We get asked all the time how the transition is going, or how her attachment (to us) is coming. Sometimes people assume she is already bonded/attached to us, and ask if her transition WAS hard.
Well, the truth is that, of course, she has NOT bonded to us. She is getting used to us, probably likes us, and knows that we are taking care of her and meeting her needs right now, and maybe is even enjoying the one on one attention, but that is not a true familial bond.
It IS a big adjustment, and it it not easy at all. It is hard to know that this is best for Mackenzie, but it is causing her pain. And yes, I know she seems so happy. This is how she copes. She smiles and charms and flirts, and we love her smile, but we want her to be truly happy, and not just fake happy, because that makes people like her. Of course, we can’t tell her that, because she doesn’t understand. It is hard, people. We knew it would be hard, and it is.
It will be a long time before she is bonded to us, and trusts us. It would be silly to think that a child, any child, would bond in four weeks, or even in three months. True, she has been with us longer than four weeks, but the time in China, and even her first couple weeks here with us, don’t count, as she was in shock, and likely doesn’t remember that time. Sometimes even now, we see the glazed over look she consistently wore in China come back. When she is sad or upset, sometimes when she is just lost in thought, I see that glazed look come over her, and I know she is not with me anymore.
We have been in contact with an attachment therapist, and he has totally given me relief. I feel relieved from my expectations…of myself. I have been so worried about doing the right thing to promote attachment, and not ruin any bond we may have already formed. But the therapist gave me freedom. Freedom to stop worrying, and freedom to not question every action.
The truth is that we may START to see an attachment forming in a few months, or, it could be a few years. Both are normal, and neither one means that there is necessarily anything wrong. We believe with all of our hearts that Mackenzie will bond to us in her own time. It may be a while, and we know that it will be a process, but we are happy to just be with our girl, and love on her until it happens. What we know beyond a shadow of a doubt? This girl is so worth it.