I quickly walked up the steps at the church where our daughter attended her first day of preschool. I knew deep inside that she had had a great day — and that she was going to love school. Brielle ran to me and hugged me the moment she saw me. Her teacher told me about her really great day. Per the norm, everyone there instantly loved her. Her smile and laugh are contagious. She’s a fun kid.
Right before I left, the teacher said one more thing. “It was so funny. Brielle was really confused because she ran up to me, hugged my leg, and called me mom.” The teacher rightfully and innocently laughed at how cute it was.
However, one of my fears as an adoptive mom has been that my child wouldn’t attach to me and would call any woman in authority “mom.” That morning, I forced a smile while holding back the fact that one of my biggest fears as an adoptive mom was happening. This wasn’t a scenario in a book or video. This was real life.
What Most People Don’t Know
Before we stepped off of the plane from China, I had no idea the level of concerns and questions surrounding attachment that would swirl through my head.
Is it normal for every meal to take hours? And is it normal for kids to call their teachers mom? Is it normal for a child to tap on the leg of the Publix delivery lady to get her attention so that she can grab her hand to give her a tour of our home?
The answer is that I don’t know.
I find myself staring into Brielle’s dark brown eyes and searching to see how she is doing. It’s like I believe there is something in her eyes that will tell me if she’s healthily attaching or not.
Growth Through Fears
Here’s what happened in the days following as my dramatic reaction faded and my brain could normally process what had happened:
I believe God used one of my fears to usher me into a place where I could simply seek Him and what He had for me through this experience. And God used this as a reminder that He put me into Brielle’s story at the time that He did — and for a purpose. I believe she is ultimately His little girl.
God has used Brielle’s life to teach this mom so much.
Our family doesn’t have to figure it all out right now. It’s OK to not have the answer to every attachment question that creeps into our minds. We do our best to attach and bond every day through educating ourselves, seeking counseling, and living in close community with other adoptive families.
The day Brielle called her teacher mom has led to days of growth for me. It is just like God to work through my fears to help me see that it will all be OK.