Thursday, February 9, 2012

Deep in my Seoul

So, like I said the other day when we were catching up, we're in attachment therapy with both Max and Mia. What is this, you may be asking? Well, we go to a therapist who helps us learn to "attachment parent" which is a complicated way of parenting when your kids have a rocky start and may have some issues to sort through. Adopted kids fall into this category fairly frequently and as they've gotten older, we've seen behaviors that required we turn off our blinders and address them. When we were just starting our process with Max, we had to take these classes about parenting and adoption and they tell you about all the fun stuff that can go awry and about attachment and quite frankly it's all a little overwhelming because you haven't even gotten the kid yet so your brain kind of puts it somewhere and you go on about your day. You figure it probably won't happen to you because you're going to love the shit out of this kid and that they won't have issues. I mean, they're just babies and babies don't remember stuff, right?


Well, as we've come to know, babies DO remember, especially when they've dealt with stuff like foster homes, medical issues and being taken 6000 miles across the world where nothing and no one is familiar. As our therapist Oprah (not her real name) explains, all this stuff is stored in the nervous system and then it gets unleashed when you least expect it. For instance, birthdays can be difficult when you're adopted and we noticed that there was a 2 week period around Mia's birthday when she was totally out of sorts and acting like a huge jerk. I thought she was sick or something but she was fine, just sad and pissed off all the time. When I told Oprah about this, I asked if this could be her reacting to her birthday, although I didn't really think it was, and she said yes. Jeff and I rolled our eyes silently thinking that this lady was whackadoo and that there was no way Mia woke up, got out her Yahoo calendar and thought HOT DAMN IT'S MY BIRTHDAY. She is a BABY, not a robot. We talked on the drive home about how hard this concept is for us to grasp and that it was probably something else, partially because it does seem ridiculous and partially because we really didn't want it to be true.

However, I started to notice something in myself recently. I've been feeling this restlessness about the kids, like I'm obsessed with them knowing how much I love them and junk (they think I'm insane and wish I would leave them the hell alone) and I keep thinking about their birth moms and their foster moms and planning our fantasy trip back in my head and then yesterday my friend Connie sent me an article from Time Magazine about a girl going back to Seoul to find her birth mom and I lost it. I LOST MY SHIT FOR 30 MINUTES. I was sobbing and I called Jeff and he was like "um, are you okay, crazy wife?" because I was crying and babbling on about this article and how he should read it but not at work because he might do the ugly cry like I was but then I remembered that he isn't a lunatic and could probably handle it which he of course could and did. (If you're interested, it's,9171,997807-1,00.html. Grab a hankie.)

So what does all this gibberish mean, blog lady and why aren't you writing about something FUNNY? Well, my nervous system was remembering that it was a year ago today that we left for Korea to bring Mia home. I honestly knew it was coming up, I'm not that horrible, but it wasn't in the forefront of my brain but then it all made sense. On the surface when we talk about it, we talk about the fun stuff we did and seeing her and all that jazz but it had actually been so much more nerve wracking then it was with Max because we were clueless then and now we knew all the stuff that could go wrong and as we all remember, did go wrong, and it was also the first time I had that overwhelming feeling of dread knowing you were leaving your child. We had gone away for short trips but when we put Max to bed that night and I knew that I wouldn't see him again until we got home, after a 12,000 mile round trip, well all I can say is it felt like someone ripped all my insides out, threw them on the ground, stomped them like grapes and made human wine. Couple that with the issues we had in Korea and so yeah, I kinda get it now. Oprah isn't crazy after all and deep down your body does remember this stuff, especially when shit gets real, even if your brain pictures are showing you something different.


Kait said...

Marley has a tough time with life for a few weeks in November, around the time her mom gave her to us. She was 2 so that's totally old enough to remember but she still can't articulate why she struggles so much around that time. We're kind of keeping our eyes open to see if John has similar issues in the spring towards when we suspect his birthday is. It's something you never think about until those dots are connected and then you find yourself going "Holy shit. This is actually legit."

Amy, Jeff and the kimchis said...

That is so true, Kait. I swear, I rolled my eyes at most of this stuff but you just can't when your kid is in front of you doing something that you know isn't right. They need us to help them through it, you know?

Rebecca said...

Fascinating, Amy. Thank you for being so open and honest. And thanks for the warning about grabbing a hankie. Tears all over the keyboard.