Monday, April 4, 2011

working on attachment

what have we been up to?

well, honestly not a whole lot. ryan and i decided before bringing greer home that we wanted to be pretty diligent to put in the hard work now to gain a strong attachment with greer so that we don't regret it later in his life. prior to leaving, we developed a pretty extensive attachment plan to share with our families so that everyone was on the same page and no one's feelings got hurt when we got home and were living in our own little bubble for awhile. 2 weeks after coming home, i'm really glad we did things this way. although there are definitely a few things on our attachment plan that we've been pretty lax on, overall, we're sticking to the plan and i think it has been invaluable.

as i mentioned while we were in ethiopia, gaining greer's trust has not been an easy task for us. from day 1 of our second trip, he was more than apprehensive about us. in fact, i think he was downright terrified! pretty much every day we spent with him at the transition house began with about an hour of crying before he'd settle down and begin to feel comfortable with us. in fact, even our first week at home was quite a challenge for us. we definitely saw many signs of grieving and that was really hard to watch! the first few days here were mostly characterized by greer crying about 40 minutes out of every hour that he was awake. he wanted to constantly be attached to my body, and would freak out even if i sat him down for a second to go to the bathroom. i had no real clue how to read his cues of what he needed so i'm sure that was even more frustrating for him {and me!}.

ryan had to go back to work on monday following our return, so when he'd get home from work at night, greer wanted absolutely nothing to do with him. greer would kick, scream, cry, and pull on my clothes until i picked him up and got him away from ryan, and that was heartbreaking for both me and ryan! more than anything, i think ryan and i were both especially taken back by the violent head banging that greer did on his crib when laid down for bedtime or naps. {thankfully, this seems to already have begun to resolve for the most part, but it was still scary.} although i read a lot of books on adoption, attachment, and transitioning home adopted kiddos during our long wait, it's different when we're finally living it!

despite feeling completely inadequate over the last several days since bringing our son home, i can say that this has definitely been a teachable moment for ryan and i. since we've settled in a bit, things are getting much easier and we're really beginning to see greer come into his own and feel comfortable in our home. however, i wouldn't trade our experiences in those early days as a family of 3 for anything! just like most things, i think God was once again showing us that we cannot do anything by our own strength, especially parenting. no amount of books, blogs, or child development websites could really help me in the midst of some of those hard moments early on. it was not until i turned over my worries, stresses, and concerns to the Lord that i really began to see the tide turning.

i still have my moments pretty much every day...moments where i wonder if my child has multiple personalities or if i am just the world's worst mom, but things ARE getting easier. mostly just because i know that i'm not doing this mom thing in my own strength, and for that i'm so thankful! we're learning as we go and i'm also thankful to have such a forgiving little man to share this journey with.

if you've walked this crazy path before us, please feel free to share any helpful tips or just pray for us :) thanks!!


Amber said...

I love that Greer was all smiles in that last post with his daddy and after a bath! :) Very cute, happy, and content boy in that picture.
I have not advice, you're a mommy now and you're going to be getting great advice from others. but sometimes 'winging' it will be what helps you find what works for your sweet family.
Hang in there, it sounds and looks like things are going really well for the situation. Greer will learn very soon that he is loved and safe and at his home that he will grow up in and be loved in and be a big brother in :)
Here's to a home filled with children and love to the brim!

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

Just want to offer are doing great and Greer will adjust and feel secure in no time! It sounds like you are doing all the right things, especially relying on God our Father to bring your family together.

Danielle said...

I have no advice for you, just encouragement and a great reminder. You were God's choice for Greer from the moment of his conception! A great friend who has adopted told me those words. Such a great thing to trust in.

Knowing the God is in control and you were created to be Greers mom, and Ryan Greer's father is peace of mind in and of itself. you already have the "know-how" in how to care for him. The Lord has led you here, He will bring you through this difficult time. The refinement is for your good and a part of your sanctification. This time will pass and be a great reminder, one day of how faithful the Lord has been and will be throughout your life.

Praise Him in the hardtimes by meditating on the ways He has already answered so many prayers regarding this journey. Standing firm on those blessings will help you remain strong in the weak moments.

Love you guys. We are praying for you all. Greer is so adorable :)

Megan said...

We live so close to you! We've danced the attachment dance and if you ever want to hook up for coffee or come over and talk (we've had an attachment therapist for over 6 months so we've learned a few tricks) please get in touch. As tempting as it will be- I won't even ask to hold sweet Greer. That's mama's job- and you are doing a great job of it! stay positive.

The Moore Family said...

I havne't been there and have no advice, friend, but I KNOW you are an AMAZING MOM!!!!! In a few months, I bet you won't hardly be able to remember all the drama of this time and Greer will be like any other child... then Charlotte will be here and you'll start all over! :) Just kidding, you're doing awesome, we are praying for you and Ryan and sweet Greer. See you tomorrow!!!

Amanda May said...

We went through the same thing with Eli... if you ever want to talk about it, please give me a call! You can email me at for my number. Glad you all are safe at home!

It definitely gets better!