Sunday, June 29, 2008

And Now the Waiting Begins...

Well, that's it! All my paperwork (for now!) is done and off in the mail. My dossier is in the agencies hands and Friday I received my paperwork to complete my package that goes off to the US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Needless to say, it also went OUT on Friday as well! So now the fun begins.

So what to do while waiting? Hmmm... as you've seen, I am NOT patient ;) Time to start the Russian presents, room preparation, baby arrival prep and studying up on attachment techniques. More on that in a minute.

Did she say Russian presents??? Yup -- it's customary to bring presents for the workers in Russia. Or essentially anyone who touches you and your child along the way. This is just like shopping for party favors! A challenge! Let's find the nicest gifts at the most bargain prices possible! Suggestions from previous/current traveling families include purses, cosmetics, wallets, gloves, perfumes, coffee, and chocolates.

The jinx factor... I have really been hesitant to get started on his room because I don't want to "jinx" anything! Unfortunately, if I am not careful -- I could be left with child coming home, no time to do anything and no room prepared! So it really is time to start this phase. And there is lots to do...

So in the vain of the two above mentioned items... my friends Carrie and Rhonda and I went to the magic place on Saturday... IKEA! The little guy received two white 6 drawer dressers (1 tall, 1 long), a rug for the center of his room and a lamp that dims with NO clicking noises. Thanks to Carrie for the no clicking noises tip!! I also made a pit stop on the way home and bought some clearance purses at TJMaxx (two Lauren, 1 Clariborne and 1 Tommy), clearance cosmetic gift sets at Ulta (5), and 4th of July clearance clothes @ Old Navy - too add to his patriotic collection. Clothes are a struggle as I really don't know how old he'll be or what size. While I have requested under 24 months, that is a big range, and babies coming from an orphanage tend to be much smaller. I have also eBayed some nice cashmere lined gloves - so my present collection is growing!!

Finally on to Attachment tips. With the background they've had, you may have heard that some adopted children struggle with attachment to their new families. For some, there is a feeling that this new mom will leave them too... I came across a great site today and wanted to post one of the articles I read - as it may impact my family and friends.

The site (and may others) recommend that you limit "others" holding your newly adopted child for at least 6 weeks (some say 3 months). This helps with the attachment bonding between new parent and child. The reason I want to post this is so people understand the whys and don't think that new parents are just being overly cautious or scared... here's the clip:

Another adoptive mom shares her story:
I am hoping not to offend anyone -- just wanting to share our experiences with no holding. We have three children adopted from Korea. With our first two, we did very little reading about attachment and thought we would just love our children to pieces and all would be well. Our first two arrived at 4 1/2 months of age. My husband is from a large family; they love to pass the baby and believe the child should be content and snuggle with each one. This is what our two sons experienced soon after their arrival - - one struggled and cried and the other seemed indifferent. I felt sad and sick after each visit.

With our third adoption, our daughter was 6 1/2 months at arrival. Before her arrival, we read about and researched attachment. I asked our social worker about no holding for six weeks. She said she had seen wonderful transitions with those who had done this. With the loss and uncertainty our children have experienced before coming to us, not allowing others to hold our child made sense. Before our daughter's arrival, we informed family and friends that we would be the only ones to hold our daughter for six weeks. Because we had allowed our first two to be held, we explained that our daughter was older and we felt we needed to do this to help with her adjustment and attachment. We knew some might not be accepting, yet it wasn't about what other people needed; this was what our child needed. Our daughter's adjustment has been remarkable in comparison to our sons'. We can't know if this was due to no holding initially, personality, or the other attachment methods we have implemented. Our daughter was never anxious and upset when others visited during those first weeks. Our sons were. My seventy-year-old father was so struck by the difference in adjustment with our third child, he remarked that maybe we shouldn't be so anxious to let others hold our daughter after six weeks! (a. 4.5mo, 4.5mo, 6.5mo, FC)

If anyone has any other "Attachment" tips -- I am always open to reading/listening!! Feel free to pass them along!!


Chandra said...

I have also read that advice while researching attachment. Heck some resources said to not let anyone else hold them for 6 months! While that would be ideal, I don't think it's very workable for most families.

As well as the holding, I know it's very important that you are the only one to meet their needs, such as feeding, bathing, changing and comforting. By seeing that no one else helps them when they cry, they are taught that you are someone they can rely on and their parent.

I hope we get to travel together!

Tracie Chris and Max said...

Hurry up and wait!! That is the fun part! We had read about the attaching - and not letting anyone hold the new one. Both grandmothers went with us to pick up our first angel.. they held him - no problem. Must be because our little guy is just perfect :0) We may be more careful this next time though. No reason to take chances. Love your blog! Hope you get "the call" SOON!!

Jesse and Jason said...

I will not lie to you. The waiting is really, reallly, realllllllly hard. Not knowing when it is all going to happen, then fearing it might not happen, then getting the referral and coming back from trip 1 and then starting the waiting cycle all over again waiting for trip 2 to happen.

My suggestion for you would to do everything in your power to get the babies room and your home ready for a baby right now. RIGHT NOW. It might be 6 months, it might be a year. Agencies can only give you a best guess on what the waiting time has been recently ie, 4-6 monthnever know when you will get your referral and it could come quick and if you are not ready you will go into panic mode. In panic mode you more easily make mistakes or forget things or do things wrong.

Plus it helps make it feel "real" to have the room and home ready. It will also give you some peace of mind knowing that the home is ready and help get you mentally ready for a little one.

Get is all ready and read and get yourself ready, right now while you still have time to yourself and do not have a little one in desperate need of love, care, attention, and bonding clinging to you.

Some folks like to tell you that they are just babies and if everything is not perfect they will not know or care. A lot of the people who tell you this are people who are already parents. People who are experienced parents of bio-kids are great for advice but they do not fully understand all the extra needs that are going to come with an adopted one. So listen to their advice and know that they do not know about with it takes to care for an adopted child.

for people wo are close to you I recommend asking them to read the same books you are reading on bonding and adoption. Try to get them to understand that your new child is going to need some special care and attention given by you and get them to understand that in order for you and your new child to bond they are going to have to deal with the fact that contact between them and your new child is going to be very limited for at least the firat three months. No holding them, no feeding them, no giving them gifts, no snuggling them up, nothing that can confuse your new child about who his mama is.

This is goign to be hard, your friends and family and even strangers are going to want to hold him or touch him etc.. they will not understand and some will get offended. That will be their problem, not yours. You will want to put your child first and foremost above all others.

You will have to either make them understand or just take a hard hand and make it a straight up rule that you tell people before they even get the chance to pick up your child.

they will have to understand that it is only for a few months and that your child will be your child for ever. There will be plenty of time for hugs and holds and gift giving later on. Once the bonding has taken believe me you will not be able to wait to have someone hold him and watch him for a while.

Read all the books you can on adoption and bonding. We have listed some we likes on our site as others do and i am sure your agency probably gave you a reading list. Read what you can to make you feel confident but do not go overboard with obsessing on it. Those books provide a WIDE range of examples and case studies and some of them will make you really sad, some will elate you and some will scare the heck out of you.

Understand that each child is their own soul and they will each come with their own requirements and needs. You will have to wait to get the little one in your home before you can know what they will need. This is obvious but is still important to remember.

I know this is a long post but i just wanted to give you some information that i think is important early on in your process. This is all stuff we have learned a lot later in the process then you are now and i think it would have helped us to hear it sooner.

best of luck and I hope you get a referral quickly so that you can experience all of the wonder (and sleepless nights :) ) that parenthood has to offer. Once you have your child life will be forever changed in a way that you can not even imagine right now.

warm regards,