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A Milestone

November 12th, 2007

Today is an important milestone – at least in my mind. As of today, Sabrina has been with me as long as she away from me. She spent 7 months with her foster family and I picked her up 7 months ago today. Why have I been waiting to reach this milestone? It doesn’t make her more my daughter. It doesn’t make me feel more legitimately her mom. Guilt over missing so much of her early life? Maybe. For whatever reason, this is the milestone I’ve been anticipating most. Not her being home for 6 months or home for a year or her first Christmas with us or getting her TN birth certificate – just the day that I know she has been with me longer than she wasn’t.

I think of that first week in Antigua often. As she becomes more attached and bonded with me, I realize how hard that first week was for her. She was fine the first 2 or 3 days and then she seemed to realize Maria (her foster mom) wasn’t coming back and she was stuck with this tired white woman who spoke a weird language and couldn’t sing worth a damn. For the next week or so, Sabrina seemed uneasy with me. She didn’t cry a lot and wasn’t difficult, except when it came to sleeping, but there was a general sense of unease. We didn’t fit and move together yet. There was a clumsiness about our interactions. She slowly started to relax as she realized that while I couldn’t sing, I would get her bottles and change her diapers and avoid dropping her on her head. At the time, I told people how easy going she was and how the transition was mostly smooth but looking back with the knowledge of how things progressed, it wasn’t as easy as I thought for her. She didn’t sob and grieve the way other some babies did – but she wasn’t sure what she thought of me or the situation. She didn’t know me or trust me. She gazed at me out of curiosity and confusion not out of love or bonding. But we made it through. We found our rhythm and most days I feel great about our bond. (Like any adoptive mom, I have days where I question her behaviors and wonder if we are back pedaling in the attachment department.)

But here we are at the day I have been waiting for and I wonder why I thought it was so important. Today feels like every other day. Sabrina woke up smiling and saying “Mama” like every other day. (Okay, some days she wakes up smiling and saying “Puppy” but let’s just pretend it is always mama.) We are going to meet up with some moms at Starbuck’s and have some coffee. Then we will come home and take a nap. I guess these arbitrary dates on the calendar don’t matter that much after all.

This entry was posted on Monday, November 12th, 2007 at 9:37 am and is filed under adoption. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

23 Responses to “A Milestone”

  1. Andrea Says:

    I think that’s a wonderful milestone. You know, I think that most of us sometimes forget attachment is a two-way street. You’ve loved Sabrina from the first day you saw her pictures, but it takes months to form an attachment. It sounds like you’re both finding your way more and more each day. And I am glad that we all get to be a part of it!

    Enjoy the Starbucks! I could go for some right now…*sigh*

  2. Tessie Says:

    Congratulations! You’ve both done great.

  3. Julie P Says:

    Wow – as Ally gets closer to her 1 year birthday I too am more anxiously anticipating when she hits 14 months, I had her forever at 7 months too. I think Andrea is right – that it has more to do with us as moms than for our kids. Enjoy your day.

  4. TNKerry Says:

    Congratulations!!! I agree it’s a big milestone.
    I, too, have noticed that looking back on CiCi’s transition it wasn’t as easy for her as I realized. Now that I really know and understand her personality, I see how cautious, curious, and confused she was with me and how much she has blossomed into her real self in the months since she has been home.
    oh, and you reminded me – I need to start working on that TN birth certificate…

  5. carla Says:

    why did this phrase CRACK ME UP?

    tired white woman


  6. Tera Says:

    A very cool milestone!

    Sometimes I feel guilty about missing so much of Emma’s baby time…but, mostly I feel sad. I know intellectually that Emma is 12 months old but sometimes I don’t think of her as being “12 months old”…just because I have spent 6 months with her vs. 12 months (if that makes sense). I think that I will always have some sense of loss because I did not get to spend more time with Emma as a small baby. Thank God for those visit trips…truly…they at least gave me some sense of who she was at such a young age…priceless.

    Enjoy your day! God bless.

  7. Melissa Says:

    It is important. I have a way to go for that kind of milestone for my kids, but I bet it will be just as special. congrats. Youre doing great.

  8. Bobbi Says:

    The date is important. I too understand the “dates”.

