Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kendi Mae Update

She likes to practice dressing, and has taken a liking to an old pacifier we had laying around.
She likes to sit at the school desks and "do" school. Taevy used her own money to buy her Highlights magazines.

It's been, what? A whole five days since I posted a Kendi update? I figured it was high time! :-)

I've given up on the whole idea that she is going to at some point melt down and have major adoption-related rages that last for 3 hours a time. Nope. That's not how this chicka does it. I actually sort of wish that I did see some grief. I'd be much more comfortable and less paranoid if I saw some good old fashioned adoption grief.

She seems to do just AWESOME at home. She communicates her needs perfectly. She plays with her siblings. She loves on everybody. She is still her little spoiled diva self who expects everybody to give her what she wants, but her fits last just long enough for her to figure out that we're not going to cater to her. She eats pretty much anything we put in front of her, but plain white bread with peanut butter is the favorite. With all this eating you'd think she would have gained weight, but she's still hanging on at around 21 pounds. Tiny but mighty, this one!

She is speaking more English (in the cutest little Ghanaian accent!) all the time. Today she made the sign for "drink" and I said, "Well, where' your cup?" She looked at me, shrugged her shoulders and said clear as day, "I don't know!" Most of the time she talks in full gibberish sentences with one key word like "sissy" or "daddy" or "eat" thrown in. She can tell whole elaborate stories (that we understand!) with her gibberish stories. It's hilarious. And of course she and Bright have absolutely no communication problems. I don't think they even realize that they don't speak the same language.

We are convinced that the decibel level in our house is three times louder than it was before Kendi came home. The child is LOUD! She has this tiny, high pipsqueak voice when she's just talking to you, but she can YELL when she wants your attention or wants to tattle on one of the kids! Plus, she and Bright are always talking, whereas Bright didn't used to have someone so close in age to jibber jabber with.

The only thing is that she doesn't seem to be at all attached to us. She loves us. She does great with us. But she'd toss us to the side for the newest family in town the first chance she got! The other day we were with Eric's parents at the kids' football game. After the game there was an awards ceremony. We had to drop things off at our individual cars. Kendi happened to be with the grandparents. She walked off with them to their car without a second look back at us. Ugh.

It's definitely a different sort of attachment situation than we've seen with the other three. When it's just us at our house there are no attachment red flags. It's weird. I guess it will just take time.

Still...we adore her. She digs us. She's a keeper!

P.S. I almost forgot the most important part of the update! Her hair is growing! It's really growing!!!! We're a long way off from any sort of style, but I can almost put a bow in it now! LOL!


Amy 8:05 PM  

Always good to get an update! I so enjoy hearing about your journey and how Miss Kendi is doing. I also think you are so great at being in tune with what is happening in regard to attachment. You are such a wonderful example for adoptive parents in so many ways.

Love ya girl,

Laurel 8:46 PM  

So happy for you and your family ... that the transition has gone so well.



whenpigsfly 10:04 PM  

I can't wait to meet her Anita! Glad things are going well. Our Esther , (a bio,) was the one we called our "Go everywhere girl" because she would do just like Kendi...if someone was going somewhere, she wanted to go too, and would take every opportunity to. She loved everyone and everyone loved, STILL LOVES her.Like her daddy she just does not know a stranger. Might be some attaching that still needs to happen, but she may be your social butter fly too!

FullPlateMom 6:00 AM  

Hi Anita,
We had the meltdowns. They didn't last three hours, but they were doozeys, probably about an hour at their worst.

Now we have the exact same thing going on that you do. Joe and I are alright when Juliana needs an adult, but if someone else is there, she will go to them too. No problems, no hesitations, just a "see ya" and she's gone. I think it will just take time to learn to trust that we're really here to stay. I'm looking forward to seeing hoe Kendi does. She and Juliana have the same diva-like personality. And, isn't it amazing that even with limited english, tattling is never a problem.

waitingarms 11:50 AM  

Glad to hear things are going so well with Kendi. Our 20-month old daughter seems just like Kendi – she is also a Ms. Diva, Ms. Social butterfly and all around Ms. Charming – she has never met a stranger. I think she will be a politician. We were worried that she was not attaching to us because she could just as easily have walked away with the milkman! The issue was more pronounced because her twin brother is the opposite – he is tied to my hip or wants to have my husband and I in his line of vision at all times! It took my daughter five months being home for her to finally start crying when we left her with family members (who she knows) for us to have a date night. Now that makes this mommy’s heart happy though I am not sure the family members can figure out why I am smiling when my daughter is crying and trying to reach out for me as I am leaving! She is a little busy one and has finally started letting us cuddle with her for more than five minutes! So, the preference for Kendi’s family will come in time and I also think it is also part of their personality! I am sure even if our daughters were our bio children, from your description of Kendi - both our girls would just be as happy going away with anyone who smiles at them!


