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 Rainbowkids.com 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

5 of your thoughts:

Kathy C. said...

Thank you for sharing.

Kathy C. said...

PS could you change my blog on your blogroll to casselcrew.blogspot.com/ I ended the adoption one now that they are home.

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The Bergstedt's said...

Thanks for sharing with us. We are noticing the same behavior. Loving watching them grow.

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