Before I became an adoptive parent, I did my fair share of reading and planning for our new baby. I had in mind how I hoped to parent, but I also knew that my husband [and] I would need to be flexible. We were definitely committed to practicing attachment parenting. Little did we know exactly how much practice we were going to get.Yep, doesn't seem like too much to me, sounds just about right!
As soon as our son was placed in our arms, we knew we were going to have to take the attachment parenting lifestyle very seriously. As an adoptive parent, you sometimes hear phrases such as "less than ideal" used to describe orphanage conditions. Well, our son’s emotional and physical condition when he came to us made it apparent that "less than ideal" would have been good.
We committed ourselves to doing everything possible to help our son adjust, learn to trust, become comfortable, feel safe and eventually love us. We did that through our own version of attachment parenting, which, if I’m honest, may have taken it to a whole new level. While some things didn’t work because of circumstances, we overdid others.
For example, despite our best efforts, our son couldn’t co-sleep. His behaviors made it apparent that not only was he rarely held, but he had very little personal interaction. He just couldn’t get comfortable with people in such close proximity in the beginning. We ultimately moved him to a crib in his own room, but our responsiveness to his needs was intense and immediate. Some nights, he woke 15 or 20 times. My husband or I would literally run to him -- there was no delay. I even broke a toe one evening, sprinting up the stairs, although, truth be told, I have a history of breaking toes.
We held him whenever he would allow it, which was seldom in the beginning, and spent a lot of time sitting on the floor with him, as close as possible, helping him adjust to being touched and comforted. We held him close and tightly when we fed him, always maintaining eye contact, never allowing him to take his bottle from us, even when he struggled mightily. We didn’t allow anyone else to feed or bathe him.
It probably sounds ridiculous…unless you’ve been there.
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