1. Just because we were thrilled about our girls becoming part of our family did not mean they were thrilled. Our girls had suffered a DEEP loss. They lost their biological parents. Many of their siblings. Their home. Their grandmother. Their country. Their culture. And they were NOT thrilled about coming to a new family, a new home, a new country, a new culture. They were TERRIFIED and SAD, even though they did not necessarily show that on the outside.
2. Attachment takes TIME to build. Becoming part of our family did not mean that they felt a part of our family, that they belonged. They did not trust us to take care of them NO MATTER WHAT. They did not love us yet.
3. Our world would be turned UPSIDE DOWN for a long time. Of course I knew we were all in for a big change, but I would have never guessed that the transition would take as long as it did. My world was upside down. My husband's world was upside down. My biological sons' world was upside down. My adopted daughters' world was upside down. While we couldn't go back to our old "normal", it took time to adjust to and embrace our new "normal".
4. I needed to parent DIFFERENTLY. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my parenting skills were not working with my girls the way they had my boys. I had been confident in my parenting skills and felt armed with tools that worked with my biological boys. Those tools were NOT working with my adopted girls. It was time to get some new tools. Time to try new strategies.
5. It takes more than LOVE to help a child HEAL. From the moment I saw photographs of my girls, I knew they were a part of our family. I loved them before I ever saw them in person. For anyone who has met me, they know I love passionately. Deeply. But love was not enough to help my girls heal. It took more than that. It took consistency. Time. Meeting them where they are at. It took INTENTIONAL PARENTING.