Thursday, May 1, 2008

meet cj, he's radical for sure, just not RADical

cj is a cute, confident, fun, fearless, and witty eight-year-old daredevil and the world sees the real him. cj is also the extreme opposite of RAD. we're not sure how or why, but he formed a very secure attachment with us very quickly. he spent his first 20 months in a ukrainian orphanage with rotating caregivers, then we (strangers who spoke a different language) took him to a foreign country, so he should have issues. we were prepared for them, but he had none. only God could work that miracle. sometimes (when i'm feeling particularly selfish and sorry for myself) i think God set us up for what was to come later!
anyway, cj is cuddly, loving, affectionate, compassionate, emotional, and just completely anti-RADical. i vividly remember the bonding process with cj, and it literally took days. i remember pushing him in a cart in a store hugging and kissing on him and thinking wow, i really, really love this little boy and he really, really loves me. like it was yesterday. i think that's why dealing with my RADicals has been so hard. i remember that feeling so well and really thought it would be similar. i knew it would take longer as they were older, but wow, i didn't think it would take years. i can see the process happening still, so i know i'll have it one day!
the only issue we've had with cj is his self-control. self-regulation for those of you who also do the research. basically, when a baby cries, his mom comforts him and (1) lets him know it's okay to get upset, (2) shows him she still loves him when he does, and (3) teaches him how to calm himself down. when you have no parent (or a sucky parent), your brain doesn't learn how to calm down. so he gets riled up, hyper, excited, and isn't able to just calm down like he should. many notes home from kindergarten, and first grade, and second grade told us this. :) so i'm helping him take a deep breath and relax and hugging or rubbing his back (doing the baby mom part he missed) so that he'll eventually be able to do it himself as needed. all three kids need this, for the same reason of course.
we have no history for cj, so he has no bad memories to overcome or good memories to miss. he doesn't remember ukraine at all, although he loves to tell the stories we've told him. i'm sure that he'll have some identity issues in the future, because there are no answers, but for now, he's just happy that we found him. and so are we!