Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Adoption Question #1 - Should I bring my older child with me on the adoption trip? Will my child bond to them instead of me?

Time to start answering some of the excellent questions I was sent this week....


 Have you ever just traveled with one of your children and your newly adopted child prefers them instead? I am traveling with our 13 yr old when we get our referral and was wondering what would happen.

I traveled for two or our adoption trips with older siblings.  The first trip was for my son Jonathan who was adopted at age 2.5 yrs.  I took my daughter who was turning 15 during the adoption trip.  She was a huge help during the trip and I am so glad she came.

As far as bonding goes, there are a few things you should be sure of when facilitating healthy attachment.  One is that the parent only is responsible for caring for and feeding the child as well as comforting them.   When you are on the trip or in the early months at home ALL care should come from a parent-- not a sibling, friend, or grandparent.  This TEACHES the child WHAT a mother/father is.  THE person/people that the child can count on --- period. 

I certainly allowed my daughter to play with my son and sit next to him at meal times but I was in charge of getting his food, helping him eat, and cleaning him up from a meal.  Likewise, I did all bathing, brushing teeth, co-sleeping, and comforting.  All "close touch" with with me and not the sibling.

This is important during the adoption trip and for months after being home.  Teach them to count on you.  They have had caregivers breeze in and out of their lives daily through their days as an orphan.  They need routine and stability when coming into their forever family. 

This also bring up the extended family issues when coming home and "everyone" wants to hold the new child.  Please take action to inform your family before you leave about attachment and why you will set boundaries for several months.... It will be very very hard but set the line at play on the floor with each holding, no feeding, no changing diapers.  ANY touch or cuddling should be with the parent.

The promotion of attachment and giving the child a period of  time to really bond with the mom and dad is VITAL and absolutely necessary.  As an adoptive parent I urge you to not take this lightly.  Any social worker or adoptive parent will tell you it is worth a few hurt feeling and a little extra diligence to be sure the newest member of your family knows who mom and dad are!

1 comment:

  1. I've only adopted once but just thought id throw out the suggestion that as with many things, each child is different. Our daughter (15 mo at gotcha) immediately bonded with my husband and myself. We even traveled with both grandmas and our two older bio kids. I was prepared to do just as you recommend for attachment protocol and we came to find it wasn't necessary for her. We were able to not be as strict even on our trip. She may be the exception but just wanted to recommend the idea of letting your child lead what they are ready for and what they aren't. We can do all the research and be prepared as possible with a plan of action but flexibility is the key :)