Cord of Three Strands

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Eccl. 4:12

Today, we have been home with Micah Yoseph for one month! I can hardly believe it -- I had to look at a calender to double-check! I am exhausted...my back is terribly sore...but, I am thankful for my weary mind and body that continually remind me how very blessed I am!

Micah seems to be adjusting to us very well! Does he understand that we are his parents? Well, probably not just yet. But he does look to us when he's hungry, tired or has a wet diaper. These are all good indicators that he is seeking us as his care-providers...he has obviously found a significant measure of trust with us. Less and less is he exhibiting what I call a general frustration, which usually surfaces when he's beyond exhausted. I am not sure what he's frustrated about...new surroundings, funny smells, too many white faces...missing his nanny, or the many crying/cooing babies he once shared a room with??? Only he really knows, but whatever the frustration is, it is subsiding.

One of the most surprising things that I've experienced personally (even though I read plenty about it) is my intense desire for mutual bonding & attachment with Micah. I want him to know that I am his mommy; that he is safe with me; that he can look to me with his every need!! I truly did not appreciate the complexity of this process until we got home. It has not been a difficult process at all, but it does require a certain environment: low stimulation & familiar surroundings. Which means we spend alot of time at home, away from friends & family. Just me & Micah; or me, Micah & daddy.

The reality is, Micah was with his birth family for about one month, then he was in an orphanage for at most two months, and then in the transitional home with his nanny for almost five months. So, technically he has been with us the least amount of time during his first year of life.

Is he wondering if we're just another stopping-point on his way to who knows where?

When he is introduced & held by strangers (friends & family), is he wondering, will they be my care-givers next?

So, until he has been with us for at least five months will continue to go solo, so to speak. Some might think we're weird or over-reacting, and I'm perfectly OK with that! Anyone who thinks they can parent an adopted child any better...some thoughts for you: there are plenty of children that need homes...go, adopt your own...then, you can do it your own way!

But, for the most part, we've received unconditional support in Micah's transition. We are thankful beyond words that so many of you are eager to get know Micah and be apart of his life...we want that as well!!! But we also know that what we're doing often looks different from parenting biological children -- and you've given us the freedom to establish ourselves as a family...a cord of three strands...that we pray will not be easily broken in the days & years ahead!


Jaime said...

way to go alisa! one month home! hurray!!!

The Gillman Family said...

Wow, I can't believe one month home!!!! Looking forward to saying we are one month home :)

Miss you all and looking forward to hugging on Micah this fall!!

Greg and Laura said...

Well said! Sounds like you guys are doing good and have a great plan for bonding and attachment. We will continue to pray for Micah's transition.
Laura and Greg

Allison Lewis said...

I don't remember how I came across your blog, but I've enjoyed keeping up with you over the past few weeks. We're hoping our adoption from Ethiopia will be complete late this year, so I'm reading up on here to see what might be in store for us. Many blessings to your sweet family!

Kari said...

You are doing a great job with bonding!!! Some may have thought we were weird too, but it was soooo important for us that Zoie knew she could depend on her new mommy & daddy...her big bro & sis, too. We have been home over 10 months & still keep close to home. We keep things easy for Zoie. In fact today, she sat in her brother's lap for an hour...just hanging out. We were just chilling, but I realized how VERY bonded she is to her siblings. It was such a gift to see that. Later today, Hannah got on her bathing suit & swam in the tub with Zoie for an hour:))) What a great Sunday!!
Keep doing what your heart says:)

Ruthie said...

You are absolutely right to parent this way! We were also very careful in those first months about who held Zeke and certainly, we made sure we were always the ones who fed him, changed his diaper, etc. It may be perplexing to some people but it's the RIGHT WAY to parent an adopted child whose environment has changed every few months. Best wishes as you continue to bond with your beautiful boy!

E said...

I didn't interpret that as snippy at all! Pretty funny though. I gave birth to my first and adopted my second (Abel) and have to say people will criticize your parenting regardless.

Unfortunately, people are EVEN LESS educated about adoption and what goes into attachment and bonding so you'll sometimes get ignorant comments, etc. because people don't "get it." It's different. In some ways, it's REALLY different. Because we don't live near our families, we were fortunate to have the first year in our bubble. Honestly, I think it's wise (and completely necessary) to take this time. In our case, we just recently passed that mark where he's now been with us longer than with anyone else and I am absolutely convinced we needed a lot of that intense "just us" time to get to the place we're at now.

Continue to have confidence in your role as a mama. God didn't make a mistake in giving you Micah...and those mama instincts are usually right on as a result!


Rob & Candy said...

I think you are doing a great job of being a family! We too are one of the "weird" famiies that bonded with our children before they "explored" our families, church, the world. With my dh being a pastor, I even wrote a news article for the church explaining why they hadn't met Henry. Not everyone understands but you'll never get this time back. It's a precious time with your little one!

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