A child in an orphanage is not as blessed. There are many challenges that arise. Some children are hardly ever held. They are left in their cribs for long periods of time. They are given a bottle while lying in their crib and they feed themselves. These children form no bonds and are seemingly detached from all that is around them. It takes loving and caring parents to recreate the early childhood snuggling, feeding, bathing processes to help form those bonds that never were formed in the past.
For others in an orphanage, the problem is not so much forming no bonds, but rather forming too many bonds indiscriminately. Because of multiple caregivers, because of volunteers that come in and hold sick babies, because of time spent in the hospital due to illnesses and/or surgery, a child gets used to being cared for, held by and loved by many different people. While we may at first think that this is a great thing, it also can lead to problems. These children have formed many bonds and many of them have been broken as volunteers leave, caregivers change, the child gets better and leaves the hospital and the nurses caring for them there. They may decide that it is not worth the effort of making new bonds with their parents and their forever families, because they figure that these too, may go away. Another challenge is that they may struggle with identifying their parents as their primary bonds. To recognize that their parents are there to hold, hug, care for, comfort, provide for, protect,now and forever.
Jadon falls more in the later category. Because of his poor heart, multiple pneumonias, and surgery, he got a lot of attention. He loved the attention and thrived on it. However, we noticed that when he first joined our family, he would go to whoever opened his arms to him. That included mom and dad, and siblings, but also any random stranger around. I'll get attention wherever I can and whenever I can because I don't know when this will end! We have been intentional in working on creating primary bonds with mom and dad. When he falls or bumps himself and hurts, we make sure that it is one of us two who comfort him. We are the only two that feed him and change him. In the pool, he is either in my arms or Sara's. By doing this we reinforce the notion that we are your parents and that we are here for you. We were encouraged today as we had supper at a restaurant just outside the compound where we are living. The Vietnamese people that we have met are lovely and warm people. The first time we ate at this restaurant sometime last week, one of the workers put out her arms to Jadon to pick him up so that we could eat in peace. Jadon willingly lifted his arms to go to her. Today, the same lady offered to do the same thing and Jadon just looked at her and snuggled a bit deeper into Sara's arms! This is good! This evening I was out with the oldest four children and Jadon stayed home with Sara. When we got home there was a big smile on his face as he recognized us coming back. This is good! This is what it will take, bit by bit and step by step to help Jadon in his emotional and social repair and growth which really, are ultimately a bigger challenge than his physical needs.
As we come home within the next week, we will be seeing many friends and family that have been praying for us. Many of you we know, are very excited to see Jadon. You will want to hold him, cuddle him, poke and prod him. Please remember that we will be exclusive. We are not trying to hold him away from people, but rather, we are trying to help him form those so important primary bonds so that ALL his relationships in the future will be better and stronger. Remember that as we come back home and to our circle of friends and family, that to Jadon, EVERYONE will be new. EVERY experience will be new. We will have to slowly expose him and introduce him to those we care about and love. Please do not reach out to pick him up. Take your cues from us. Allow him, in his time, to reach out to you. He is still learning to reach out to us, his parents, and to his siblings. We know that it can seem like a long process, but really, in a lifetime, what is a few weeks, or even a few months?
|Hudson and Jadon, matching and loving!|