Tuesday, May 17, 2011

go with the heart

As our travel to China approached, I was a bit obsessed with reading books about adoption. Adoption and attachment, sleep, and eating.


Then we met Grace.

I've read them all. I have. But, when she was finally with us. It was time to throw the books out the window and go with the heart.

That first week in China. She slept. It was GREAT. Other families in our travel group were fighting with the kids to get them to go to sleep, to get them to stay asleep, to have them sleep soundly (mind you... they were all older than Grace). I was feeling blessed. We were sleeping.

Then we came home.

Then she had surgery.

Now we are not.

Sleeping, that is.

Our three biological children have never spent one single night in our bed. They have slept in their own rooms, in their own beds since they were about 8 weeks old and we moved them from the bassinet next to our bed to their crib in their room. And none of them every looked back.

But, we also never even gave attachment and bonding a thought. Why would we?

I knew parenting Grace was going to have to be a different. Sleep arrangements would be one of them.

So, for the first two months home, Grace's crib sat just feet from our bed. We would lie with her to go to sleep. We picked her up and cuddled her with every peep she made. and... we let her snuggle up close to us in the middle of the night when it was quite obvious she wasn't going back to sleep in the crib. alone.

Recently, we moved her crib to her room. She has adjusted to going to sleep on her own without us laying with her or patting her on her back.

But she doesn't STAY asleep.

And here is where I have to just...

let. it. all. go.

Here I have let my heart lead me.

My heart says...

Hold her.

My heart says....

let her sleep WHEREVER she is most comfortable.

My heart says....

I am grateful that comfort to her means... sleeping between the two people who LOVE her the most in the world.

My heart says....

I will NOT regret this. Ever.

I spent 5 1/2 LONG months with a picture of Grace by my bed. It was the last thing I looked at when I went to sleep at night. and the first thing I saw as I rolled out of bed in the morning.

So, if I have to spend the next two years or more with this little one making our bed seem oh-so small....

I will remember the five long months when I saw her face but couldn't smell her.

When I memorized every crease and dimple of her chubby cheeks, but couldn't hear her breathe.

When I dreamed silent dreams of her... dreams where I saw her face, but never did she make a noise because I couldn't imagine what her voice sounded like.

I will let my heart lead me.

Forget the books.

Forget the blogs.

Forget the fears.

Just go with your heart.

In the end, this is what adoption is all about. Actually, that is what being a Mom is all about.


  1. You are right! Yes, now I am crying....this is so true.

  2. I LOVE your heart!
    What's wrong with being exhausted, or breaking the 'standard' rules, if it means your child feels love and bonding.
    Adoption has it's own rules - remember no expectations!
    Can't wait to have my own little one in my bed!

  3. thank you for the post. we are in the same boat...still making our bed small, but its oh so good for attachment, and helps oh so much. And I remind myself it wont be forever. every time i think about the transition Lily gives some sort of sign that it is not time yet. glad to hear we aren't the only ones.

  4. My sister will be four in June and she slept with my parents for the first four months. She is now in her toddler bed by the side of their bed and will stay there until she has been home a year.

  5. Deb, this is so true and so sweet! Could we repost it on WAGI? We've already posted one of yours, correct? If so, we just need you permission and we'll use your pic and bio from before.