Monday, August 27, 2012

The 1st Hour

So last week I did my pre-registration at the hospital for our son's birth.  I filled out a bunch of forms, answered a bunch of questions, was given a bunch of information, all while Nate ran the cars he had had in his pockets across this long couch.

It's been five and a half years since I last gave birth, so there were all sorts of new policies that the coordinator talked to me about...chord blood donation, new security measures, their recommendation that mom and dad and baby spend the first hour alone to bond...


First hour alone to bond.

She explained all the benefits of this, but honestly I don't know what she said.  I just kept watching my son run his cars across the couch.

First hour alone to bond.

I wondered how Nate spent his first hour.  Did someone take the time to hold him?  Or was he abandoned during that time...left with no one to bond with?  Either way, I wasn't there with him.  Not only was I not there for the first hour, but I wasn't there for the first 11 months.  That's what was going through my mind as the coordinator stressed how important that hour is.

I turned to her and told her we wouldn't be doing that.  Our plan is to have the older girls in there with us when I give birth, day or night.  And Nate and Lucy will be in the waiting room, day or night, waiting with their backpacks of puzzles and gummy bears.  And the second things are cleaned up, we will be bringing them in.

Nate's four.  He isn't thinking about these things.  He wouldn't care if we waited an hour.  But I can't do it.  I can't have him out there for that hour, so I can bond with his brother, because it is "so important", when I couldn't do that with him.  No, I want him there.  We are a family and we will bond as a family.

Go ahead, quote me all the research.  Send me articles on attachment for biological children and issues with attachment for adopted children.  I don't care.  What I care about is holding all my children close.  Celebrating our life as a family no matter how it comes together.  Whether that first hour is in a hospital room or an airport, I don't care.  What's important to me is that we emphasize that we are a family.

You know, my first hour with Nate was not easy.  My first two weeks with him were hard.  We had plenty of time alone together to bond.  And slowly, over time, I began to feel like I was his mom.  But the truth is that it wasn't until I got off that plane and into the arms of my husband and girls that it finally felt as though Nate really joined our family.  And oh, that ride home from the airport, when it was just the six of us.  Our girls all gitty and hungry and Nate snoring away in his carseat...oh how my heart swelled during that time.

Maybe if it was our first, I would get this.  Not so much because of the importance of bonding, but rather taking the time to acknowledge the new rest in that.  But our family isn't just me, Anthony, and baby Matthias.  Nope, we will be a family of seven and I can't wait for that moment when we can all be together.

I know in my dreams, when Nate and Lucy come in there, it will be a peaceful time of oohing and aahing and just loving one another.  Reality is that it will probably be more like "please don't touch that" and "no, you don't need to have more gummy bears".  Oh well, that's family.  And oh how I love it.

And hopefully, in the next few years, there will be another first hour, no less important to our family than the one we are about to have.  A first hour, in the car, on our way home from the airport...a family of eight.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What he is thinking.

So, Nate is now 4 and a half. It's a curious age. He seems to be changing so much every day...physically, verbally, cognitively...

And so it is happening. He is beginning to talk about his color.

I have been so curious as to how he would feel about being black in a predominately white family, not to mention how he will feel about being adopted. The adoption stuff comes up now in that he knows he didn't grow in my tummy, but rather in some other lady's in Rwanda, but it really isn't going beyond just his accepting that for now. But the color thing is beginning to pop up more and more and I can just see the little wheels in his mind turning.

So here is how it has been surfacing...

"Hey, that bear is brown like me." This is how things started with Lucy noticing Nate's color too.

"Mom, when will I stop being brown?" I have wondered if he has thought this because he is the youngest in our family and so thought he would eventually grow out of it.

"I need lotion on my legs because you like me brown, not gray." Putting lotion on him has always been a time when we have emphasized our love of his color.

"Why aren't all boys brown?" He has accepted that the girls and I aren't brown. He sees that daddy isn't brown and we have told him that his brother won't be brown, so you can see how he is trying to make sense of all of this.

"I know all people in Rwanda are brown." I think he needs to make a connection with someone and understands that that is a connection point for him.

"Hey, I like that big black guy!" Okay, so this happened yesterday at the grocery store. There was this black man (and yes, he was a big dude!) shopping while Nate and I were, and Nathan became obsessed with him. Every time he saw the man he pointed him out to me. At one point I asked him if he liked the man because he was black like him and he just said, "I don't know."

Another thing has been that he refers to his color as black (rather than brown) much more then the girls ever do...interesting, huh?

He is on quite the journey, this little man, and I have to say that it is such an honor to get to walk along with him.