Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Story of Attachment-Part II


If you have not read "The Story of Attachment-Part I" or would like to read "The Story of Attachment-Part III" when you're are the links!
"The Story of Attachment-Part I"
"The Story of Attachment-Part III"
"The Story of Attachment-Part IV"
"The Story of Attachment-Part V"

Life for our little ones has not always been easy. They have suffered great loss. You might even be surprised to discover our sweet (and very attached) Max and Bekah had to go through an attachment process too. They had to learn to trust that we would be around forever. Who wouldn't after being handed to someone you didn't know?

I heard it described somewhat like this. Picture a normal life with your family. Your kids running around. Your husband/wife at the Barbecue. A stranger comes in and you are told to go with them. They take you to a house with a ton of other people your age who may or may not completely ignore you. After months of grief some strangers come in. They are smiling and so happy. You are told this is your new wife/husband. You are expected to just accept it.

I think that kind of puts in perspective what our children face. We know that God has shown us our children and we're just bringing them home, but they have suffered such loss until this point that they may not feel that way. We may intend love, and they may just be angry.

Transitioning into a family takes time. Attachment takes time. This is why our family chooses to do attachment work.

For four months (less or more time if necessary) we are the only ones to hold, diaper, bath, and feed our newest blessing. They must begin to understand that we will provide for all their needs. Often we are repeating stages they should have gotten already, but didn't (bottle feeding longer, while looking them in the eyes and holding them, etc.). Our goal is that they understand others love them, but that an attachment is fostered for those that are their mommy, daddy, siblings, and (daily in their lives) family. They may not choose to attach, and it's our responsibility to insure they do. It may be easy and it may be hard.

This is NOT an easy thing to do. How easy is it to say to a cherished friend or family member, "I'm sorry, I know they want to go to you, but we need to foster attachment." Sometimes people are offended or hurt. Sometimes they don't understand. There is a common thought process that is, "They will see you everyday and know you're taking care of them. They will attach and you're just being over protective."

If you've seen a child that is unattached, you will know that attachment is not necessarily automatic. Attachment doesn't always come with time. We've known those that after years still struggled with attachment. It's not just with teens and older children, but with babies and toddlers as well.

So this is our family plan and the reason we wrote "The Story of Attachment Part I, II, and III".

We will do attachment work.
*This does NOT mean you can't play with Rachel and Gabe's beautiful little hands or feet.
*It does NOT mean you can't touch them or kiss their cheeks and talk to them.
*This does NOT mean that you can't stop by the house to meet them (though we will probably crash for the first week :)). You are all welcome!

What it does mean is that we are the primary caregivers until WE feel secure that THEY are secure. We do have experience with this and did HAVE had to do this previously.

This is what attachment work will mean for our family and you. It means....

*Only we hold, feed, change, and bath the little ones EVEN if they want to climb onto someone else's lap. We can't allow it, temporarily, to help them.
*This means that for at least a month that only one of us will be at Church with the other children. They need to understand that we are "forever" for them and not "shop" for new parents, not trusting us (though we hope this doesn't happen, we have seen it happen). Even after the first month, one of us may come in late to the crying room and leave early (depending what is needed). Large crowds may overwhelm them or make them feel like they are in a orphanage situation again. Still, only we hold them.
***This will most likely mean that for the first year of their life they will not be in a Bible class/nursery type situation. This mimics TOO much of an orphanage life and can bring a lot of regression (we have personal experience with this, it's NOT good or pleasant).
***This will mean, though we love and cherish you, we have to do what is best for our babies, no matter how much we love you.

Hopefully attachment will be quick, but we have to go into this prepared for everything.

Please understand, the attachment work we will do is not to hinder any love or attachment, but to create the ability to love and attach that God has placed within them.

That said, thank you for your patience with us as we are on the verge of the wonderful (and often difficult) journey of attachment.

Attachment Prayer Request
Please pray that God prepares Gabe and Rachel's hearts, gives them dreams of us, and helps them to feel secure in our arms and with our love very quickly.

Though I am constantly reminded of God's faithfulness, I am just feeling remarkably human lately and can use prayers. If you have a moment, please read this post that shares the journey we are on right now (and prayer requests).
"Prayerful Sighs...Needing My Friends


  1. Great post... Attachment in adoption is something many outside of the adoption world don't get, and you explained it in a very loving way.

  2. As we are set to bring home our daughter in a few weeks, I am sooo glad you said this(our daughter will be almost 3)!!! I may "steal" some of it if you don't mind:)! Praying for an easy and quick attachment for your sweet babies.

  3. Hi Kat, Although I can't get your first attachment post to open, I love this one! My husband is a youth pastor and we are very involved in a church that has not experienced many adoptions. We have really been wondering how we will deal with the attachment issue when so many people just want to love on our new child. Thanks again - and many blessings to you and your family!

  4. You are right on. This type of "work" is a gift we adoptive parents give to our children. Some people don't understand, but we must do it anyway, with confidence. I'm so thankful you are strong and understand what this attachment process means for your children's future. I'm glad you GET it, Kat.

  5. Great post, Kat. I agree wholeheartedly. We have been the same way with our adoptions, even though they were much younger. We know they didn't get used to our voices and such in the womb, and they need to learn we are their parents; we are the ones who will meet their needs. Our family and friends were very understanding--I hope and pray yours will be too.

    I am praying for you, Kat, every day! :) Sending love


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