The following post was written more than 6 years ago when Jen and I first started looking into adoption. The “Stan” guy in this post is what we were calling our up to that point unnamed son.
So the thing that brought me here today is the “Attachment and Bonding” class Jen and I took at our adoption agency. In case you’re just tuning in, we are in the process of adopting our son who we don’t know but have given the nickname “Stan” because we think he’s living somewhere in Central Asia right now (Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, you get the idea).
So this attachment and bonding class should be re-titled, “Here’s the extent of the mess you are getting yourselves into.” That would be a lot clearer for us to set our expectations.
You know, Madonna flies overseas, picks out a kid and says, “Where’s my checkbook? I’ll take that one.” How come adoption is so easy for her? Maybe it’s kabbalah. Anyhow, we have to jump through a ton of hoops, pay a huge fee (for us), read stuff, get fingerprinted, meet with a social worker who examines our lives and then we take that attachment and bonding class and think wow, this is gonna take some work.
Some of the stuff we learned the other day about all this is what little “Stan” has to go through. Of course this varies depending on his age, but more or less to every age group this applies. You’re sitting in your playpen at the orphanage, surrounded by the only people you’ve ever known and somebody picks you to go to Chino Hills with them. They talk funny. They smell funny. They are hugging you like they know you. You miss your friends, the food, familiar voices, music and they put you in this huge room that you have all to yourself. It’s overwhelming.
The fact is that though Stan may have had somebody hold him during his life, the chances are that he’s been held numerous times and seldom by the same person. The concept of “mommy and daddy” is as foreign as frozen yogurt to him. They were saying that for some kids attachment happened quickly and some took as long as 3 years! That’s 3 years of no date nights without Stan and the kids.
The other thing that struck me is how much of a transition this will be for our girls. We have been briefing them that while they have had 4-6 years of hugs and love from mom and dad, that Stan has had none and he’s going to need to catch up. It’s going to be hard on the girls to see the new kid get all the attention for a while.
This is all thinking short sightedly of course. If Jesus had thought short sightedly then he would have avoided the whole cross unpleasantness and we’d be in deep weeds. So we suck it up. we count the cost and we cast aside the allusions of grandeur and exaltation that we (I) might have had about the whole adoption process and realize that it’s parenting. It requires your whole life. So hang in there, Stan, wherever you are. You don’t know it yet, but I’m your papa.