I had read the books.
I did the online classes.
I had read blogs, forums and bulletin boards.
I knew the stories well. Quite often when a child first joins a family through adoption a preference is shown for one parent. Not only is a preference shown for one but the other parent is often unable to do anything for the child without making them upset.
I was confident in our ability to handle this situation. Our 8 year old son had pictures of us. The few things I had come across in relation to older child adoption had comments like "the minute she saw us she knew who we were!", "he recognized us and flew into our arms".
Besides, I am a Mama, an affectionate, hugging, kissing, hand-holding, child carrying, snuggling, loving Mama. It seemed to me, if Jet didn't come running into our arms instantly, I would most certainly be the one he would attach to you at first.
(I must insert a reminder here--I am keeping it real, telling it like it is, human flaws and all.)
Yes, it would be me.
It wasn't me.
NOT BY A LONG SHOT WAS IT ME!! At the orphanage Jet came to both of us hesitantly. He allowed both of us to give him side-to-side hugs. Neither one of us pushed it at all. He seemed to like us, was ready to go with us but was reserved as well. Naturally.
Within a few short hours this was the way he was with hubby:
A subtle change had started to take place. He was definitely preferring Papa, liking to hold his hand when it was necessary, looking to him for answers and direction. I wasn't too concerned, really didn't notice it. Only in retrospect am I able to see it. I went about doing things for him, swooping in as that loving Mama when the grieving it the first night.
Papa and I started to notice things the next few days. Like when it was necessary for him to hold a hand (crossing a street) he would lunge for Papa. No exaggeration--LUNGE. Jet got to the point where he knew the time was coming for one of us to reach for his hand so he would grab Papa's prior to us reaching. My leg literally could not touch his leg when sitting next to each other. In the situations where he had NO CHOICE (because if there WAS a choice, he was nowhere near me) but to sit next to me, he spent the entire time shifting, moving, trying not to allow any part of him to touch any part of me.
If Papa and I were sitting next to each other, Jet would stand on the side of Papa that was not near me. If Papa moved him in between us, Jet would become very antsy and move back as soon as he could. Doing everything he could to keep his body so no part was touching me. If for any reason I was closest and needed to pull Jet onto my lap he resisted, keeping his body stiff and feet on the ground. His hands would work to "free" himself from me.
Getting out of the cab I would reach for Jet's hand to get us to safety while Papa paid the driver. Jet would not "hold" my hand, rather he would work to twist his hand out of mine, looking at me with disdain. The minute Papa was free Jet was grabbing his hand and looking at me to release his other hand. When the 3 of us were playing in the pool, I would try to swim after him like Papa did or play in a similar way. Jet would make a whine sound and, again, lunge for Papa. To protect him.
When I said he wasn't fond of me, I really wasn't kidding.
It wasn't me. In a big way.
I do not write any of this for sympathy. It is what it is. The idea is for families to share, be aware, know they are not alone in this journey of adoption we are called to.
I will be keeping it real tomorrow with MY reactions!