We have been home with Sophie for 20 months. Almost as long as we waited for her to find us through our agency WC list. We think that Sophie was in the SWI for approximately the first 6 months of her life, then she was with a foster family, then brought back to the SWI around the time we were matched with her. When we first met Sophie she was reluctant to let go of the young "nanny" holding her, and I could not make myself rip her out of the nanny's arms....so I waited.
Waiting is really how our story began.
Due to Sophie's special need she had two surgeries about 2 months after arriving home. There were also post-op treatments involved that were uncomfortable but necessary for us to perform for about 9 months post surgery. There were lots of doctor visits and medication. But through it all we continued to grow closer, following Sophie's lead I suppose. She had so many changes, it seemed only fair to work slowly but diligently at building love and trust.
Like many of you I had read all the books, blogs, web pages etc. that I could find regarding attachment. I also recognized that my parenting style was more consistent with attachment parenting. ( we were fine with co-sleeping, baby wearing etc.) so, I felt pretty comfortable with the rate at which Sophie's attachment was growing. So I continued to wait. I did not have to wait long for her to reach for me when she was scared, she was happy to stay in my arms, she was slow to warm up to family and friends. All positive early signs. But still she was careful. Very careful to let me in to love her and for her to love me back. Sophie let me massage her after baths, rock her to sleep, she shared food with all of us, She let me kiss and hug her a million times a day. She Allowed me to do these things. I waited until she allowed herself to love and trust me back. It happened slowly. I remember when she began to let her guard down , she was next to me in her bed falling asleep with her little hand resting on my face while she said "mama, mama" as she drifted off to sleep.
So here were are at the 20 month mark and I can say that I feel things are still moving in the right direction. Her eye contact has significantly improved when we are close together. She has good eye contact when talking or playing with us. She no longer will give me the defiant death stare when she is being disciplined. Sophie will now give me a kiss when I ask for one, and will kiss me a million times a day on her own accord:) Makes my heart swell I tell ya. She is attached to Chris, but I still think that is something that can improve. For example she won't kiss him. She will hug him, and all the other things that I do with her,but for now ...."no kisses Daddy".....and this is a girl who loves her daddy! She doesn't kiss Ben or Hannah. She will snuggle with them and hug them but that is about it. She will let them pick her up and carry her to me if she gets hurt playing, which I think is typical behavior. Oddly enough Sophie will give the dogs a kiss goodnight.
I do think that things have taken us a little longer than I thought in part due to Soph's medical stuff. That is mostly behind us I anticipate that she will continue to grow and trust us as her family. This attachment stuff is scary. But with almost 2 years together I do not think that Sophie's attachment to us is as seamless as I thought it would be at this point. But that is ok....as long as we continue to move in the right direction of building love and trust.
Waiting is a huge part of adopting....in more ways than one!