10:15 AM

My reading has begun

I am in the VERY preliminary stages of my reading on attachment parenting an adopted child. I must say the first thing I have read over and over is that parenting an adopted child is NOTHING like parenting a bio child. Regardless of this fact, I can not help but compare the things I am reading to my own child. My son is about the age now that Elora will be when she comes home for the first time so I have a real life comparison to the development and temperament of a 6-12 month baby.
Just to preface this conversation, I will say that my husband and I are about the most laid back parents I know. Although I read all the baby development books while pregnant, I have not picked them up since, and do not like "charting" my son. I avoid the conversations at play dates or the park that begin with "has he (fill in the blank) yet?", seriously, I just walk away as if I did not hear them ask.
I am an advocate of exploration and have allowed my son to eat grass, dirt, leather in all forms and 3 price tags (so far). I do try to avoid the price tag consumption though mainly because of the awkward conversation at the check out and the need to wait for a price check. I just feel that he is at the stage where the mouth is a great learning and exploration tool, so why not let him put unconventional things in there. This is just a good example of how laiser-fair we are about parenting, I once heard it described as "baby lead" parenting. Good name for it. I did not stress tummy time, I hate "educational" toys - they are all too loud and I did not jump up every time he made a peep. He is a very happy well adjusted baby and is very physically strong. He frustrates easily, is very empathetic and sensitive, is a perfectionist already and very verbal.
According to the books I read, my son is not attached. He will not maintain eye contact, he will not let me cuddle him (any more), he will not let me massage him, he will not let me feed him (any more) he is frightened of other babies who cry and toys that are battery operated and blink and talk at him, but he never had stranger anxiety and loves to put on a show in grocery store check out lines, pulls out every trick he has and gets a lot of attention from the ladies, he is a supreme flirt. He is so independent and has wanted to have as much independence as physically possible since he was new born. I foster this in him but mostly since it was always evident that this was his nature, not because I was following some sort of parenting mantra, just because that is what he wanted so I helped him learn how to do it him self just to ease his frustrations when he could not accomplish it with out help.
Watching my happy healthy son display these "attachment warning signs" has given me some perspective I hope to use for parenting my next child. Children are ingrained with a lot of personality and behaviour that you can not really change. I am sure that if my son was adopted and I was a first time parent reading these books I would have had him in therapy by now. And with adoption I guess it is always better to be safe then sorry but still I think that I will take the attachment reading with a grain of salt and remember these days with my son and the "normal" things he did, that any child this age could do. I hope I can use baby lead parenting with Elora as well. I can credit my reading in attachment issues as a great resource to be on the look out for clues on how to interpret what Elora needs. I am sure she will lead me on a completely different path. That she will challenge me to be creative and teach me to never say never, but I will try to remember that it is her path I will follow and not a chart of expectations.

* I do reserve the right to completely eat my words when the time comes to put this theory into play. :)