Sunday, May 18, 2014

a child of my own

A question I have gotten occasionally is if I love my adopted children like I love my "own" children.  All of my children are "my own" of course, but I know the person asking wants to know if I love them like my biological children.  To be honest, each time we have adopted, I have had this question myself.  Will I love my new child like I love the others?  Course, I remember having those feelings each and every time I was pregnant too sooooo take it with a grain of salt I guess. 

Sometimes when you bring a new child home (at least for me), there isn't an instantaneous connection.  Sometimes it feels like babysitting.  Sometimes you wonder when the kid is going home and then you remember they are home.  I've heard from other adoptive parents that those feelings are all normal.  It can be shocking as a parent to not be immediately overwhelmed with love for that child you have been working for so long, but there it is. 

For me, my aha moment came two weeks ago.  Of course, I "love" the girls, and we have fallen into a good routine so  I don't feel like a completely crazy person anymore, but sometimes those lingering doubts come.  We noticed that Lanie had unusual bruising on her back, and being that she is nonmobile, we were concerned.  Children with DS are much more likely to get leukemia in general.  Our pediatrician didn't seem overly concerned but ran bloodwork just to be on the safe side.

We got the phone call the next day from the pediatrician.  It was early when the doc's number came up on my cell, and I had a sinking feeling.  They never call early if it's nothing.  She told me that Lanie's platelets were low, much lower than they had been previously, and that she was referring us to a hematologist.  I asked her if she was actually worried or just sending us to cover bases.  She told me she was worried, and that she had put a stat referral in.  She wanted us to be seen that next day (fri) or mon at the latest.  Her urgency in wanting us to be seen was not reassuring at all.  The hospital called us themselves an hour later, and that just made me even more nervous.

I called my mom to tell her what the doctor said, as she knew we had taken her to the doc for the bruising.  I thought I was ok, calm even, until I heard her voice.  I broke down and cried like my heart was shattered at the thought of my baby, MY baby having leukemia.  Heartwrenching, ugly sobs that you can't control. 

We took Lanie the next day and they ran bloodwork. Her counts are up so they are just going to watch her every three months, but are not overly concerned.  Which is GREAT and what we wanted of course.  The whole thing was eye opening for me though, in that it really showed me my deep down feelings for my little squishy girl. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Progress for Jojo

Living in the trenches and working through hard stuff with kiddo's who have been institutionalized is a constant work in progress.  I took the girls to get fitted for sure steps today (little braces for their feet) and Jocelyn had a hard time.  She does not like change and usually has a negative reaction to new experiences. 

She cried when the man started to measure her foot.  BUT, two amazing things happened along with the crying.  She cried outLOUD!!  Sounds like a weird thing to be excited about right?  Well, ever since we picked her up, she has cried SILENTLY.  It is heart breaking to find her crying silently on the floor, really truly heart breaking.  I was so excited to HEAR her crying today and not bc she was physically hurt (she cries when they take blood). 

Secondly, she reached for ME today, bypassing the fun, new physical therapist.  This is HUGE.  She is working on attachment, and up until this point would have chosen any random "caregiver".  New people were even better for her honestly, bc in her mind, they might be "better" than us or not require hard things.  We call it mommy shopping here.

 Side note: this is also why we sometimes limit who can hold and hug her.  She needs to know who mama and papa are first., today she crawled PAST the fun NEW person, and reached for me, her mama, to comfort her.  It seriously made every single hard moment in the last three months just melt away.

 She knows.  She KNOWS I will protect her.  Forever and ever baby, mama will keep you safe.  Mama will push you to try hard, but she will also be there to catch you and encourage you.  And the glimpse I got today, that she is starting to realize that, made my heart catch.  Of course I don't think she is firmly attached by any means, but she has started the journey, and THAT is exciting!

Oh this pic?  Yeah, she stands and plays at the water table now.  Just like a big girl!