As we prepare to come home Daniel & I feel that we need to work on attachment and bonding. It is extremely important that Annalise learns who her family is. Daniel and I need to establish our roles as Mama and Baba. We are making good progress and feel like she is bonding with us but there are also times when she will seek help from someone else rather than allowing us to meet her needs.
Thankfully we are making great strides in attachment and bonding with our sweet girl but we have a LONG and possibly hard road ahead of us.
To this end, for an undetermined amount of time, we would ask:
- Please do not pick up Annalise, even if she's standing with us and reaches her arms out to you. She is very social and has the most beautiful smile you will ever see and so it is natural that you would want to hold her. We are still establishing boundaries.
- If Annalise falls down please do not pick her up or comfort her (unless she is seriously injured and we are not near by). She needs to learn to accept comfort from Mama and Baba. She will probably fall often as her balance is not very good. It may be hard to watch her struggle to stand up but we will help her if it is necessary.
- Along the same lines of #2 - Please direct Annalise to either Daniel or I for help. This includes going to the restroom, washing hands, opening things, etc.
- Please do not feed her anything or hand a present directly to her. Any toys or gifts should be given to us, and we will hand it to her. This will help with confusion for her as she continues to figure out life with Mama, Baba and Jie Jie.
- Please be patient with Daniel and I in how we handle her tantrums. There may be times we turn our backs on her and allow her to scream and yell or roll around on the floor. You may think our tone is harsh or that we are being unkind by allowing her to cry. Again, we are establishing boundaries and discipline with her. Despite being loved by her foster family and neighbors discipline and boundaries may not have always been very clear.
- Please do not correct Annalise if she does something wrong. Bring it to our attention and we will deal with it immediately. Annalise needs to learn that correction and discipline come from Mama and Baba first.
While this list may seem a little strange or restrictive it is because we love our girl and want what is best for her. She is part of our family forever and so there will be plenty of time for you to love on her in the ways we are asking you to avoid initially. Also, it may not be imperative that we hold to these restrictions very long. It will all depend on how things progress once we return home.
It is obvious that Annalise was well loved by her foster family and it is our understanding that many of the neighbors were involved in her life as well including helping with her walking and physical therapy.
The positive side of this is that our girl has attached before, knows what it means to be cared for and is very social. She loves people and loves to go, go, go. The negative side of this is that our girl was probably a little spoiled and this has definitely led to some challenges as we set boundaries with her. It also could possibly make it difficult for us to establish authority in her life as her parents because she has probably often looked to many to meet her needs.
We have read several books, been through extensive training and read a number of blogs written by other adoptive families concerning attachment. Each family is different and the needs of their child or children may also be different but one thing that is universal is that attachment and trust must be developed between the child and parent, and so we are asking a couple things from our friends and church family.
We appreciate and value your prayers more than we can express. This is a time of transition for all of us. We are so thankful to have you on this journey with us and cannot wait for you to meet our girl!