Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bonding

Before we brought Abi home, I watched a fabulous training seminar called "Because they Waited" that dealt specifically with toddler adoption.  I loved the clear, concise way they taught us what our kiddos need, why they act the way that they do, and the practical solutions to build trust, bonding, and to meet the needs that were not met at the correct developmental age so that their mental development can progress from a new foundation of care, love and met needs.


Although she is nearly four, I have been bottle-feeding Abi at the same times as I do for the Bean.  The warm milk soothes her, and the mommy-feeding position communicates to her who I am and promotes attachment.


This morning, Abi was tearful, and was having a difficult time coping.  Bean kept attacking her, and she could not even deal with a choice of what to eat for breakfast.  I think the honeymoon period has ended, and she has subconsciously realized that this crazy, weird-smelling, non-Amharic-speaking house where she doesn't understand the unwritten rules is going to be hers for a while.

So while she moped, I slung her on my back in the Ergo I purchased for that purpose.  Not only does it feel very African, but it feels very safe, very close, and Bean can't reach her.


After half an hour, she opened up again and chose "Biscuiti inna Mooz" (Cheerios and Banana) for breakfast, along with Juice, for which she knows the English word.


I have been trying to give Bean as much extra positive attention and guidance as I can.  His behavior matches any 2yo when a new baby comes home, and I know it will improve over time.  Trying to hold him, talk to him, show affection to him, and at the same time, consistently enforce manners, respect and boundaries already seems to be helping his craziness subside.


Curly and Mister both enjoy their new little sister, although the language barrier makes it difficult for them to interact directly.  Curly in particular keeps trying to say Amharic words, give Abi toys and find ways to talk and interact with her.  Abi, on her part, thinks Curly is pretty darn cool, and loves to parrot her English words ad nauseum, much to Curly's amusing dismay.

Mister has been more reserved, which is his personality.  I have no doubt once Abi can speak English and begins playing LEGOs with him, they will become good friends.


As with anything, Abi's adjustment will take time and patience, but she is doing so well already learning to live in a family and learning to love us.  For only being home ten days, I'm quite encourages with her progress, even the moments of grief, moping or tantrums.  They are totally expected and need to happen in order for future healthy relationships with us to occur.

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