We have built our family through adoption. It’s definitely been an interesting process… We went from zero to three children in just under a year.
The gentle, sensitive, artistically natured, little diva that we are so proud to call our eldest daughter.
Our eldest daughter joined our family less than a month after her younger sister. She had been the foster sister of our son, and from the moment we had met her, my husband was swept off his feet by this little girl with an amazing genuine giggle. Our son was also very attached to this beautiful young girl that he considered simply to be his sister, and talked about her often in our home. As we were lucky to remain connected to their foster family, we were able to continue visiting with this little girl until the placement for her adoption was approved. Now we maintain the connection to their foster family as they are simply part of our extended family. Our kids all refer to them as “Auntie” and “Uncle”, and they are an important part of our world.
Our first visit with our son, was also our first introduction to the little girl that would one day be our sweet daughter. Though we were there to meet the beautiful little boy that we had been matched with, it was a day full of giggles, many children and the spark of a relationship between my husband and his “soon to be” daughter, though at the time, we had no idea. I remember watching them on the swing set in the backyard, calling each other ridiculous names and giggling. I think that the favorite name at the time, was “pickle face”. This darling little 6 year old girl had shouted it out, and could barely keep herself on the swing as she was doubled over giggling. To this day, that memory remains a favorite!
I remember the day that she finally gave me a real, genuine, squishy kind of hug. I was on my way out the door at the time, and she ran up to me and reached out her arms. Up until this point, hugs only happened when prompted and consisted of leaning her shoulder into my side for a few seconds and then she would dash away to continue her playing. When she reached out her arms for a real hug, the kind when she wrapped her little arms around me and squeezed like she would never let go, it took every ounce of composure I could muster to keep from bursting into tears. For me, that meant more than the first time she called me “Mom” or even than the first time she told me she loved me… In that hug, I could feel the sweet, gentle, terrified little girl that finally trusted me enough to allow herself to open up, even a little bit. Now, I look forward to those kinds of hugs every day and I need to remind myself that it took a lot of hard work and patience to get there…but we made it.
Our beautiful daughter with a big heart pushes us every day. She will always be my reminder that we all need reassurance and a push to allow ourselves to be genuine in every moment. We all need a soft place to fall when things don’t go quite according to plan, we need to take small steps to conquer our fears even if what we’re facing doesn’t seem so scary to anyone else, and we need to know that even when we get hurt that the people that love us will still be there. Even when we test that love, we need to know that it won’t break. My amazingly brave but sensitive little girl, on the verge of becoming a young lady, has helped me to remember that love, patience and respect are all things that come with time and are treasured once achieved. Every step we take together with her becomes more and more exciting to see the truly amazing soul that she is. We are so lucky to be part of her journey!
Working on attachment with our sensitive daughter has taken us down a bit of a different path than the one travelled with our other two children. Though our family’s “ground rules” are the same, we take a bit of a different approach. With our eldest daughter, much of our focus is on creating a sense of self and working through emotions before regulating. This means that we work hard to stay completely neutral and calm in her hurricane of emotions. There are many strategies that we use to create a safe place for her to put all her angry, negative and self-destructive thoughts out into the open and then once we have been able to regulate our breathing and emotions, we will tackle each of them one at a time. We talk about where they come from, how they are working for us, what kind of reasons do we have to back them up and if maybe perhaps, we could be looking at things a little differently. The concept of choice and that each choice comes with a consequence (good or bad) seems to be one that is sinking in, though impulse control can be difficult in the chaos of emotion. This seems to be especially true on the many occasions that my and husband and I make ridiculous requests (like turning off the lights and earth-shaking music when leaving a room, cleaning up toys, wearing a jacket and toque in a blizzard…) that is received with impressive eye rolling and grunting!
Our gentle, artistically natured daughter shines brightest when it comes to our family pets. She giggles when the cat tries to chew off each of her hair elastics that she has carefully created into a full, arm length bracelet (leaving me to wonder where all the hair elastics have gone!), she will cuddle with the smelliest of dogs, allowing the dog to crawl all over her in search of the last piece of dinner that is sure to be hiding somewhere on our daughter’s face, and she will spend hours playing catch outside with the dogs throwing snowballs that mysteriously disappear once they hit the ground. Our beautiful girl will pour over books about horses, dogs, cats or bats, working hard to discover all of the animal’s secrets. She spends time with each animal every day, stroking their hair and gently telling them how special they each are as she rubs their bellies. When it’s time to watch a movie on the couch, she takes up most of the couch herself, with two dogs draped over her legs and a cat in her lap. During the summer, every bike ride or walk has multiple stops along the way to allow the ladybugs, crickets, ants or spiders to cross the path safely. She is an amazing little girl with a heart of gold. We are so proud to call her our daughter! We love her so much and are so honoured to be walking through life with her!
Posted by: Cara