Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Attachment Progress

Oh, the dilemmas of what to share.

How much should I keep to myself in the name of privacy? How much to share in the spirit of keeping it real?

Anyone who has adopted or is close to someone who has knows and understands the issues behind attachment and bonding in adoption.

It is very real and very key to the child's adjustment and even future relationships.

This is why we have tried to be very careful with their interaction with others outside our home.

I feed them.
I bathe them.
I dress them.
I gift them.
I reward them.
I "potty" them.
I rock them.
And I (and hubby) hold them.

*I* am trying to teach them that I am different.
I am not just a mama.
I am the mama.
I will always be here.
I will always be safe.
I can always be trusted.

Jonathan loves to be held by me. He loves to be rocked by me. He loves to curl up in my lap, suck his little thumb, and have his back rubbed.

He loves to rub my hair, give me kisses, and call me mama.

But he would do the same to you.

Or the elderly lady on the street. I promise. It has happened. :)

So we have a long way to go with him.

But that is ok. We will go that long way.  He is worth it.

Josiah is a little different. You see, he seems to have had a wonderful, caring foster family before he came to our family. He knew love. He knew a "mama" who helped him learn what a family is like.

Josiah seems to understand, as much as he can, that we are his. He understands that I am the mama. But his affection towards me has been very slow.

Very, very slow.

I mean, he wants me to feed him. He wants me to help him. He even prefers my assistance in the bathroom. (go figure) And he cries for me when he gets hurt. And he when goes to bed, he wants me right there.

But physical affection? Not so much.

I can count on some good holding time when he wakes up and when I wrap him up in a towel after bathtime.  Or when he gets a boo boo.  Other than that?  He manages to wiggle down and find something else to do. 

So imagine my delight when tonight, after I helped him get his very favorite footie pajamas on, he spontaneously threw his little arms around my neck and gave me his first Josiah-initiated, spontaneous neck hug! 

Thank you, Lord.  We are making progress.


Laine said...

It's a journey, for sure! You are doing a wonderful job, momma! Thank you for sharing...I will be calling YOU for advice when we come home with our two! ;)

Shonni said...

I really want to encourage you as you walk your journey with your son. I experienced what you mentioned here with our daughter, who is now 11. I teasingly said that I was teaching her “what” a mother was and really that was the truth. And it took time. I had to ask some family and friends to give us time and “space” till she knew the truth of having one mommy that was never going to leave.
I guess I could write a post on this...LOL
If you want to chat further, feel free to email me!

Jill said...

How sweet! The fact that it's going slow will make each and every success so special!

jhand said...

We have had both of those experiences. Our first was fostered and took a long time to warm up to me. Our second would go to anyone for attention and affection (spent more time in SWI). In both cases, time and staying the course of providing all their needs all the time until they "know" you are their family, worked (or is working) for us. Of course prayer is always helpful!!