Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Thinking about Things

Laurie at Pho for Four, who always has awesome posts, recently got me really thinking about how things really are in our household as Justin and I adapt to being first time parents and doing that for an adopted child. She was commenting on how many adoptive parents (APs) only write about the happy times and we often don't write about the hard times, which makes our lives appear "perfect", which is most certainly not the case. I admit, I rarely write about the hard times, but we have been so fortunate and have a child who has adjusted so well and I often don't have issues to write about. Lucy is a very easy baby. She sleeps well, she eats well, she interacts well, she is attached to us (which I know is still very much a work in progress), and she is just a happy little pumpkin. We are lucky. She came from a tiny little orphanage with only a few babies and she was SO well cared for and loved. The only hard times we have had with her were in Vietnam while she was mourning the loss of everything and everyone that she had ever known in her short little life of 5 months. And even then, the only hard time was going to bed. But once we got home, it was like a switch flipped and night time was no longer a battle. As I said before, we are very fortunate. Every child is so different. As far as feeling attached to her immediately, I can honestly say that I did. I do remember feeling a little weird that she was finally with us for the first few days, but I really did always feel as though she was our child. Everyone processes this so differently and I certainly don't think it is weird for someone to not feel attached to a picture or to a child that they barely know. I am probably the weird one here for feeling so attached to a picture of a child I had never met. My feelings for her grow stronger and stronger everyday still.

So, for the time being, I don't have any major adjustment issues to write about regarding Lucy - she is doing great. That does not mean that I don't find myself having a hard time. What I find myself constantly struggling with is the age old question - Are we raising her "correctly"? Because she is adopted, I feel as though I question myself and how we do things with her all of the time. I am not sure that I would do this with a bio child. Even though she is doing so well, I am always worried that I am going to do something that makes her go backwards in her progress. Other APs out there, do you do this? Is this normal? Will this feeling eventually go away? Am I always going to be worried that I am screwing up or that I could screw up? I am sure that every parent goes through this in one way or another. I know it is normal to worry about raising your children. I just worry sometimes that I over analyze everything because she is adopted. I find myself questioning silly little things and wondering if it is related to the fact that she is adopted. And then I find myself concerned that I am going to make her feel different by worrying too much. I don't want to make her feel any more different than she already is going to feel. Again, do others feel this same way? The bottom line is, Justin and I love Lucy so very much. She is hands down the greatest thing that could have ever happened to either of us. We want to do the very best for her that we can, and that can be a big load on one's shoulders. Will I ever just feel that we are doing our best and that our best is good enough for our children?

Now that I have gotten that off of my chest, on to some lighter reading. I have a confession, I have turned into a huge game nerd. I am addicted to both Nintendo Wii (bowling being my biggest addiction and I did bowl a 246 today) and jigsaw puzzles. Random, I know, but it is true. My little sister and I have been doing puzzles pretty much nonstop for the past couple of weeks. We just finished a 2000 piece puzzle in no time at all. What a bunch of dorks we are!! It is so fun though.

Lucy's favorite tricks lately are clapping at everything, shaking her head NO to any question you ask her, and waving like a queen. She has done a funny wave for a while now, but all of the sudden, she waves like the queen. I have it on video and will upload it soon. Of course, for your viewing pleasure, here is my little pumpkin. We took her to the big pool and she was not really too sure about it. The water was cold and there were a million wild kids there, but she had a good time. She kept wanting to put her head in the water but then she would get a mouth full of water and snort some up her nose. This is all happening while I am fighting her to keep her head out of the water since she obviously did not get the whole not breathing under water thing.
Ready to swim.

In the baby pool - it was 2 feet deep and she needed her float to stay above water. Also, the whole pool has a huge shade over it which is why the water was so cold. She never touched her sunglasses one time. She apparently loves them.

Could someone get me a cold drink?

Check out those cheeks!!


Mia's Mommy said...

Kelly, Oh my goodness, YES, what you are feeling is so totally normal. As you know, I have three bio kids, then Mia. I find myself doing the same thing sometimes, wondering if I'll do this or that which may make her go backwards. But, I do that with all my kids in all different arenas of their lives. It's kind of assumed that of course anyone's bio kids are attached to them. That's not always the case either. Like you said, that will be an ongoing thing. I think the problem comes when a parent stops questioning themself and assumes that they're doing everything correctly. Or they just don't care. Good parents always question, research, and accept that some things work and some things don't, and sometimes it differs with each kid. I'm glad Lucy is doing so well! You are very blessed Kelly.

mam said...

She is, seriousl, the cutest thing I've ever seen. That bulging belly in her blue suit! So so adorable. I'm happy for you and Justin, to have such a great and easy kid and feel so content.

