Category Archives: attachment/babywearing

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.

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Emmett’s last surgery…and then this post gets depressing

…(at least for the time being) will be tomorrow, as he undergoes the second stage of his hypospadias repair.

By now Emmett is pretty old hat at general anesthesia. Still, we’d appreciate your prayers that things will go smoothly, and that if possible, he might be able to actually come home tomorrow, and spare Mike and him having to spend the night in the hospital.

We are so not looking forward to the aftercare for this surgery – the catheter that will stay in for a week, the double diapering, the medications. I mean, really not. But we are looking forward to being done with surgeries for a while. At the peg tube surgeon’s office last week, he told me that he’ll probably have to have his tube replaced every year or so, and at some point in his teens, he may need valve surgery for his heart, but really, his medical problems will be totally fixed after tomorrow.

Now if only they had surgeries to fix all the non-medical stuff – that would be awesome.

We don’t do developmental updates for Emmett on this blog very often because its really depressing, and Mike and I just try not to think about his mental and developmental disabilities as much as possible. But here’s where he’s at (he is 17 months old, and it has been a year since we met him (well, a year and 5 days):

  • he is working on sitting – he can totally do it, until he forgets what he’s doing or gets upset, and then falls over backwards
  • if he is placed on his tummy, he can get up on all 4’s and rock back and forth
  • he will reach for things, although he still doesn’t really grasp objects
  • he is actually interested in baby toys
  • he will usually take a few bites of baby food at a sitting – and will sometimes eat half a jar
  • he doesn’t drink any liquids – he has lost the ability to suck a bottle, and won’t take a cup. All liquids go through his tube
  • he doesn’t seem to understand anything we say, or respond to different facial expressions or tones of voice…well, I take that back. If you smile at him, he’ll smile back if he’s in a good mood. But if you try to get him to NOT do something by telling him NO! in a stern voice with a mad face, he doesn’t even react. He will turn to you if you say his name, but then he’ll do that if you call out another random name too.
  • he still scratches himself incessently, and will totally mutilate himself if given the chance. He has to either wear long pants, socks, and a onesie (so he cant get to his abdomen), or wear socks on his hands. Part of his problem seems to be actual itchiness, and part seems to be habit or something neurological – he’ll scratch whoever is holding him too. This will obviously be a bigger problem at our next assignment than here in England, where long pants in the summer are the norm. Also, what to do after he grows out of 18-24 month clothes? Isn’t that the end of the onesies?
  • he still has no self soothing skills, so its really hard for him to calm down if he gets upset, and usually requires intervention on our part
  • on most nights, he will wake up at some point and become hysterical. Because he can’t calm himself, this is particularly not fun, and usually requires hours of work to put him back to sleep.
  • he doesn’t sleep as much as most children – he is awake at least some portion of every night, and doesn’t nap consistently during the day
  • he spends most of the time he’s in his crib beating his legs on the crib mattress. He does this awake and asleep.

Thats about it. He does make progress developmentally – just not at anything approaching a normal pace. And I think I’ve said this before, but all of his issues don’t bother me nearly as much as the lack of an emotional attachment he has towards us. I really believe that we could bring him to total strangers, and as long as we told them what he likes and dislikes, and how to take care of him, he would not even notice our absence. In fact, he has stayed with friends overnight early this spring while Mike and I went to London, with no complaints from him. As long as people are nice to him, hold him when he’s upset and meet his physical needs, he’s good to go.

Of course this does have some upside: my mom has been doing the lion’s share of taking care of him this summer while she’s been here, especially since we’ve had Silas but also in the beginning of the summer when Mike and I were completely burned out, and he adjusted to that immediately; he also does great at the child-minders and has done since day 1. And in fact, its probably made this summer a whole lot easier, because how would we manage with Silas if Emmett only wanted me, all the time? Umm, because Silas? Silas would nurse 24 hours a day if my, ahem, ladies could handle it.

But its hard knowing that your son doesn’t prefer you to anyone else.

Ok, I warned you it would be depressing, didn’t I? Lets not do another developmental update for a good long while, hmmm?

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enough

First, thanks to y’all out there who email to check on us when I haven’t posted in a while – I appreciate it a lot.

