day like i used to. most of the time i feel like i’ve even come to a place of acceptance about the way that our life is now, although when we’re thrown for a loop with something new (like getting our pcs orders denied due to emmett’s needs), the anger and depression come back with a vengence.

most of all, i try to not think about the future too much. we’ve been burned time and time again this year with getting our hopes up about emmett being able to do this or to do that, and then having our hopes dashed. we don’t know if he will ever walk, or ever talk, or ever be potty trained, or ever be able to even live in a group home. we don’t know the extent of his mental disabilities, except that they seem severe. we try to live in the now, which is what the Lord wants us to do anyway, right?

maybe mike would like to write about his perspective on this – i’ll ask him.

Edited to add:

please, please don’t think I’m mad or upset about any of the comments on the last post – because i am so not. I just thought i would clarify some stuff. Just to add after Sarah’s comment, he has had an MRI of his brain, and the results were completely normal, so no answers there, or in any of the genetic testing he’s had.



Filed under adoption, attachment/babywearing, health issues

6 responses to “this one is hard to write (and its looonnnggg)…

  1. Sarah

    Hi Lauren,

    Maybe when you get to the states (or in England) you could arrange for Emmett to have a MRI and PET scan of his brain. Maybe you have already done this, but if not, it might be helpful for forming expectations to see if and how his brain differs from a brain that has developed normally. After that, consider how to encourage growth in, repair or work around the parts that are not working normally, etc. Best of luck from another mom of a special needs child.


  2. Christina

    I’m sorry, I should have assumed you’ve talked with lots of specialists about all of this. I can’t even imagine what it has been like, going to VN to adopt your child only to have your world turned upside down when you realize the extent of his special needs. I really have no great wisdom to share, all I can do is promise I’ll keep praying.

  3. Nora

    Thanks for keeping us updated so we can have a better perspective of what emmett’s needs are. So glad that you are so strong and your boys so capable of change…we love you!!!

  4. Hi Lauren,

    I read all of your posts, but only comment occasionally. I cannot imagine how much your lives have been turned upside over the past year. I’m in awe of the way you handle everything (even the things you probably go through emotionally but don’t write about). I recall reading about your experiences while you were in Vietnam; it’s hard for me to believe it’s been a year. You are a very special family.

  5. R

    Hi Lauren,

    I read your posts, but I don’t know that I’ve ever commented. I just wanted to say that your family is in my prayers – often. I’m also praying that you will find something new to look for when you get to the States, if only to have some answers or a path or something to expect – but I know it might just come down to trusting in God’s plan. Which is so much easier to say than do…


  6. Beth

    I can not know the turmoil and heartbreak you have gone through this past year, but my heart hurts for you. I know how much this adoption means to you, and coming to learn a different reality than you expected has got to be hard.

    I’ll be here for you (and all your boys) when you get back to FL. I know you won’t be in the same town…I’m just praying for a place in Navarre so I can get to you easily!!

    Thanks for the update on Emmett. You’re in my thoughts and prayers everyday.

    Can’t wait to see you!

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