Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: In the Lovely South, Y'all.
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We adopted VeeGee at just shy of 3yo - she'd been with us since she was 19mos.
I think that one of the things that I wish I'd known was how much I would need to be patient with her in terms of her attachment to me, though I'm not sure one can be told such a thing really. I think I went in expecting that she would be so relieved to have a mom that cared for her every day for many many days, that she would attach and it would be this lovely mother-daughter bond. I was her "savior" ya know? Well, that way of thinking was clearly NOT a good way, though it was the only way I knew at the time.
It took her a very long time, though when I look back, it feels quick, to trust me, to express real affection (she was used to expressing affection, but it had a creepy, almost manipulative tinge, that I think was a result of her trying to get someone to take care of her, a survival mechanism) towards me. I wanted to give her language, to have her call me "mom." But that took a while. I don't think I would call that rejection, rather just a slowly evolving trust. That said, it can feel like rejection, it can hurt.
And she was also somewhat violent with me for a while. She was very averse to being touched and so would fight me at every turn. Diapering, grooming, feeding, etc. were all just awful. It may seem strange that a 19 month old could be as powerful as she was, particularly in light of her extreme physical fragility, but she packed a punch and a kick!
In the end, I would counsel any prospective fp or ap to cultivate within him/herself a sense of humor, perspective, and patience. As the grownups, it's our job to be willing to wait for the little ones to heal and to attach at their own pace. Certainly, some will attach faster than others, some will have mental/emotional, even physical, barriers to attachment that will either delay or, in some cases, prevent full attachment. But I think it's relatively rare that a parent who is both prepared and willing to be flexible and responsive never breaks through.
Best of luck!!!!!
Wendy ~ mom to VeeGee (6/05), who has PRS, Apraxia, SPD, VPI, a G-Tube, 14q duplication, and is a delightful little pistol! I'm an English professor and a writer.