We spoke to Lifeline's social worker this week about Zihao. He's just not forming a strong attachement with Dean and I. He talks to the kids, plays with the kids but with us he's kind of lifeless and absolutely refuses to talk. Say "thank you"...? He just looks at us like we have 2 heads. Understandable...except he says it to the kids all day long.
When Dean's family left after spending 6 days here (and not giving him one on one attention as requested)...Zihao sat on the couch for 3 days, sad and crying. It was awful.
When we explained this to Lifeline she said this is sadly...too common of a story. She said our first step is to limit his time with our children. :( They can't help him, hug him, serve him, etc. We have to do that. 100%.
She said the next step is if this doesn't work then we have to keep him isolated. No taking him to the store, restaurant etc.
I told her I'm not that excited about labelling him as RAD (reactive attachment disorder) b/c it's too commonly thrown around in the adoption world ... and honestly not sure how labeling has helped anyone in life. She said she was excited to hear that as she agrees. We do want to help him and love him and nurture him but not label him.
We know he has attachment issues but we also believe he will be a healthy, thriving child very soon.
She said regarding his sadness for 3 days after family left that she does see that and it's because he was assuming that since new people came...they were likely his new family and he was going home with them in his mind. It's so sad to see the turmoil that must be in his little mind to not yet understand we are his forever family.
So it's day 2 of implementing these changes and while he's definitely not talking...he's smiling. :)
Taizi...we are now feeding him by holding him. This is a bit of a big deal as he clearly has never had it yet it's so essential for bonding and attachment. He fights b/c he want to be on the floor holding his bottle himself. He gives no eye contact but we have to cover the bottle or else he just crosses his eyes and stares at it. So today...I wish it was video'd...I had to put one hand behind my back or he squeezes the bottle and often bursts it open all over his face. So one had was behind my back and I was holding him in an infant, rocking position. The other hand was on his bottle. Then I put my hand over the top of the bottle and kind of touching his face. I was in shock. He relaxed and stared into my eyes the entire time! This is such huge progress...that 95% of me wants to think it's fluke. Except it was about 7 minutes and never looked away.
An update on feeding...We now can do his entire jar of baby food via syringe in the morning for breakfast. I got chills typing that b/c most of you have no idea just how far he has come. It's nothing short of amazing. Then we give him a bottle of formula. We do have to buy more bottles so we can use them properly with the valve without cutting the top of it ... b/c simple milk or formula is too thin to go in it the way it is.
We had a big moment last night when Dean, again, was helping Taizi go up the stairs. All of a sudden...he picked up his left leg and fully climbed those stairs holding Daddy's hand. I'll get a video of it...seriously...amazing.
I had an incredible moment the other night reading in Matthew...I'll write about it later when we have more time.
Dean told me he has a new favorite song the other day...and played it for me. I love it. Love...it. It really puts into words the way we feel about every day right now.
Take a moment and listen: (the video is a little quirky but read the words and listen...)