Proverbs31Wife 2:30 PM  

Hi Anita,

Do you do anything (other than family things) to promote additional attachment with Kendi. I was just curious. Like carrying her in a baby sling or anything? I am new to your blog, so you may have posted this before. But we have a 4 year old coming home, and I am trying to key in on attachment ideas for children who are not babies anymore! Thanks!
Shauna @

In His Dust 3:32 PM  

Girl! She seems JUST like Madi!! And I mean JUST like her! This is the exact same thing that Madi has done. She has this Social Butterfly attitude. She USED to go to just about anyone. Gave everyone hugs and kisses, etc. But, Madi seemed to be completely attached in every other way. After a year now she is much more hesitant to go into preschool and Sunday School. Like, she wants to stay with me and then when she is in there she is fine and has loads of fun! So, I think that shows even more attachment to us. Now I don't see any attachment related issues going on with her on the outside! Which I praise God for. He has given her comfort and it is sufficient! Also, maybe the easy attachment is a Ghanaian Diva Social Butterfly thing!=)

A. Gillispie 10:57 PM  

Thanks ladies. Kendi is sort of an odd duck, because she doesn't totally fit the mold for a "social butterfly" either. She doesn't just go to anybody. But once she makes friends she will go with that person without a second thought. The exception is guys--she will go to most men right of the bad without a second thought.

One of you said it! I will be so happy the first time she gets seperation anxiety!!! LOL!

Proverbs31Wife--We do attachment parenting with Kendi. She sleeps either in our bed or in a pack-n-play next to our bed. We don't allow any caregivers except parents or siblings. After several months we'll allow grandparents to do caregiving for a short time. I wear her in a sling when we are around people (i.e. church) so that nobody is tempted to ask to hold her! We allow her things like bottles (when we are holding her) and pacifiers. We spoon feed her often, even though she's capable of feeding herself. Basically, we want to do everything we can for her even though she's capable of doing things for herself. We want her to know we will provide for all of her needs.

Our 9 year old daughter has/had attachment issues that we didn't recognize for over a year. We didn't do attachment parenting with her and it's one of our great regrets. So we are pretty careful with our kids now. We assume there will be attachment issues, and then celebrate if we're wrong or when the child moves past them!


Awo 4:41 PM  

Anita, I'm glad things are going well. I'm not sure from what you posted what the attachment issues are with Kendi, since you say she doesn't just go with anybody. It would be considered an attachment issue in my extended family culture if my children ONLY wanted to be with me. I guess it depends on what is considered an attachment issue. Is the goal for her to ONLY want to be with you?

A. Gillispie 8:42 PM  

Awo, I don't think Kendi has attachment issues, exactly. She's just not attached. I don't think many children can be attached in only a month, although they could be working towards a healthy attachment. I don't have any reason to believe Kendi isn't working towars a normal healthy attachment.

The goal is for Kendi to see Eric and I as her primary caregivers, and for her to trust us over strangers. That isn't happening yet. After a few minutes she would walk off with a stranger and stay with them. I don't think she would necessarily miss us or think "I need to go back to my familiy."

It would be an equally telling behavior if Kendi was scared to death of going with anybody else. That's "anxious attachment." It's another place on the attachment continuum. It's not our goal for her to be overly clingy and have major seperation anxiety. "Anxious attachment" is higher on the attachment continuum, but is not a very healthy form of attachment. Our daughter Taevy is sort of stuck on anxious attachment.

We hope that Kendi will eventually be fully attached--showing appropriate affection AND fear to strangers and friends, and knowing in the deepest depth of her being that we (her nuclear family) are the ones she can count on forever.


Awo 6:57 AM  

Ah, I understand better what you meant about Kendi's attachment. From what you describe, it sounds like she's on her way to forming a secure full attachment, and it will happen over time. I'll pray for that as I continue to celebrate with you how well things are going.

Take care.