I read Attaching Through Love, Hugs, and Play by Deborah Gray last summer while preparing for Dumpling’s arrival. I really enjoyed the book and took away some terrific nuggets of information. It’s an attachment book that would be beneficial to be on all adoptive parents’ bookshelves. The author offers a lot of information and encouragement about attachment and gives practical ways to foster connection with children. I especially enjoyed the sensory techniques she suggests to help children bond because I think they also support the parent’s attachment to the child. The information that Gray provides can be applicable to all families, no matter how long children have been home. I found it helpful even for my other children. After all, it’s my job as their mama to always connect with them. Being intentional about that sometimes takes a bit of reminding.
I wish I had read more about attachment when we started down the path of adoption five years ago! Fortunately we fumbled through Sunshine’s early months home, and she’s very securely attached to both mama and daddy now. But I’m thankful I educated myself more before bringing Dumpling home. Especially because he spent three years in an orphanage, we have been extremely intentional with him since the first moments he was in our arms. I know there are still some questions about why no one else has held him and why we keep him close, but DH and I both feel strongly that these decisions are right for him. We parent him in ways that may seem strange to others given his age, but we’re ok with that. He still sleeps in our room. We bottle feed and then rock him to sleep every night too. And we intentionally limit physical contact with other adults, even those closest to us. There will be plenty of time for him to get to know all of the people who love him and have spent hours praying for him. Right now, we are working on our relationship as mama, daddy, and son. And thanks to reading Deborah Gray’s book, we were more prepared to do that.
If you are in-process, please read as much as you can about attachment! Attaching Through Love, Hugs, and Play is a fantastic resource. Gray also wrote the popular Attaching in Adoption, which is on my to-read list.