Thursday, March 08, 2012

4 Rules for Initial Attachment -- Rule #4

Our social worker, a woman with over 25 years of International Adoption experience, suggested that we keep others away from our then 2 year old and try to settle in for a few months. She called the first 6 months crucial for bonding and attachment. She suggested a few basic rules. Today, I am highlighting her rule # 4.

4- Do not introduce them to extended family too soon. You will know when your child is secure and calm. That is the time to meet new people. For some babies, it will take a few weeks. For toddlers or young children, it can take much, much longer. This can be difficult to explain to excited extended family members. Try reminding them that your child has just lived through a major trauma and that your child does not see his adoption as a joyous, happy, long awaited moment. He has just lost everything he knows -- a home (however sad), food, smells, sounds, friends, schedule, etc. He is trying to make sense of the world. The more that things change, the more difficult it is for them. Having more people coming in and out of his life for a short term does not promote stability. It causes more internal stress and confusion. However hard this is for extended family, they need to know that the best way to show love to this new little one is to wait just a bit longer.

4 comments:

Sophie said...

This is such good advice. While we wanted our parents and siblings to meet our daughter, we honestly couldn't keep them away, it was sweet. The problem was people, and I mean lots of them that stopped by without a phone call. Although they meaned well and were genuinely happy for us it was overwhelming and exhausting. This time around I need to set boundaries ahead of time.

Colombian Mommy said...

It was very hard for us, as we lived with my husband's family while we were in Colombia. We explained the rules, and for the most part, they followed them. When we got home, it was also hard for well-wishers not to just drop by.

AmyB said...

We are still waiting for our kids (next month will be 3 years on the waiting list....) but I appreciate this information to reflect on before we even have them, so that we're a little more prepared. I'm sure it will be hard to set boundaries (everyone is so impatient to meet our kids!) but I realize that it will be necessary for all of us! Thanks for sharing!!

Carolina said...

Great advice Melinda! We followed last time and it worked great!
This time I will translate them and send to my family in Colombia before we get there, even though we explained to everybody they still felt offended because we didn't let them hold out baby girl.