Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Attachment & Behavior Stuff...

We've worked through so much over the past year and I feel like Asa has adjusted beautifully in so many areas. I really think that a tremendous amount of this growth is due to a very conscious effort on his part. That might sound crazy but, even at the tender age of four, I truly believe that he knows what we want for him (to feel loved and attached) and that he is trying to learn about being part of a family. This is sooooo encouraging and amazing to me because it's quite common to hear of adoptive parents who pour so much energy into the healing of their children, only to face rejection, opposition and defiance.

Before Asa came home, we read a lot and felt that we had a pretty good understanding of adoption and the attachment process. Until you are living it, though, it's very difficult to understand the subtle behavior nuances that indicate attachment issues. Someone who would interact with Asa (and other adopted kiddos) on a limited basis probably wouldn't even notice these traits, but we've become acutely aware of them and realize that his early years did have an impact on his little heart.

Despite the major advances Asa has made in self-control and obedience, we're still experiencing issues in public settings, particularly when I am trying to have conversations with other adults. It has totally stumped us in terms of why he feels so compelled to act out in this way; we thought it might have something to do with being in an orphanage and not having proper interpersonal skills or manners modeled by parents. But I recently happened upon an archived attachment article from and this is the excerpt that grabbed me:

"Needs to control Mom at all times...
...disruptive when Mom is on the phone or talking to other adults, very jealous of attention to other siblings. Will whine, cling, hit, chatter, to monopolize Mom’s attention - again, insecure or anxious attachment." **

It says this can be a symptom of more serious attachment disorders, but my mommy instinct tells me that it's probably not that severe. I do think there is a broad spectrum of attachment issues and Asa probably falls into the "reconciling this new attachment and the feelings that go along with it" category. Maybe? I kind of made that up, but it seems to summarize where I think his little heart is right now. He's doing so well in many ways, but just has these remnants of life without a family embedded in his memory - and I can't even imagine what that must feel like for such a little guy. I've found some helpful info here and thought it might be useful for others (some of it doesn't apply or feel "right" to us, but a lot of it is practical and logical). It's always such a blessing to have the occasional a-ha! moment - - when I feel like I found a new tool or idea that might help our baby to heal.

** Recognizing Attachment Problems in Internationally Adopted Preschoolers

Monday, April 19, 2010

This Is What Happens...

When Asa sees the camera:

Asa changed poses with each "click." You can tell, by Camden's unchanging expression, that this all took place within seconds. Asa hams it up without any prompting at all... what a goofball!

The both complied and smiled when daddy said "say cheese," though. :o)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


We've been diligent about explaining to Asa that he should not start conversations with strangers and that mommy and daddy will let him know when someone is a "friend" to whom we can talk. It used to be that Asa would act overly familiar (cheeky, even) with strangers. It was usually uncomfortable, not just for us, but the individual that caught Asa's attention. He's really been receptive to our guidance in this area and has gotten so much better. But this is what happened a few weeks ago while we were shopping for Easter clothes. He was standing next to me and practicing some dance moves and crazy faces in a mirror by a rack of dresses:

Lady: Hi there! You sure are cute... how old are you?
Asa: (loudly) You're a stranger. I can't talk to strangers.
Lady: Awww. You are adorable. That's true - you should not talk to strangers, but I'm a nice grandma and I love children.
Asa: (loud & indignant) MOM, that STRANGER is still talkin' to me!!

I think he'll eventually learn a bit more about tact (and volume control) but I'm pretty sure there is no restraining our Asa's effervescent personality.