I haven’t written lately because my head’s been in such a bad place. Maybe that’s the PERFECT time to write, but really, its been pretty bad. And I have lots of IRL friends and family who read this, and I don’t want to worry anyone.

I have just been so FRAPPIN ANGRY lately. Angry at Mike because he’s out of town AGAIN. Angry at Emmett for being so hard to take care of – seriously, the boy cries for literally hours every day, whether I’m playing with him, holding him, etc. He’s lost a little weight again, and almost every feeding is again, a struggle. And I don’t know whether he’s frustrated at his inability to do anything, whether he just hates me, whether that’s just his personality, whether he doesn’t feel good, or what. All I know is that I don’t do very well with the constant crying. If you’re going to cry while I’m holding you, trying to comfort you, then after a while I’m just going to let you cry in your crib – at least I can shut out the crying for a bit. And I would expect this in a younger baby – O has colic when he was tiny, and cried unless you were walking him around, but Emmett is almost 8 1/2 months old. The scariest thing to me is that, who knows, we may be stuck in this stage for months or years…if it is just a stage.

Anyway, all of this leads to anger at myself – for being at the absolute end of my rope, for not being a better wife for Mike, for not being a better mom to Emmett, for (Lord help me) just not loving Emmett as much as I do O and Y. And I don’t think that the fact that he’s adopted has much to do with it. I think that I am still having such a hard time with the fact that our lives will probably never be ‘easy’again, and that this child might never be able to live independently, and that our whole family’s life (well, not Mike’s really) revolves around him, and that he just acts like he really, really, really DOESN’T LIKE me the majority of the time. He likes the boys, he likes being around other people – but alone with me – he HATES it. Which makes all the sacrifices we’re making a little hard to take. I think I could take almost any problem, almost any developmental delay, anything, if he would just act like he liked being around me, or if he acted like he was at all enjoying life.

Man, I am having a really bad few months here, people. I tried not to have really high expectations about our attachment process before we went to get him – we knew it was going to be really difficult. But I never expected it to be this hard. Any of it. And the worst is, what if it really never gets any better? Maybe he’ll have RAD – one of my worst fears. Maybe he’ll be in this infant stage indefinitely. Maybe he’ll never love me.

As I was telling a friend the other day, I just can’t think about the long term, because its just too scary to think about – we don’t even yet know the scope of all of his problems. But that makes it really hard to live in the here and now when the here and now is downright terrible.

So all of this is going around in my brain day after day, all the time, and I just feel worse about myself every day, and finally, I have had enough. So I took myself to the doctor the other day, and requested an anti-depressant (so much for us adopting from China one day). Tons of my friends have recommended that I get on one, even before we brought Emmett home, because of my anxiety problem. I have always resisted. Until now. Because I am done with being so awfully miserable.

So I hope this drug works – it’s celexa. Jennifer, I might be calling you soon for dosage instructions :). Of course, I can’t start it yet – I have to wait for the pregnancy test to get back. That should REALLY be negative, and the results should be back on Monday. I’d go and buy one at the store if me and the kids weren’t all sick. Oh yeah, did I mention that part?

Also that Emmett threw up all over Y’s feet this evening (the freak-out from Y was kind of amusing, I must admit)?

Okay – enough of the krazy. Emmett’s heart surgery has been scheduled for Dec 22 in London. Him and I will go down there this Wednesday for a day of pre-op testing. So he’ll definitely be in the hospital over Christmas, which sucks, but is really the only good time for us, because at least my mom can be here. I mentioned to the boys that we might be having Christmas in a hotel room, and they were not at all into that idea, unless we could take our tree and all of our ornaments with us.

So maybe we’ll do Christmas early. Or maybe, if the surgery goes well, one of us can come home for Christmas and have it with the boys. Or…anyone have any other ideas? I’d like to tell the boys to just suck it up, we’ll have Christmas in the hotel, but remember, they are only 2 and 4, and their lives have been drastically changed in the last 3 months. If they want to have Christmas with our own tree and our own ornaments, I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Please start praying for Emmett’ surgery and recovery to go alright. This will be open heart surgery – they’ll stop his heart and put him on a bypass machine while they fix the hole and widen his stenosed vessels. Please pray hard, not only because he needs it, but because I think I will die of guilt if he doesn’t pull through, because I am so angry, because I don’t love him enough. Jeez, Lauren, selfish much?

