Facing firsts: overnight visitors

This Friday evening our church is hosting the Watoto Children’s Choir. There is much excitement buzzing around and our girls are really looking forward to the concert.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the Watoto choirs, here is a link to their website: www.watoto.com

In our wisdom, Mr Six and I spoke to our girls and we decided to offer to host two of the children with a chaperone. The girls were excited. Big Girl had agreed to forego her bedroom. They had seen clips of the choir and were excited to meet them on more personal terms.

In the twenty one months since Little Legs came home, we have not had anyone stay overnight in our house. Other than her three local cousins who have done maybe three sleepovers at our house in that time.

This is on the advice of social workers and other adoption professionals given throughout our adoption process and in the months since. Attachment and her knowing who is allowed in our space is really important for Little Legs’ settling into our family. And twenty once months is still a very short period of time.

My adopter and attachment aware friends will no doubt know where this account is going!

Yesterday, Little Legs woke up in a difficult mood. She was grumbling at everyone, refusing to eat her breakfast, objecting loudly to the clothes I had put out for her, ticcing away, and so on.

Knowing that there was clearly something rumbling around below the surface, I put on my favourite herapeutic parenting hat and I wondered…

“Little Legs?

Yes Mummy?

I wonder if you’re feeling nervous about having some of the choir children come to stay in our house on Friday?

*nodding*

I wonder if it’s a bit strange thinking that we don’t know them, yet we’re letting them sleep in Big Girl’s room?

*nodding*”

So we chatted for a few minutes and I wondered why it hadn’t crossed my mind before that it may be a sticking point for us all!

We put on a video of the choir singing to show her (and her sisters) what the concert would be like and what some of the songs might be.

They loved it! The dancing, the singing, the music, the cheering, the audience participation.

Fully aware that this would not be the end of the fizzing anxiety, I made a mental note to keep my therapeutic hat close by…

About half an hour later, Little Legs came in crying over an apparent dispute with Little Bud. I asked her what had happened and in no uncertain terms she  said to me that she was very cross that I had invited people to come and stay at our house on Friday. That the children should just go home to their homes to sleep.

I tried to explain that the children’s homes are a long aeroplane flight away and that they couldn’t possibly fly home after every concert!

And that the best thing we could do is to offer to help by inviting them into our friendly home.

She demanded to know why their parents hadn’t booked them Travelodge rooms to stay in!

And so we entered into the conversation about orphans. About the Watoto village where the children live in small family groups with a house parent.

About them being similar to foster homes.

“Like X and Y (Little Legs’ foster parents)?

Yes, sweetheart.

Ah ok Mummy.

Can they come and stay at our house then?”

It will be a difficult few days, no doubt. But we are so very proud of our girls tackling difficult things head on. So very proud of the big hearts they have.

And on Saturday, when we have waved the choir off to their next destination, we will be deep in recovery mode. Giving Little Legs plenty of time and space and physical contact to reorientate to our regular family life.

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