when bella came to live with us, she was nearly 3 months old. she lived with the most amazing people in a safe house in the eastern cape, where she was loved until she came to us. we did not know about her life, her birth, until 6 days before we picked her up.
bella was such a good baby. slept continuously. i remember wanting to wake her up so that i could hold her...hehe... i tried for 3 months to rock her to sleep with no success. she would wriggle and cry and try to push me away, as soon as i put her in the cot, she would fall asleep. (which, according to all the baby books, is perfect). but as an adoptive mama, who have never had a little baby, you want to hold your baby...you want her to want to fall asleep in your arms....
i surrendered and counted my blessings and many a day sat next to her cot, watching her sleep...wishing for the day that she will fall asleep in my arms.
about 5 months ago, we started to put bella with us in our bed just before bedtime. we would all read a story together, sing some songs, talk about our day and then it usually is the big cuddle. we've respected bella's need for no touch/space, also knowing how important it is to keep on touching her, continuously trying to cuddle.
during her afternoon nap she will go lie right on the other side of the bed. i've tried to keep contact, whether it is my fingers playing with her hair, my toes touching her toes, my arm on her arm... i would keep on touching, skin to skin, so that she can feel my presence, until she would shake my arm/foot off.
about 2 weeks ago she was quite unsettled and tried to lie as far as possible away from me. should she have moved any further, she would have fallen off the bed. this particular day, just after witnessing and taking this photo, my heart was literally breaking. i just want to hold her and love her. she refused any contact at all, started crying when i touched her, even with my toes.
i decided to let it go, lay down on my back and closed my eyes. prayed that she will soften this resistance for love.
i must have fallen asleep. when i opened my eyes a few minutes later, this was my view... my heart was beating faster and tears instantly ran down my cheeks.
the following week, i decided to ignore her, not even trying to touch her in any way and lay on my back with my eyes closed. a few minutes later, she came to me and was laying like this... it's magical... you don't want to move... or breath... you want to pause that moment for ever and re-live how she came to cuddle on your shoulder.
i've been pushing my luck with her the last 2 months. i can feel her energy when we go lie down and this specific day i just moved closer and closer... ended right here and she looked at me, turned the other way and fell asleep.
it is the most magical moments of all. being so close, without her resisting my love.
there are still days when i have to give her her space. but you keep on trying.
kellen is our cuddler galore. he is always laying with one leg over both of us and touching our face. although he is her hero, the cuddling thing, even with him, is sometimes too much for her.
i was talking with someone about this on which they replied and said that there were so many negative emotions surrounding her birth mom being pregnant with her, she is still protecting herself.
when i told them that she fell asleep in my arms, someone replied: aawww... she is allowing in all the love, she can now love you fully and let you love her fully back.
how true the above is, i will never know. but i would never have thought that it would take nearly 2 years for us to get bella to cuddle with us before she falls asleep. kellen came to live with us when he was 18 months old and grew up with a granddad that held him and tickled him constantly. kellen slept with him in his bed and from the beginning he wanted to lie with us in bed. i would have never imagined, having a baby from 3 months old, being able to cuddle with her will only happen 2 years later.
"Touching is a beautiful, connecting, survival-oriented,
heart-opening act, and we need to do more of it.
In touching each other with love, we are really touching God'.
(The Power of Touch, Phyllis K. Davis, PH.D.)