I am asked by our family and friends how they can help, what they can do, and what we need, so kind of you all!
Other things people want to know is how to help our family when we get home, and how things will be different for Lucas. If you really want to understand more, or help us in anyway just please read Jen’s blog entry below, scroll down to about “Supporting families before the airport” and “Supporting families after the airport”:
I love her comment about “aw, sweet little dum-dum”, haha!
I also wanted to share some information that I hope will equip everyone in our lives to assist us in laying the strongest and healthiest foundation as Lucas adjusts emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Attachment. Attachment between a parent and child occurs over time when a baby has a physical or emotional need and communicates that need. The primary caretaker meets the need and soothes the child. This repeats between a parent and child over and over to create trust within the child for that parent; the baby is hungry, cries in distress, mom feeds and calms the baby – which teaches the baby that this person is safe and can be trusted. An emotional foundation is laid in infant babies, which will affect their learning, conscience, growth and future relationships. The security provided by parents will, ultimately, give children a trust for and empathy towards others.
Children who become part of a family through adoption have experienced interruptions in this typical attachment process. Lucas has gone through significant trauma in his short little life. He has never had a healthy attachment to an adult, and he has suffered greatly because of this emotional and physical abandonment. Lucas will experience more loss when he moves home to the U.S. He will lose the familiarity of Uganda, all he has ever known: the sights, smells, language, people, and culture. He will be very overwhelmed. Everything around him will be new and he will have to adapt to his new environment. He is just now starting out on the long road to healing, and it will take time, and a lot of patience. There will be many setbacks and obstacles to overcome, but he will soon be learning about love and about family. In the past few weeks, his world has been turned upside down, and will continue to be. He will struggle to feel safe and secure and he will lack the ability to trust that we will meet his needs. The good news is that we can, as Lucas’s parents, rebuild attachment and help him heal from these emotional wounds.
The best way for us to form a parent/child bond is for us to be the primary people to hold, cuddle, instruct, soothe and feed him. As this repeats between us, he will be able to learn that we are safe to trust and to love deeply. We are, essentially, recreating the newborn/parent connection. Once Lucas begins to establish this important bond, he will then be able to branch out to other, healthy relationships. Lucas will have what may seem like a lot of structure, boundaries and un-healthy close proximity to me because he is almost 3. We will be doing what we believe is best to help him heal from any interruptions in attachment as effectively as possible.
While some of this may seem like overkill or even sound a little bit crazy, I pray that you will understand and trust that we are doing this to give Lucas the absolute best shot at being a secure, well adjusted, and confident adult. I can’t give an exact time line on what this will look like or at what point we’ll say that Lucas is “attached” to us. Research shows that it can take years. I believe that once we are home in the U.S., having his older brother around, and establishing a routine, and “cocooning” in our home for about 6 weeks once we bring him home to help the bonding process, I don’t think it will be long before he has formed a strong bond with us as his family. Then, other healthy relationships can begin to form, and we welcome them!! 🙂 Waving, blowing kisses, and high fives are perfectly appropriate and welcome! We will have a “grace period” for the first week we are home for any visitors that would like to stop by, I don’t want to rob the joy of our close friends and family meeting Lucas!! We are excited to show him off and share him with you!!
if you want to read more on reactive attachment disorder, you can go to this link: http://www.attachment.org/pages_parents_recommended_reading.php
Thanks for reading all of this, the fact that you did just shows how much you care and are a part of our lives, thank you! 🙂