Foundation Work

So, as you all know, I brought Little Man home to do school here, with me.  To help him learn to learn and at the same time really work on the attachment stuff that has been pinging on my radar.  Well, this is week three.  By last week even, it became clear that this move was so important.  For now.  Critical even.

It seems that the attachment work best begins at the foundation.

I don’t know why this surprises me.  But, it did.  Does.  A little. And then, not at all.  Because if you’re gonna work on something, you’d best start where it begins, right? Right. And it seems that by  bringing him home we have unsuspectingly opened the doors and provided the time and space and focus to let some of those issues surface.

I know, I’m being obtuse. Not on purpose. Or I  might seem to be rambling.   But, it’s this kind of unexpected strangeness.  A change.  Rather than just helping him get on a better academic route, for his learning style, I feel, very much, like we are working on repairing cracks in the foundation here.  Anytime there is a tough start, {an adoption in this case} then there are cracks that need to be healed/repaired.  There is old hurt and it can and will surface.  Trust issues and issues of self worth can surface.  And it’s oh so easy to sweep them aside in the crazy chaos of our busy lives.  It’s all TOO easy to do it.  But just covering them with the routine, ordered or hectic, won’t actually heal those tears.  It will only cover them.  I want to mend them.  And, now, I have the gift of time and space and place to do so.

Don’t get me wrong, we are learning.  He is learning.  School is happening.  He is so smart that his mind makes connections that make me grin with pleasure.  He grasps concepts and ideas so quickly.  He reads well,  though he much prefers to be read to than to read by himself.  And so, I read to him quite a bit.  Because that is part of the bigger picture, here, now.  Yes, I want to work on his behaviors and quirks and help him learn better and more and well.  But I also, oh so much more, need to work on the repair of that bubbling need to connect, to heal those cracks in that first foundation.

Some of you might say, “But he came home as a baby! I saw  you with him, you two TOTALLY bonded.”  Um. Yes.  Yup.  Did.  And also, “But you have other kids who were adopted, hard starts, what about them?”  Yes.  I do.  I’ve home-schooled a number of them.  This work, school and attachment, foundation work, it all is done on an individual basis – even as it’s done within the larger critical family framework.  And the needs of each shift and change, different needs, ages, stages.  This boy, this year, he’s the one who needs this, in this mode, now.  As he matures, and especially as he grows into a strong boy with BIG feelings and impulses….those tracks are best revisited and reinforced.  Eight years old is a critical era/stage.  Those feelings of value tend to really hammer home right about now, I think.  They are absolutely and critically influenced by their school experiences.  Those feelings of worth and tangled hurt and value, they’d best be sorted through and that value (not a pandering or coddling, a deep core assessment) had best be cemented.  I think, I know, that THIS is the work we are meant to be doing.  Right now.  This is why my radar was pinging and he needed to come home, now.

It’s the most important school. The first school. The deepest most true education of a person.  That they have value and matter, no matter what.  No matter the start.  No matter if they can keep papers organized or get bored quickly.  This boy, he matters.  He is good.

It’s hard work. I didn’t realize so much of it was going to be on the job list, frankly.   It’s exhausting; more so than just learning math concepts or parts of speech. Because when  you patch a heart foundation…it takes work.  The eyes to see and the ears to hear and the timing…well, you don’t get to pick.  But it’s worth the work.  Because, even so, that foundation repair: you might still see the lines of the original splits or dings and tears…but you can make it strong again.  Strong enough to support whatever needs to be built upon it.  Even better, strong enough to support a big adventure, healthy growing life, filled with learning and the ability to love.

Conscious Parenting….

So, I’ve been stewing about a constellation of things lately…possible sea changes around here, fine tuning, redirecting, and so on.  And, happily, this Friday and Saturday I will be here at the terrific Empowered To Connect Conference.  I went last year and it was amazing.  So good. I’m due for a refresher on it all…and I’m excited to go this weekend!

Today, I saw this video.  Not the same source at all, but another fantastic source for thoughts on connection and attachment and adhd and intentional parenting, of smalls and teens and everyone in between.  Gabor Mate has written a few of my favorite parenting resource books: Scattered (about ADHD) and Hold Onto Your Kids.  He is a thoughtful, credentialed, excellent researcher, therapist and source for information.

If you’re interested in intentional parenting, check this out, below.  It’s a great advance prep to get my brain in gear for the conference this weekend too.  It’s worth your time and attention.  It’s all about Conscious Parenting.  Look….

 

h/t to Hattie Heaton 

Voices from the heart…of a birthday

So, sometimes this adoption stuff is a kick in the heart, not only a kick in the gut  There is such beauty and gift and joy.  But make no mistake, there is such heart-ache….and breath-take. Attachment is a lifelong gig, I think.  Attachment and the navigation of those depths and shallows of the heart is an ongoing diving expedition.  It has it’s own phases {weeks, months, days, hours} and tides that ebb and flow.

My Little Man has been working through some stuff lately.   One of the things that doesn’t get mentioned much in the blog-o-verse, or even too much in the literature and the reference books on adoption is that birthdays can be a mine-field.  Of course, right?  Well, yeah, duh.  But, too often, that’s easy to forget.  Too often, it’s easy to overlook that part of it, the loaded moment, the undercurrents.  Because the kid is excited, amped, hyper, for their birthday.  It’s all about the presents and the party, right?  And the parents and family, ideally, they are also so bonded in that it’s just another happy day, another kiddy birthday party.

But, it’s not just that; maybe not ever, I don’t know.  As my kids get older we have moved into different waters in the adoption issues.  I have posts rattling in my head and am not sure how to get them out or if I should.  Heck, even this post was supposed to be a short mention.  But it’s almost impossible to snip this stuff down to a sound bite or a visual blip.

But for this post, we are talking about the heart of a birthday.  Specifically, the backseat voice of my son’s heart on this birthday.

We were driving to basketball practice, again…the night before his birthday.  It was dark in the car, kind of quiet, he had the sniffles and it was drizzly out, we were a touch late.  A standard night.

Then he said, “Mom, I remember when I was a baby and I first met you.”

I said, “You do?”  {He was three months old}.

He said, “Yes.  Do you remember?”

I said, “Yes. I sure do.”

He continued, “I remember you cried and you said, ‘Oh, I love him so much!’ Didn’t you?”

“I did, honey.  That’s right.”  I paused, kind of holding my breath, waiting to hear if he had more to ask or say.

He did.  “I also remember the last time I saw my birth mom.”

“Do you?”  {He was weeks old}.

“Yes, she was crying.  Do you think she cried then?”

“I know she did honey.”

“Well, I remember.  I remember her kissing me and saying ‘I love you.  Blessing, blessing over him. I love him so much.'”

I was blinking now, trying to drive in the drizzly dark with my sweet tender son in the back seat.

“Mom?”

I had to gulp, “Yup, buddy?”

“Do you think she said that? I remember?”

“You know, honey, I think she did.  I just bet she did.”

“Yeah,” he said “that’s what I remember.”

Just like that we were at the gym and he was clambering out of the car, running into practice.  Just like it was any night.

I guess, it was.  But I just had to take a minute behind him, to gather up the pieces of my heart that had just broke again a  little bit for my boy.

Adoption is an event.  But it is also a thread of attachment that continues to tug.  With echoing voices from the deep….from the deep jagged shoals in both of our hearts.  Just like that.