This chapter in Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child dealt with Identity, attachment, connection and resilency. We are all well versed on the "attachment" catch phrase. Every adopted parent dwells on attachment. Are we attached? Is my child able to attach? Are they going to be able to attach to us? This book takes an interesting perspective on attachment.
"You and your child are creating a relationship, just as a weaver creates a weaving. Think of connecting as the process of weaving, whereas attachment is the completed piece of cloth."
This take on attachment actually made me feel somewhat better. What was it that I expected anyway? Immediate attachment? Am I depressed and worried because I don't feel like we have that completed tapestry in just 9 short months? Clearly different children attach or connect differently, and it must be assumed that it is all on their own time frame.
The author goes on to explain identity, connection and resilency as the three cornerstones of development. The book also explains chemical changes that occur in the brain of a child who has experienced trauma and loss. They live in a constant state of "fight or flight." They describe this as a "stress-shaped brain."
Parents can help children build new, healthier brain pathways with which to problem solve and learn to cope effectively.
One of the things I found most reassuring of this chapter was the fact that when internationally adopted children take two steps forward, they often take ten steps back. It certainly does seem that when we pat ourselves on the back for making progress with the kids and Josh specifically, things are doomed for weeks after.
I will leave you with the one sentence that perhaps meant the most to me.
"Children need our help most when they are at their worst."
How true and how hard that fact has been for us to accept. But we are working on it.