6.17.2011

Bonding and Attachment: How it's Going 4 months in

We get asked from time to time how our bonding/attachment is going with Mareto. It's been awhile since this post when we had just returned home, so here's an update!

As far as bonding with our son - well, that was 100% on our side from day one. We fell in love with him immediately and he felt like ours right away. On his side? He seemed to bond fairly quickly with us, but he was cautious to be sure. When we first came home he smiled occasionally and was very content. He was quiet and rarely cried. We would nearly stand on our head to get him to laugh. If we left the room he would just lay there on his blanket and look around the room and at his toys until we came back. Now? Well he's a completely different boy now...

He smiles constantly and laughs all day long. If I'm doing dishes while he's in his exersaucer, all I have to do is turn around and look at him and he giggles and gives me an enormous smile. He is still quite content but he will now let us know that he has needs. He fusses when his diaper is full and he is hungry or tired. Before his lack of crying was a sign that he didn't know we would take care of his needs so there was no point in letting us know. It is so encouraging to us that he knows he can rely on us.


He loves to be with us. When we're in the living room together he will play happily for a few minutes and then turn around and try to climb in my lap. He only wants to be held for a few seconds before going back to his toys, but I love that he wants the physical contact during play time. He is super affectionate! When we play together on the floor he will occasionally throw himself into me and say "mmmm" and then open his mouth wide open and plop it on my cheek. It really melts my heart! So yes, we're bonding and attaching quite beautifully.
(reaching out for Daddy)

Why do I believe it's going so well in this area for us? Many would say, "oh it's because he's was so young when you brought him home and he doesn't know any better." I would respond that it certainly HELPED that he was not quite 5 months old when he came home. He only had 5 months, rather than 5 years of loss, sickness, trauma, etc. However, two years of research on our part has us utterly convinced that those 5 months have more of an effect on our little guy than we can imagine. Therefore, I believe that he is bonding so well with us because we spent nearly two years PRAYING that he would attach well and we had many friends praying with us. We prayed that his heart would heal and what was broken God would fix. We also learned many practical things to do with him once he came home.

We only let immediate family hold him when we got home. Even then, it wasn't long periods. John and I are the ONLY ones to feed, bathe, and rock him to sleep. We rock him to sleep for every nap and bedtime and night time wake up. If he has a hard night with nightmares, or if he is very sick, he comes into bed with us and he sleeps much better. We do not let him cry without going to him and holding him. Each time we meet his need and calm his fears we are building a foundation of love and trust that most newborns learn instantly with their parents. For a full month we did not take him in public but let him get comfortable in his new environment with us at home. Once we ventured out we did so slowly and we never let anyone hold him.
(lots of snuggles when it's hard to sleep)

So now that we are four months in and he is doing so well, we are taking another step - we've SLOWLY started letting friends hold him for SHORT periods of time. But, we do not do this in large crowds or new environments, and if he is upset at all he comes right back to us IMMEDIATELY. We do not let him get passed around. If someone else is holding him, he must come back to us for a bit before he goes to a new friend. We also reserve the right (as all parents do) to use our judgement and say no if someone asks to hold him. This has been a very hard part of the journey for me. I feel very much like I've lost control. When everyone knew that they weren't allowed to hold him it was easy to say no to those who asked because no feelings could get hurt since we didn't allow anyone at all to hold him. Now it's a little harder because there is more room for others to be offended if it's not a good time. I am struggling a little with this new boundary that has been opened, but trusting God to give peace and wisdom as I daily put my son in His hands.


Above all, we continue to pray for his heart, mind, and body to be mended. It is a life long process and we do not take our role as his earthly parents lightly. God has bestowed a HUGE honor and trust in us to care for this precious child. I pray daily that God would please cover me in grace as I make mistakes and learn by experience. His love covers my short comings and for that I am thankful!

15 comments:

Clay in the Potter's Hand said...

It is such a joy to see his happy face. You and John are doing a wonderful job!

Lara said...

I'm so glad things are going so well.

Melissa said...

Thanks for sharing about how the attachment is going - it is great to hear that things are so positive! God certainly hears and responds to our prayers, and that is SO encouraging!

Michelle (michabella) said...

So happy to hear things are going well!! LOVE those pictures of him!!! :)

{amy} said...

I love that things are going so well! Thank you for explaining the process, too, because I hadn't quite understood how difficult it could be for a child to attach ~ especially if not in a situation like yours, where you learned how to make it best for him!

Kelly said...

So glad it's going well!!! Y'all are doing a wonderful job!!

Natalie said...

Praise the Lord, that is so amazing! He looks like such a sweetie!

Heather said...

We celebrated our 8th gotcha day this year! My daughter was 19 months when the Lord gave her to us. Attachment was such a worry for me. But God is good and his power is great! Continue to pray for your little guy and love him - after 8 years that is the only thing we rely on - and guess what? it works!

MH @ pup and tot said...

Beautiful!! So glad to see him thriving!

Anna said...

What beautiful photos and a beautiful story. God is so so faithful. Our little G was 4.5 so we have been so slow at taking little steps. I remember that out of control feeling when others held or hugged her. I am doing MUCH better now. You are so right..... you are very blessed.

Linda said...

I love looking at your happy little guy. He is just precious. I am glad he is adjusting well.

I know you want him to feel loved and to have the security of knowing you and daddy are there to stay! I think you are doing a wonderful job!

Love, Linda

Kristin said...

You can tell that he is so happy and I am so happy for your sweet family! I love that little outfit he has on! :) I've been paying a lot of attention to little boys' clothes lately. Haha!

meredith and justin said...

I'm so glad things are going well, Lauren. He is such a cutie patootie! I am sure you know this.

Bobi said...

He is such a precious boy, Lauren! I cannot wait to (hopefully) meet him in person this summer! Let me know about the beach this week! (:

MamaMimi said...

Loving this update - so happy to hear that your research on bonding and attachment has paid off and ULTIMATELY that God our HEALER has worked wonders in His heart!!!