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“I wanted his trust, his love, his affection but he didn’t know me” – an adoptive Mum writes

Published: February 8, 2017

@blogforadoption and her husband adopted a little boy in 2014. Here she tells how, slowly at first, she has bonded with her son: 

Pretty much from the moment we saw Danny’s profile at the Exploring Adoption Event we were attached. We loved this little guy and couldn’t wait for him to feel the same way about us.

It came very easily for Daddy and Danny to build a bond. Sadly, I had to work very, very hard to build an attachment to him. Luckily I was the one who took longer Adoption Leave which gave me the opportunity to bond while Daddy was at work. Probably because Danny’s female foster carer was the disciplinarian, he immediately saw me as the ‘not so fun stranger who was going to tell him off’. In reality, although Daddy is the sportier one of the two of us, I think I win the award for ‘Most Fun’ (not that Danny knew this at the time).

The first thing I tried was tickling. He repeatedly pulled his t-shirt up when he was playing in the garden so I said to him if I saw his tummy 2 times he was going to get tickled! I thought this would be a way of getting close to him but if he didn’t want it he just didn’t have to mess with his t-shirt. As it turned out, he loved it. Tickling became a special game that the two of us played throughout introductions (the period when a child moves from his or her foster carers to adopters).

Another thing I did during introductions was the bath time routine. This was a great opportunity to combine fun and close contact in a way he was perfectly happy with. I remember the first bath time I did with his foster carer when she told him to clean his teeth and he said “Mummy can do it”. I nearly cried. This was the first time he’d initiated contact and it was a sign of trust. A bathtime game that lasted a long time after introductions was to play with his 3 toy boats. At first we used them to re-enact the latest episode of Fireman Sam. But this soon changed to talking about our days through the boats – which was really lovely.

For the first few weeks he would always favour Daddy for most things and I took my opportunities when it was just us. Luckily the summer holidays arrived after two months of placement. This was the time I began to teach him how to read and we worked on his writing. We also went for long walks together. Precious time alone when we would hold hands. I think that, as he started to see all the progress he was making, the realisation that I was 100% on team Danny sunk in. He understood how much I cared for him and that he was with us forever.

I’m not going to lie and say that this process was easy because I did struggle initially. But, when this happened, I’d just take a moment to think what I was asking of the little guy. I wanted his trust, his love, his affection and he didn’t know me. I was grateful for the connection he’d made with my husband and knew that with patience and perseverance I would have that with him eventually.

Three years down the line we now have a strong connection. I love how excited he is to see me after school and the giant hug I get every day in the playground.

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