We had an extraordinarily beautiful thing happen the other day in the bonding process…because as most understand, bonding is not instant. And sometimes it’s extremely hard work.
As I mentioned from the beginning, I was not on Birdie’s top favorite people list. Truth be known, I was about the last person she wanted. Okay, so maybe I was the last person she wanted. And actually, as old and tough as I am, that wasn’t really a lot of fun for my soul. No one likes to not be liked. And it has taken intentional prayer and effort to dance with this broken little treasure of ours, but oh there is sweet victory coming – I can see it!!
The very best thing I did (besides pray!) was buy a sling. Don’t get me wrong, she hated being worn in the beginning. Actually “hated” is probably too gentle of a word. Arched back, screaming at the top of her lungs while flailing about more accurately depicts the scenes.
I suspect she finally realized that she was truly stuck with me in the sling to begin to relax and enjoy it, but she has settled in it.
And the other day a precious event happened…
Birdie had been playing in the kitchen and was over at her high chair. The tray had been washed after breakfast but somehow had not been latched back on. She apparently reached up and touched it and it came off and bumped her head. She ran toward our family room crying with an “I’m so offended that someone didn’t latch that stupid tray on and look what happened to me!!”
In order to bond well, Birdie must know in every fiber of her being we are here to comfort, soothe and love her. She must fully comprehend bonding in the not-so-fun-moments of her little life, like getting bonked by a dumb old tray.
So I ran after her and scooped her up and she flailed about even more! We plopped on the couch as I firmly held her and whispered that I loved her oh-so-much. She continued flailing and wailing and even tried to push me away.
I’ve mentioned before my own childhood trauma and Birdie pushing me away reminded me of some times in my life, back in the mid-1980s, when I was dealing with the scars of my childhood. Deep emotional pain would begin to surface with old memories and although it appeared I was “pushing away”, down inside all I desperately wanted was for my hubby to take me in his strong, safe arms and assure me that I was loved.
Remembering those feelings, I asked Elizabeth to grab my sling as Birdie continued to push me away and flail. I quickly threw the sling over us both and tightened it around us, all the while telling her I was her mommy forever and she was safe and loved.
Once in the sling, she immediately settled.
No more pushing me away. No more flailing. No more wailing. We stayed together on the couch in the sling for quite awhile. I continued to whisper how much I adore her.
Eventually she ran off, happy-as-a-clam to play and the day continued.
That evening as we sat for dinner, suddenly I realized that my precious, broken little Birdie had slid her foot over onto my leg. I motioned silently to everyone that a beautiful event was occurring below the table…and unbeknownst to me, Elizabeth had grabbed my cell (without me even asking) and taken a couple of pictures…
My eyes well with tears as I type…such a monumental moment in our history as a family…she’s initiating love toward me and I cannot thank the Lord enough for such a gracious gift.
Sweet sweet story!!! Thanks for sharing.
I laughed through my tears at your beautiful story. It mirrors exactly how we got to some beautiful moments with our youngest, adopted 10 years ago. Those tender “after” moments — after the hard-won, sweaty, tear-filled episodes — are such sweet evidence of attachment. Praise God!
You get it!! Such hard work, but oh such rewarding joy! Praise the name of the Lord!!
Oh Linny, tears for you! That is the most beautiful thing ever!
Your selfless patience paid off. Birdie knows she is safe and loved, and there can’t be a better feeling in the world.
Thank you Brenda!! I well with tears as I type. I actually wondered from time to time if I would ever see a breakthrough…God is so good. We praise Him!!
What a sweet, tender moment of love and encouragement!
Oh beautiful, bless you for sticking it out to win such a precious little heart
She’s so precious!! And it feels so good Sophia to have her love me back, even if just for a few minutes under a table. The breakthroughs are happening and I am overjoyed at the goodness of our faithful God!!
This is beautiful. The absolute best thing I’ve read all day. I have tears in my eyes as I think about my own precious little one with DS and our own attachment challenges.
Justine!! I am sure many don’t understand attachment and because of the DS component, many would think it would be instant bonding. Comforting to know you have walked the road I’m walking!! xo
Thanks for sharing the struggle of bonding. My husband and I did foster care awhile back, with the intention of adopting, and we both struggled with the bonding process. It took us a long time to realize that bonding takes a long time. Others who had not adopted didn’t understand our struggle, the constant desire to feel like a family but trust was not there. As we embark on another adoption journey, we know now a little bit more than we did before and feel a bit more prepared, understanding that this process takes time.
Thanks for being open and honest to help educate us all.
I’m thankful you are embarking on the next journey with more information!! Adoption/fostering is such a delicate dance…but the Lord is good and faithful and gobs of pray and tons of loving perseverance is key!! PS Bless you for your kind words…so thankful others can better understand the journey…too many disruptions these days…breaks the hearts of everyone involved and everyone watching…
I love this post! How beautiful. It also reminded me of a little treasure my parents fostered when I was younger. Teaching her to bond was so difficult, and sadly, I don’t think we had her long enough for the message to take. Sweet little Birdie!
Awww, sweet little one. So thankful for the time your family poured into her broken little heart.
God is SO good! He has taught you unconditional, faithful love and now Birdie gets to experience and enjoy it too. Praise God for attachment! Smiling because I get it. Love to all of you!
Love you too friend!! You need to come winter in Phoenix this year. Tell your hubby. I could use some Danica time!!
This is precious Linny. thank you for sharing the whole story…flailing, screaming and all.
Will pray for you both even more.
Sandy in the UK
Thank you for praying Sandy!!
What a sweet picture…it reminds me of the Father’s love. How often I have screamed, and wailed, and pushed away, yet He is always there to draw me into His arms time and time again.
Isn’t that the truth? He takes us time and time and time again…no matter what!
A beautiful moment indeed! God continues to take care of everything that matters to us.
He is good, all the time!
What a wonderful moment! It looks like she’s been watching her big sister Ruby using her foot to express affection! I’m so glad that there was a camera handy. What an adorable little person she is and so happy that she now has so many people to love herx
L❤️VE!!! So thankful for those precious bonding moments with your sweet Birdie!
Melts my heart!
God bless you for your patience and unconditional love