S. said...

She is so cute in those glasses! I can't believe she kept them on! There is really nothing more adorable than a toddler in a swim suit.

About the other stuff--I don't know--I guess it is more complicated with adoption, and you find more to worry about--but really worrying that you are screwing your kids up is just part of being a mother, period!

Sherri said...

I think that the good times are so great that we don't really think about the bad times.

She is so precious at the pool. And what a little poser! She knows how cute she is and wants everyone to see her charismatic personality.

Can't wait to see you guys. I am just dying to see them crawl around and play together.

Anonymous said...

You know, we have had no issues either. You know me, I bitch up a storm when things are going wrong! haha. All someone has to do is read back in my adoption journal prior to travel to get that idea! Compared to the paperchase and wait, this part is a piece o' cake!!! I think sometimes it really is just THAT GOOD. But Laurie is right that often times parents just drop off the planet and stop saying a word about the ongoing adjustments when there are problems and that doesn't benefit other APs, for sure.

Also here is what I think about questioning yourself. As long as you are a good mama, you will. Period. The minute you stop questioning yourself is the minute you should be quesitoning yourself the most! I have been doing this for 12 years and there is not a day that goes by that I don't try to reevaluate, do things better, make things better and consider my methods. I think it's called Mothering :-) So yeah, what Melissa said!!!

Jen said...

I think you have the makings of a movie star on your hands! How adorable is she wearing those shades. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Hubby and I are just gearing up for parenthood and it is nice to know that insecurities come with the territory.

jenn said...

Kelly, she is just adorable. Your post sounded so normal to is very much what I go through in a regular cycle and like Mia's mom, I have bio kids as well and you do the exact same thing with them. If you questions yourself, it's because you care so much and want to be the best mom you can for Lucy...that's a good thing!

Susan said...

I've been so very blessed with adopting a child who bonded with me very quickly and who has had only a couple of transitional issues. I've written about the biggest one -- lack of sleep. Prior to travel, I tried to prepare myself for the possibility of not feeling immediate love for my baby and some of the other things people go through. It just wasn't like that for us, though. I'm so grateful!

I also question myself about my parenting. I have to throw in the worries of being a single parent on top of everything else. I just try to plug along and do the best I can. That's all any of us can do, I guess.

Good post!

Heather said...

I liked this post. Thanks! You know, Sarah has been a dream baby, too. No major things to write about - except for the normal tantrums that come with almost being two years. Andrew has been harder on me just because of the newborn sleep deprived thing and the reflux/colic. But, I will not go into details on my blog because his birthmother reads it (for one thing) and I always think about how my own children would feel if they read what I wrote (and were old enough to comprehend). We are not pretending to be a perfect family, but some info is better left to a private conversation between friends. That is just my 2 cents worth, anyway. :)

Anonymous said...

Kelly, I'm digging the shades. She's so adorable. And although I can't attest to your child-raising anxiety, my two-cents is that you and Justin are fabulous parents!! I'll always back Team Pollard. As for the pool, I can give you advise about that. Try to teach Lucy to blow bubbles in the water--it's the first step to getting her to stop swallowing water and when she gets that down, she can blow bubbles under the water. Let Auntie Shawna take her for a dip and she'll be swimming laps in no time!

Anonymous said...

This is a great post. I think it's so important that parents (mothers in particular) are aware that raising children is difficult and that they are not the only ones with questions rattling around in their heads. Ava was also a breeze with attachment, not to mention she was just an all around easy baby, toddler and now *big* kid. Sera's story has been quite a bit different mostly because of her older age, but also because she's much sassier and headstrong than her sister.

I don't really know what I'm trying to say here, but I think questioning yourself is completely normal. No kids come with instructions, but I think adoption certainly adds a bit to the parenting confusion. Sometimes I feel like I've been 'winging it' for the last 5 years...but Ava seems to be doing OK, so I try not to worry too much. ;) Learning how to be a parent is an ongoing thing and will always need to be re-eveluated from time to time. Trust your instincts...Lucy is a doll and it's obvious that she is doing very well!

Anonymous said...

Kelly, sounds like normal questions and concerns. Things have not been all sunshine and roses since we came home, but I agree with Nicki that the wait to actually get our boy home was more difficult than the issues we've dealt with since being home. One thing that I worry about with adopting an older child (he was 3 1/2 when we brought him home)is the attachment issues. We so far have had a few issues, but nothing major. Some folks say that we are still in the "honeymoon" stage and that things will be rougher after the first year. I am going to believe that we will NOT have any issues after the first year and that Khoa was brought to us by God and that we will be able to deal with whatever comes our way in the future.

I'm so thankful that Lucy is such a good baby! The pictures are usual.

Tasha Kent said...

I appreciate your honesty! I know those are questions I'm going to being dealing with very shortly (hopefully).