Ruh-Roh. I meant to post this yesterday...
I thought I would post a list of some simple activities you could do with your adopted child to foster attachment. As with any advice you read on caring for a traumatized child, know your child, be aware of the ways in which he or she was traumatized in the past, and know what could be unsettling for him now. For instance, the staring contest is a game I used to play with Julie back in Kazakhstan, and it was helpful and fun. I would hesitate to use this same game with James. So, just use your judgement.
Sit across from your child, holding hands, and stare at each other. You can play till the first person blinks, but I prefer till the first person laughs. Laughing, of course, gets those endorphins flowing, but trying to keep from blinking makes me feel like I'm going to cry. This game, obviously, encourages eye contact, but it's also just plain fun.
This works a bit better with girls, of course, but taking turns brushing each other's hair is a wonderful attachment activity. For that matter, painting each other's fingernails and toenails is, too.
As an aside, for my girls who were afraid of dogs when they first came home to us, I found if they could brush the dogs, they became more comfortable and less afraid of them.Telling Stories
This activity works great one on one in the car. I remember driving James to his therapist appointments, and he would say to me, "Tell me a story." He always wanted a story about me; my childhood, especially. In the beginning I would tell him one after the other, but then I started exacting a toll: for each story I told, he needed to tell me one from his past. We learned a lot about each other on those car trips.
Scratching each other's backs is a very nice, non-threatening way to get that extra touch in, especially for any children who might be uncomfortable/sensitive to soft touch. It can be done above the shirt if they're not able to handle skin-to-skin contact. If there's no history of sexual abuse, you can move on to include massage, but always start with something deep, like shoulder rubs, and see how they tolerate it.
I know for small children, it is often recommended that you take some time to sit them in your lap, rock them, and actually feed them a bottle. While I understand the theory behind this, it always weirded me out a bit. However, I still think there's incredible value to be found in rocking a child in your lap. I've done this with all my adopted kids, and they were nearly six, 10, and nearly 14 when they arrived home. Now, with the older ones, we started this acivity more like a joke, and it was just a silly thing they could laugh at, but when the giggles subsided, I could feel them melt into me as I hummed a soft tune and petted their hair. There is no place of comfort like a Mama's lap.
Hope these help....
Previous posts on Attachment:
Attachment The Attachment Tree
Attachment.2 I Love You
Attachment.3 Keck and Kupecky
Attachment.7 Add it on.
Image courtesy: sheknows.com
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A Little History
Quite frankly, I don't know what I was thinking at the time. We went from 3 kids by birth to "oh, let's adopt a 4th" without a whole lot of deliberation.
While adopting said 4th (in Kazakhstan), we met a young man of 8 yrs by the name of Borya. Thought he was a pretty nice kid and years later found out we could adopt him too. Only thing was, he came as a 2-in-1 package with his younger sister Ylia. What the hay, said we, and rushed headlong into the adoption process. Again. To adopt two kids that were 10 and 13 at the time.
Started a blog to keep track of where my head was in this adoption game. When Borya and Ylia arrived home, we were suddenly the proud parents of six kids, ages 9, 10, 11, 11, 13 and 13.
That was back in 2009, but I still blog. I figure what doesn't make us laugh makes us cry, and I'd rather be laughing.
Also? We live on a farm(ish) with a few dozen critters. You're just as likely to read a post about the farming side of things as you are the parenting side. Thought you might want to know in case you have allergies or something.
As for the structure of this blog, I pretty much post on a daily basis, and I tend to be all over the place in what I write about, so if it's nice, neat and compartmentalized you're looking for, be off with you now, you won't find it here.
I do have some structure, though, I'm not a total bohemian. I roll like this:
Mon: Mirth Monday. A little somethin' to make you chuckle.
Tues: Sometimes Adoption Tuesday, sometimes A Tip For Tuesday, sometimes random thoughts.
Weds: Wordless Wednesday. Usually a photo or some artwork from myself or one of my oh-so-talented children.
Thurs: all random, all the time.
Fri: Farm Friday. Speaks for itself.
Sat, Sun: More random musings.
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