Attachment parenting long after adoption

“I’m going to make this place your home…”

The song was playing on the radio as I’m driving to Penticton with two happy girls in the backseat. That’s not how we started the day though, and I thought I would dictate a post about today, from the coffee stop along the way. I think it’s a good example of what attachment parenting looks like… long past adoption day.

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I’m not saying I’m the attachment parenting guru (ha!) as we’ve made many mistakes along the way. But today, I got it right.

As you know, Jason and I were gone for nine days in Morocco while my parents look after the girls. They did a great job by the way… My dad said that the jellybean jar with one candy for every day helped the girls countdown the time we were away. But I think the love and care from my parents was what held the girls together.

Nine days is a long time though, and when Jason started commuting to work in Penticton Wednesday, we got cries and screams of protest. Yesterday, Spice barely got herself together to go to school. And this morning the girls were so tired from the solstice and so upset that daddy was going to work again, that I decided to take them home for the day. So we took our time in the morning and made blue pancakes covered with sprinkles. Healthy! I know. The point is that it took time and we got to do it together. Then after getting ready for the day, the girls got busy doing massive crafts in the kitchen. 11 o’clock and we are on the road… Off to have lunch with daddy in Penticton. We both felt that even if it was 45 minutes together at the middle of the day, that would be special for the girls. So on the road we are.

I’m being reflective about attachment parenting because often we talked about the process of attachment as the foundations of our relationship post adoption. A really attachment is this ongoing process between any family members who love and trust each other. We have to work to reconnect and builds the bonds of attachment between parents. That’s what Morocco was all about! But we also have to constantly repair hurts and nurture the connection between children and parents as well.

So it doesn’t happen very often… But on days like today, we choose to put the needs of our children first. It was painstakingly obvious that our girls were feeling abandoned when daddy was going off to work, and I was not much of the salve on the wound. Somewhat humbling… Anyway, we decided that I would work this weekend instead, and tend to the children today. And I think it’s an investment that will pay off.

And what if I didn’t take the day is today to focus on the kids and drive to Penticton to have lunch with daddy?

No doubt we would’ve had hurt feelings and bad behavior all weekend. So maybe attachment parenting is self-serving! Because a little repairing now means a lot of enjoyment of my children later.

I would love to hear some of the things that you have done to support and reconnect with your kids, long past your adoption day. Or even if you gave birth to children, I would love to hear what you’ve done to put your children first. Comments?

Arnica

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9 thoughts on “Attachment parenting long after adoption

  1. We’ve done a number of things very deliberately and consciously; here are a few of the biggie commitments that we’ve made:
    1. Sigh. We gave up a second income (mine) and chose to h/school, in order to build and deeply solidify attachment with our children.
    2. Also, I immersed myself in learning, and then engaging, in parenting from a developmental, attachment-rooted approach (aka Dr. Gordon Neufeld) rather than from a behavioural approach.
    3. My husband and I go for a monthly meeting with an attachment-based consultant in order to get/be on top of any issues that come up with any of our three kids. These sessions have been a huge component of our support system and we’ve booked these sessions in to the end of this year to make sure that they remain a priority.
    4. I go for private therapy fairly regularly to make sure that I deal with my own anxieties and stresses as it relates to the kids and being home with them all of the time…I find that when I do this, I’m a little more ‘together’ and can manage everything better! 🙂

    One thing that we do if one of us (or both of us) is away for a night or more (such as when my hubbie travels on business, for up to a week at a time) is ‘bridge’ our absence…by skyping daily, emailing the kids daily, and by giving them something of ours before we leave them to help maintain the attachment connection (an old shirt or pillow that we’ve slept on, notes that we write out for them to read daily, etc etc)…it’s amazing how these things help our kids maintain their attachment/connectedness to us so that our coming back together is easier.

    Our kids are home 2 years now and truly I feel like I know them as well as our 9-year-old bio child and that they are deeply attached to us. It’s a huge blessing and I hope to keep learning, in order to prepare for the issues we’ll continue to face!

    Interesting topic…thanks!

    Ruth

  2. We’ve done a number of things very deliberately and consciously; here are a few of the biggie commitments that we’ve made:

    1. Sigh. We gave up a second income (mine) and chose to h/school, in order to build and deeply solidify attachment with our children.
    
2. Also, I immersed myself in learning, and then engaging, in parenting from a developmental, attachment-rooted approach (aka Dr. Gordon Neufeld) rather than from a behavioural approach.

    3. My husband and I go for a monthly meeting with an attachment-based consultant in order to get/be on top of any issues that come up with any of our three kids. These sessions have been a huge component of our support system and we’ve booked these sessions in to the end of this year to make sure that they remain a priority.
    
4. I go for private therapy fairly regularly to make sure that I deal with my own anxieties and stresses as it relates to the kids and being home with them all of the time…I find that when I do this, I’m a little more ‘together’ and can manage everything better! 

    One thing that we do if one of us (or both of us) is away for a night or more (such as when my hubbie travels on business, for up to a week at a time) is ‘bridge’ our absence…by skyping daily, emailing the kids daily, and by giving them something of ours before we leave them to help maintain the attachment connection (an old shirt or pillow that we’ve slept on, notes that we write out for them to read daily, etc etc)…it’s amazing how these things help our kids maintain their attachment/connectedness to us so that our coming back together is easier.

    Our kids are home 2 years now and truly I feel like I know them as well as our 9-year-old bio child and that they are deeply attached to us. It’s a huge blessing and I hope to keep learning, in order to prepare for the issues we’ll continue to face!

    Interesting topic…thanks!

    Ruth

    • Thanks so much for sharing, Ruth. Jason and I have actually started going on more regular dates and actively working on our own marriage in a proactive, not reactive way. It’s for us – but it’s also for the kids. In fact, I think it’s pretty easy just to coast along when you are doing something (or not) for yourself, but I find myself, and I know Jason does too, stretching for the kids.

      I really like your last point about taking care of your own mental health. I’m getting better at the physical side…. But still have a hard time setting aside for own own peace and well being. And that probably has more influence on my relationship with the kids than anything! Except sleep, of course….

  3. That song, make me think of my daughter every time I hear it, and then I tend to go into the ugly cry.
    I think attachment parenting is going to be an on-going thing that will never end. And I am realising this for my bio kids as well, not just my adopted one.

    Flora

  4. Nice post! I was just in Ethiopia for two and a half weeks and last week took my son out of day care for the day for this very reason. He had a tough time while I was gone and it was even tougher the first few days back. We took the day, did a few errands, had a nap together, played and basically just hung out- one on one. What a difference it has made to the rest of the week and the weekend.

    For my son in particular, he needs the one to one and this is one of our key attachment parenting strategies when things are off. For my bio daughter it is just as important. I think it is always nice to be able to take a break from the routine of life and remind ourselves that family is number 1!

  5. I didn’t know that this was attachment parenting, but it’s apparently what we do. We gave up having a second income, I stayed home…. volunteer at their school whenever possible, homeschooled for a couple of years… I can see how it would be so beneficial to a family, especially one wherein the bond was delayed with the parent initially.

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