From the time we decided to adopt I was a little concerned about the bonding aspect of adoption. Our new child wouldn't know me. He would be bonded to his caregivers. How long will it take for him to bond with me? Will my baby scream and cry for his previous caregiver? Would it be a hard transition for him? I hoped not. I prayed that bonding would be quick and firm. I bought a baby carrier and decided that I was going to hold my baby and wear him as much as possible in order to facilitate bonding. Like I was going to want to put him down anyways!
From the minute he was placed in my arms at 5 1/2 months he seemed to feel secure and safe. Rennie said he just stared at me like he already knew I was his Mom. Like he had been waiting for me. He just stared and stared and smiled. I was so thankful. In the first week I had to go to town often for various paperwork appointments reguarding the legal guardianship. I was so thankful for the Bijorn. Jeremiah constantly missed naps at home, but slept like an angel right up against my heart snug and secure with me in his little Bijorn carrier.
After only two weeks of being in Africa with my son we went on a trip to Masaka with the family we were staying with. I was sick for the a couple of days while we were there and Brenda kindly watched Jeremiah one day so I could nap and watch movies in bed while I rested my queasy stomach. Around 5pm Jeremiah reached his crabby time of day and I could hear him screaming from my room. I went out to see if he was okay and he immediately calmed as soon as I came into his view. Shelly said, "wow, he sure knows who Mom is already!" By only two weeks he had irrevocably claimed me as his own. I was so thankful!
A week later we had to take Jeremiah to The Surgery to have his visa medical testing. Part of it was having a TB test. For the test they inject something under the skin that forms a blister. I held him securely on my lap facing away from me, toward the nurse, while they administered the shot and cried right along with him because he didn't understand why I let them hurt him. As soon as they were done I turned him to face me and laid him on my chest to calm my sweet little boy who screamed hysterically with fright not understanding why I let them poke him. When he began to calm, I laid him on the bed to re-dress him and his little face turned red as he started to scream again, and for the first time ever he lifted his skinny little malnourished arms up to me and held them out, begging me to hold him and not let him go yet. I have never felt quite so loved in my life as I did in that moment when my tiny 9 pound six month old threw his wobbly arms up to me for comfort! I will never forget that moment as long as I live!!
When Mike came I had already had Jeremiah for nearly a month and I prayed that he would bond quickly with Mike as well. That first night we stayed up late into the night talking and were still awake when Jeremiah woke up for his 1am feeding. Mike went and picked the sleepy boy up from his crib and fed him his bottle. Jeremiah was so tired he didn't realize who was holding him until Mike turned him to burp him and he started to cry in protest at this stranger. I moved to his side and told him that he was fine and he decided that since he could still see his Mommy that this man must be fine and allowed Mike to rock him back to sleep. After that he never looked back! Mike was there every morning and all day with his Mommy and he accepted him faster than I ever imagined! The next day he napped on Mike's chest after a full day of traveling to Jinja for a little vacation and was perfectly happy to have his Daddy pick him up in the middle of the night when he cried for his nightly feeding. Now Mike is back home and when he calls us I put the phone to Jeremiah's ear every time so he can "talk" to Daddy. He gets so excited when he hears Mike's voice and smiles brightly looking around the room to see where his Daddy is hiding! I can't wait to bring him home and reunite our precious boy with his Daddy who loves him so much!
What made decide to write this post was going to the embassy last Wednesday for our visa appointment (crossing our fingers and praying they will grant his visa soon and finally let us go home!!!!!). Of course they scheduled our appointment for 2pm. We left at noon to make sure that even if we encountered traffic we would be there in time. Jeremiah normally naps from noon to three. He slept for about twenty minutes in the car and woke the moment I loaded him into his stroller. He sat happily in his stroller during the walk to the embassy and once we were inside he alertly checked out the new surroundings and flirted with people sitting close by. Once it was time for our 2pm appointment I wondered how my tired little man would hold up considering his 20 minute nap. About a half an hour into the interview he began to fuss and cry out of sheer exhaustion. Shelly took him and a bottle out to the waiting area to try to calm him. After he devoured the bottle he refused to be consoled no matter what Shelly did. I excused myself from the meeting long enough to step into the waiting room and relieve Shelly from her annoying little charge. As soon as he was in my arms he looked up at me and calmed himself, then curled up and fell asleep against me. It didn't matter that Shelly was doing the exact same thing. He just wanted Mom. I felt bad that he threw such a fit and refused to let Shelly comfort him, but at the same time I thought, "He knows who I am. My prayers were answered and he chose to bond himself to me and make me his own!"
Last night as I typed and chatted with friends online at 1am my typing disturbed him since we are sharing a room here in Africa. His eyes were still closed, but he began to fuss and squirm in his bed. I reached down and pulled the precious bundle into my arms and he immediately felt safe with Mom snuggled down and fell back into a deep slumber without ever opening his eyes. I am so thankful for this gift. That bonding was quick, and that he is so young he never remembers a time when I wasn't his Mom. He may fuss from time to time, have grumpy afternoon once in a while and puke on me twelve THOUSAND times a day, but there was never a more perfect child to be mine in the whole word and I am so glad that God hand picked him to be ours!