Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Misspent Prom & Adoption Talk

A while back, I was reading an adoptive family's blog and something they had posted caught my eye. The mom was writing about her oldest daughter's transition into living life in a family. This daughter was a young teen and something she told her mom jumped right off the page at me. The daughter told her mom how she was envious of her younger sister who was small enough to still be held and rocked by the mother. The daughter said how she wished her adoptive mom would have been around when she was a little girl so she could have been rocked and cuddled and loved like that.

Click! For me, that girl's comments totally solidified in my head the idea behind regression and encouraging dependence in adopted children. (Adoptive parents are often encouraged to let potty trained toddlers go back to diapers, let their children use a bottle, rock their older children, make older children seek them out for food, etc. as part of encouraging attachment in their children.)

Some time ago, D told me something similar about our relationship. He said that he wished we would have known each other in high school so we could have gone to prom together. His two proms were okay but pretty blaise as he went with two friends. And my proms were, well, interesting to say the least. (I'll spare you the details.) The girl who spoke to her adoptive mom about wishing she had known her earlier in her life was saying the same exact thing D was saying to me. "I missed knowing you way back when. I think we would have had fun together. I feel like I missed out on some experiences because you weren't always in my life." Of course, a sentimental husband pining for his teenage years is not quite the same as a child thinking about the life they never got to have. But it makes so much more sense to me now.

I feel a small twinge of sadness and remorse over things I've missed doing with my husband; how much more emotion is connected to a child's heart when they recognize the things they have missed doing with their mom or dad. In Kenson, I do think I see a few indicators of these feelings in him. He often crawls up in my lap with his sippy cup and puts the cup in my hand so I will cradle him while he is drinking. And he still enjoys having D or I feed him. I'm thankful for a new perspective on these behaviors. It's easy to want to push him to be independent but I often have to remind myself that he is basking in lost opportunities, sucking up the good feelings of nurturing that, while he got from nannies, he did not get from his Mama and Papa,


Bill and Christina said...

Great post thank you. As you know we are adopting older girls and this was a great insight.


Kathy C. said...

Thankfully Kenson is still young enough to catch up many of the things you missed. But still I know you missed so many firsts in his life.

I grieve for all the times we could have gone to the zoo, to the beach, to the park with ours but they are still there. It's such a long road.

I knew my husband in high school but I will tell him that I wish we would have dated in highschool because it would have made things more special.

Katy said...

Wonderful insight...I was surprised when I first learned in the social work field about the aspect of regression in attachment, but the more I learned, the more it makes sense. That is the hardest thing about this process for me, to be giving up moments with my child.