Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bonding


One of the things written in Kadens file that had me worried was they had mentioned there being a concern about him being able to bond. We would, after all, be his 4th placement in his 16 months of life and the more moves the child has made the more the experts tend to worry about the child’s ability to bond. I honestly do not think we have a problem at all, as a matter of fact, Kaden has initiated skin on skin contact already and that is such a good sign. At first it seemed sort of funny to us, he loves to rub our arm and his favorite thing yet (especially when he is tired) is to lay his face on my tummy.
But what I really wish is that I could just push a magic button and make Kaden know, without a doubt, that we are his forever family- that he has nothing to fear, that we are not going anywhere- EVER. But there is not magic formula (or button) and it takes time - sometimes plenty of it. Furthermore, bonding is not a one way road and it cannot be forced.
Bonding, or the sense of belonging together, is vital for any child- but especially an adopted child. It takes work and absolute commitment. Bonding creates within the child a sense of confidence and a positive attitude that I believe is the most important thing of a child’s life. Touch is absolutely essential for bonding. Yet many parents don’t know how to initiate touch and feel awkward about it.
Healthy touch with good boundaries is the best way to communicate to your child, especially if your child is too young to speak or spoke a different language. The beautiful thing about touch is that it is universal- it transcends language. I remember being at the orphanage in Guatemala and every child CRAVED being touched and held.
Here are a few things that we have done with our adopted children- that most experts recommend to help enhance and secure bonding with your adopted child:
1. Brushing Hair-This can be a great and easy way to spend time with a child. It also involves a touch and nurturing.
2. Schedule/Routine-Routine is so important for an adopted child to help them feel they have a little bit of control in their world that has been turned upside down. Also, it helps the child to know what to expect next and gives them security in their future.
3. Lotioning-Applying lotion to a child's hands and feet can also be part of a bedtime routine. Children of color will benefit from having lotion applied to their legs, arms, face, and back.
5. Reading a Story
6. Clapping Games and Rhymes- Remember the games played out on the playground?
7. Mirror Images- I did this with Mya and Aleigha as well. We would stand in front of the mirror and I would point to Mya and say “Mya” and then to me “Mommy” over and over again. Kaden has already started pointing to himself and then to me when we stand in front of the mirror together.
8. Paint Finger and Toe Nails
9. Play Hand (or feet) games -like thumb wrestling, rock, paper, scissors, or this little piggy.
10. Sing Songs-especially ones that involve touching- we do Chris cross apple sauce and itsy bitsy spider
11.Play Where is Mommy? Playing a variety of peek-a-boo and hide and seek games is fun and focuses the child’s attention on his mommy. During the games I frequently say, “Where is Mommy?” or “Look at Mommy,” reinforcing who Mommy is. This is also helpful outside of game time when I need Kaden to look at me.

As you become more comfortable with your child and your new routine becomes more predictable, both you and your child will likely feel more confident with each other and one day you will wake up and there will no longer be a need for that magic button- true love took over.

3 comments:

Noah Bear said...

Awww, I'm so excited about Kaden's bonding. He is so adorable, Amy. We can't wait to see him again.

And, although it wasn't funny at the time, probably the best bonding experience Nandi and I had was when she got that horrible lice infestation. Seriously! There was no better way to bond than having to spend three solid weeks with her in my lap while I combed through her hair looking for nits. lol.

Hey, if you think it'll help with Kaden, I'd be happy to send some your way. lol. :-)

P.S. Love all the pictures. You've got a gorgeous family!
Leslie :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this! It's going in my attachment file!

BonkLand

Michelle Riggs said...

That is great advice, Amy. Thanks for sharing it. I can't believe how quickly Kaden is bonding. God is so good.