    Joe and I were going through some pictures last night of our first days, weeks, months, (soon we will be saying years!), and we talked about how we THOUGHT that he was doing well, but looking back he was the same way as Sabrina. He didn’t cry and cry, but he has this glazed look. He gets that now around crowds and strangers.

    Enjoy your day. It is a special, even if only to you.

  9. Type (little) a Says:

    I think about dates in this way too. I’m not looking forward to the “Ducky has been in Daycare longer than she was home with me” milestone coming up in June.

    At all.

    At least your milestone is an AWESOME one.

  10. katie Says:

    That is exactly how the twins were in the beginning ! Isn’t it amazing to look back and see how far we have come !!??

  11. Kim Says:

    I’m with everyone else. Alex had a fairly smooth transition but I see now that he was cautious with us and it took awhile. (and don’t get me started on the – is this an attachment problem, or normal toddler behavior discussion!!)

    Congrats on a very special milestone!!!

  12. Alleen Says:

    It’s always great to be able to see how far they’ve come. Gabriella did have some obvious attachment issues and she has come a long way.

    Congrats on the big day!

  13. Jenny Says:

    Celebrate all of those little/big days. It’s part of what makes relationships so meaningful

  14. Aileen Says:

    I loved this post! It reminds me again that just because I already love my daughter doesn’t mean it will be easy when she comes home. It also gives me hope that everything will eventually seem normal again!

  15. Kerri Says:

    What a great milestone. It’s one I think about a lot as we have a couple of more months to go. Even if today does feel like every other day, it’s still a good day to celebrate.
    Kerri and Ruby

  16. starfish Says:

    Congratulations! I totally get why this was an important milestone for you.

  17. teri Says:

    I remember that day when Emilio was with us longer than he was in Guatemala. I was just revisiting attachment again myself—he is 17 months old. He now is just saying mama. I was in his room putting away his clothes and I heard him looking for me saying mami, mami? So quiet and sweetly. He clings to my legs daily. He now gives us kisses just because. I feel more attached and real with him this month, than I have the whole rest of the time. It’s like I am so in love with him. I remember thinking does he even think I’m ok?

  18. Ansley Says:

    We celebrated that same milestone. I’m also not sure I could say why it seemed important, but the waiting to get her was so hard it felt like we needed some sort of acknowledgement or ritual to put it behind us. You know, it’s funny hearing your description of your first weeks with Sabrina because it sounds very similar. We were, of course, thrilled to get our daughter home but when I look back at pictures from that time it’s hard to say who looks more shell shocked– us or her? Now that we know her better and she knows us better, the smiles in our pictures reach our eyes and it shows.

    I think that one good mark of attachment is that you can look back and see a real difference. We didn’t have any of the obvious or more difficult issues that so many have and we felt really lucky; it doesn’t mean that she was anywhere close to attached though. She probably just grieved more quietly too. We’ll probably always be checking our attachment “temperature” like all worried adoptive parents, but feeling that difference between then and now deep down in our bones really helps. Thanks for this post.


  19. Maggie Says:

    Congratulations. That is an important milestone.

  20. kelly Says:

    congrats…this is a big day indeed. While I didnt notice THE DAY miss K had been home longer than in Guat…I did notice the month…and it was a big milestone for us, too.

    I won’t even GET INTO that first week with her…yikkkkkkkkes. Even though we are dealing with issues now…it is so much different than before.

    Thanks for the great post. Made me think a little about how much better things are here now…

  21. Samantha Says:

    we were also just calculating that milestone last night. i think we have another few weeks. it is a big big deal for us. we are where we hoped we’d be, and i am so grateful.

  22. Nancy Says:

    I know EXACTLY what you mean I have been counting down too!!
    It seems like such an important milestone for me too, only 2 more weeks and we will pass that time. I think it is just a mental milestone but one I have been waiting for 🙁

  23. Crystal Says:

    (Sorry this comment is coming so late, but this every day blogging everyone is doing has got be behind)

    I just wanted to say Congrats. It may feel like a normal day, but I think the milestone is still huge–it is a wonderful signifier of your lives together and it is all yours.

    Our milestone is coming up on Thanksgiving–the day Melia will have been with us longer after transplant, with her new liver, than before. It might sound silly to other people, but for me it is a huge thing, and one I will be so thankful for.

    Maybe that’s what the milestones mean after all–things might be average and normal and often frustrating, but the thankfulness, oh the thankfulness…

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