Friday, June 02, 2006

Our China Experiences (4) - Bonding and Attachment

By Lynn Bowers

We heard that the baby might only attach to one parent. For me, as the mother, I thought I could handle it, but secretly I thought it would be my
How did we resolve the bounding issue? husband that might be shut out for a few days, never me. After all, I was the mom! As it turned out, our baby definitely showed a preference for Daddy, to the point where she was inconsolable unless she was in his arms. She would not let me feed her, or put her to bed, or calm her when she was upset. Perhaps being a woman, I might have reminded Samantha of her loss- of her birthmother, of her caregivers at the orphanage. Or maybe my husband is bigger and stronger than I am, and he might have felt safer to her during this stressful transition time.

Though I'd like to think I'm a full-fledged adult, this was extremely hard on me- more than once, I had to go outside our hotel room because I was so weepy, thinking our baby would never accept me. It's funny now that we're home in NJ, and we are so bonded and joined at the hip for most of the day. But in China, it was a different story.

We emailed Dr. Aronson a few days after getting Samantha. She suggested that perhaps "Daddy" might have to make himself scarce for a few hours- maybe go out to get a bite to eat, or walk around the hotel to give me and the baby some bonding time. We also decided that even though Daddy was the safety net for calming fears, going to sleep, and general holding, I would take on food. In other words, if Samantha wanted to eat, she was going to get the bottle and meals from me. This really worked well for us- in a few days, Samantha decided I wasn't so bad- after all, I kept giving her these warm bottles and delicious food. And maybe the show tunes I sang to her weren't so terrible either. By the time we left China, we were on our way to full acceptance for both Mom and Dad.

And now we're home and I'm still singing those show tunes to my daughter. I figure I only have a few years before we'll be listening to "her" music, and she tells us to stop playing our Chinese lullaby CD!!!

With the best wishes to all Gladney families, and thanks again to the Gladney team. (End)

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