During a recent nap in our guest room, the hubby came in and flopped himself next to me.
The hubby and I were both exhausted but I told him to go find his own hiding spot before T found me and ended my quiet alone time.
After that moment, I thought with amusement about how wonderfully secure the two of us have become in our relationship with T.
When we started our adoption journey – over a decade ago – we were required to take mandatory PRIDE (Parent Readiness for Information, Development and Education) courses.
These courses prepared potential adoptive parents about issues adopted children face, including grief, trauma and attachment.
First off, we are so blessed that T had a great start to his life.
Yes, he encountered trauma in utero with his birth mother’s alcohol and drug use – actions that’ll have a lasting impact on his life.
But T had a loving stable first year of life with just one foster family – adopted children often go through multiple homes before finding their forever home (and sometimes not!) – who were just incredible.
I was also blessed to take a 30-week adoption leave and spend those key months building a bond with T. How I miss those early days.
I would say that attachment was, for the most part, not a big issue for us but there was certainly a period for me of feeling insecure as a parent.
When T was 2, about a year into living with us, we went through a period where he went back and forth in favouring Daddy (the hubby) over Papa (me).
Not that it was ever a competition, but I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t nice or enjoyable when I was the centre of his attention.
Vice versa, it was never fun when I would try to console him, pick him up, carry him, or play with him and he’d scream loudly, “I want Daddy!”
It was the absolute worst when it was always in public or in the company of family and friends.
I remembered feeling so annoyed whenever my mom would make comments like the hubby seemed like a better parent. Again, Asians have that no filter bluntness!
It is a healthy and normal part of a child’s development to favour one parent or another.
I know, because I read up about it just to not feel bad about myself!
Over time, those insecurities proved to be silly, because there is no doubt now in the hubby and my minds that T loves us and is securely attached to us both.
The nice thing about a child’s love is that it doesn’t have to be the same with each parent.
I often think how wonderful it is that he has and will continue to develop unique relationships with the hubby and I.
The hubby is who he likes to build things with and goes to fix his things, who he rough houses with, who he specifically likes to push him on swings, who he enjoys candies and sweets with.
I am the go-to for help with school work, to read books with before bedtime, who takes him to the pool, and pretend play in forts with as his imaginary Paw Patrol friend Everest.
The best parts are the favourite activities we enjoy as a family – like playing chase, the four hand tickles, walks around the neighbourhood, nature hikes, summer road trips and Taco Bell nights.
Fast forward a few years, we now appreciate our own time and space more than ever, especially during these pandemic days.
We desperately crave those early days when T would tell us he wants the other parent… for like the next week! The irony!
And sure enough that day in the guest room, T found both the hubby and I in my preferred hiding spot.
He climbed up on the bed and plopped himself right in between us.
Soon enough, T found himself laughing and cackling in the middle of the four hand tickles.