I came across one of my favorite stories from This American Life. It's the amazing story of the Solomon family. They adopted a 7-year-old child from a Romanian orphanage, and then spent years struggling to teach him what love is. And how to receive it. And how to give it. (You can listen to their story HERE. It starts about 9 minutes into the show.)
The Solomons argue that they were not teaching their son Alix what love is. They say their goal was to create attachment with their son. But since love and attachment are intricately connected, I imagine it really doesn't matter which thing they were aiming for. Once you have one, the other is sure to follow.
When I first listened to the story last year, Little Man wasn't home yet, and I can recall the heaviness in my heart as I heard the story. The Solomons' experiences with Alix were terrifying to me at the time. Not being able to connect with our son and build a strong attachment was one of my deepest fears (still is), and learning the lengths these two parents would go to, to help their son attach seemed very overwhelming.
I not only feared that we might have the same experience as they did. I also feared that I wouldn't be as strong and determined as they were.
When I listened to the story again yesterday, I still felt that heaviness in my chest that accompanies my deep fears. This surprised me a bit. I had thought that because LM was home, this story wouldn't be as difficult to listen to. But it was.
I realized that it wasn't Alix's behavior that was scaring me. It was the struggle of the parents to connect to their child, and learning that despite their best efforts, they weren't able to break through to him. That is hard for me. To realize that sometimes you do everything right, and everything possible, but the outcome might still not be what you want.
Listening to the story now, after becoming a parent, it resonates even more strongly for me. In no way does our relationship with LM resemble the Solomon's story. But the thread of the story is similar. We want to create a loving and close relationship with our son.
I sat on the floor, watching LM run around the room while I listened to the close of the story. My eyes filled with tears when it ended. Good tears, because this is a good story. And it had a happy ending.
Then I felt a tiny hand on my shoulder. I turned to see my sweet LM. He gave me a little grin and then zipped away again. A small moment between us. Our relationship is still new enough that those little gestures make giant marks on my heart.
I know we are slowly getting there. Some days are definitely better than others. We waited so long to begin our lives together that it's left me quite impatient. But we just keep plodding ahead. One small gesture at a time.
Go listen to the story. What does it say to you?
Have a great weekend!
To eat a sweet (and healthy) treat: Frozen Yogurt Banana Pops-A healthy dessert for toddlers (and their grown ups)
To document: Wobbly Teeth (Tooth-loss chart)
To remember bits of Korea: Exploring Gyeongdong Market: Red rice and dried lizards
To merge the past and present: Back To The Future 2 (go check this out...it's super cool!)
To keep an eye on: Fewer Babies Available For Adoption by U.S. Parents
To learn: Children of Cuba Remember Their Flight To America