Saturday, May 4, 2013

Nama Saya Mommy

In adoption circles the process of developing attachment, the deep connection between families, is often described as a dance. Two people coming closer together, working in rhythm around each other. For me, attachment was more like tug of war or tag. Pushing and pulling, running and chasing. My experience of attachment was mostly sweaty, tiresome, hard work.

Early on, as we planned for adoption we decided to keep in contact with any safe family members of the child we brought home. We weren't interested in co-parenting, but felt strongly that these people would be important for our child to know growing up. We understood that our child would have a history and that part of understanding who you are is to understand where you come from.

When matched with Isaiah we asked about family to keep in touch with. For our little one, his only solid connection was to his foster family. So we set out to make sure his foster mother knew we wanted to maintain a relationship and regular visits.

But how do you explain to a two year old that your mommy is no longer your mommy and now you should love this new lady? How does the new lady become mommy when the old mommy is still in the picture? Would Isaiah ever love me or would his heart belong to the mother who brought him home from the hospital?

The amazing thing about attachment is that once the skill is learned the ability is there to use it again. So despite the scary "what if's" I kept my son close and day after day opened my heart to him. For Isaiah, attaching meant play as well as cuddles. Playgrounds, hiking trails, beach days, swimming pools, all became prime locations for developing attachment. Play and laughter hooking our hearts together.

Today, during our most recent visit with Isaiah's foster family, Isaiah was knocked by one of the swings and started to cry. He ran past him foster mother and into my arms for comfort.

Isaiah's foster mom had told me this would happen with time, but still it caught me by surprise. In that one moment that saw that I am Mommy now. Not just by name or by law, but truly, deeply, Mommy.

Pre-adoption picture from Isaiah's first over night visit.

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