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oops and adoption blahs

Ok, after I read Jeannie’s comment, I went back and checked the link – we’re no longer on page 29, now we’re on page 32 , pic #453 (she must have added more pictures). So please take a look and comment. And thanks to those who have commented so far. I love you guys.

Oh, if you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, you need to read the previous post :). And mom, I’m waiting for you to comment on your precious grandson – I don’t care if your hard drive is kaput 🙂

On to the adoption news. Hunky talked to our case worker last night. Somehow, out of a 15 minute conversation, it seems that no information was given. Those of you in adoptionland, don’t you hate that? You wait to call your case worker as long as you can, ’cause you don’t want to be a bother, and then, when you finally can’t take it anymore, you have your list of questions, and you make the call. You talk to your contact person. And you come away with …bupkis: Hopefully referrals will be given out soon. Nothing done yet with your dossier to change it to be open to a child with special needs. No info on the JCIS summit that can’t be found on the JCIS website. Etc. You know – bupkis.

So I’m a little frustrated with the situation (some yelling may or may not have ensued – after the phone call was ended, of course). Hunky suggests that next time maybe I should be the one to make the call. But here’s the deal (everytime I think that I think of Britta – do you read this? I miss you!), if I talk to the case manager, one of 2 things will happen: I will totally wimp out and not even ask the questions I intended to ask, or I will get audibly upset DURING the phone call  – and I really don’t want to do that. So I make Hunky call. And then listen to me bitch later.

I don’t know, I think I have the adoption blahs: we started this journey in March – so now we’re about 9 months into the process…the length of a pregnancy. Naturally, our family and friends ask how the adoption is going – when are we going to get a referral? And we expected to have a referral by early spring, maybe even to travel by then. This looks very very unlikely at this point – so unlikely as to be laughable. Now we just hope and pray that the Vietnam program doesn’t close, that the MOU will be renewed, that we won’t have to start all over. (you see what I mean by blah?).

If you pray, can you say a few for us? But first, please pray for all the families out there waiting for I-600 approval – all these families have referrals, children waiting in orphanages for their mamas and daddys – that the approvals would come fast so these families can be united. Then please pray that we could resolve to continue to put this adoption in God’s more than capable hands, since He knows what’s best for our family. You could throw in some for referrals to begin again for our agency, if you were feeling generous.

On a positive note, we had our spouses’ group cookie exchange this morning, and can I say: O and Y were SOOO well behaved. Actually, O has been a really really good boy the past couple of days. Y had a major meltdown at the post office yesterday, so the same can’t be said of him, but at almost 20 months, we can’t expect too much of the kid. And, as you can see in the picture in the link above, he is too stinkin cute, so its possible he gets his way more than he should.

I love my boys.

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babywearing – check it out

Hey y’all, you should check this out.

Attached to baby is having a babywearing photo contest. They’ve had 900-something entries and need help narrowing things down.

I entered a couple of pics of Y: one in our Ergo carrier  (the only one that’s really eligible to win, since ATB sells that carrier), and one in a carrier my friend Nora at snugglebug made for me (I look like a moron, but Y and the sling are cute).

If you want to go check out a ton of babywearing pics, go to this site. Oh, and while you’re there, if you wanted to comment on Y’s ergo baby pic on page 29 (he’s the kid with his head thrown back and a look of pure joy on his face) to help us win, well, I wouldn’t stop you or anything (you comment by clicking on his – the one called Ergo Joy #453- or anyone else’s pic that you like and leaving a comment). He IS, after all, the cutest and happiest kid out of all 900 photos.

If you’ve never really thought about babywearing, I’d check out that site just to get an idea of all the different kinds of carriers there are. I have ordered stuff from ATB in the past, and the service and products have always been great. Of course, I consider this site to be the ultimate place to go to learn about babywearing and diffferent types of carriers.

EDITED TO ADD: ok, when I said I wouldn’t stop you from commenting and helping us win, I actually meant please please please vote for Y. Please?

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