"" Writer's Wanderings: Adoption--Bonding 12

Friday, August 19, 2005

Adoption--Bonding 12

Having raised my older boys from babies, I was accustomed to touching them and they were familiar with my touch. I knew how to hold them when they needed it. I knew what soothed them when they cried. I had no knowledge of that with Cheryl and Don.

I could perch Don on my lap but when I tried to cuddle him, he responded stiffly. Cheryl didn't like to be held. She would sit on Bob's lap long enough for a story but then she was off and running again. There just wasn't the physical kind of touching, holding, cuddling, that there would have been if they were babies. And, I wasn't sure what might have transpired in the biological or other foster homes that may have made them feel uncomfortable being held.

Much later we were to find out that children who have difficulty bonding are often those who have trouble cuddling, being held. This isn't just with adopted children but can also occur with biological children. Unfortunately, we learned this too late with Cheryl. If I were to give any advice about problems with bonding with your adopted children, I would say get some counseling for them and you. By the time we learned our lesson, Cheryl was 18 and refused any help.

While Don still is not terribly affectionate, he does give us awkward hugs and pats on the back. Sometimes it's hard to sort out what might be a bonding problem or just a result of his developmental handicap or just the fact that he's all grown up now and acting like a teenager--even though he's 27.

Throughout Cheryl and Don's childhood, there was always a question of nature or nurture. Did they respond a certain way because of their genes or was it because of their environment?

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