When you are in the process of adopting an older sibling group, you probably have daydreams of shared moments. While shopping you may think, “this will be so fun with the children.” While passing a local attraction you may think, “I can’t wait to take the children there; I know they will love it.” Your daydreams may turn into reality if your adopted children are able to form positive attachments with you. Unfortunately, bonding with older adopted children is a two-way street. If your new children have suffered so much trauma before joining your family that they can’t or won’t attach, you cannot make them form an attachment. I was reminded of this tonight while reading a blog that Nancy wrote over at the reactive attachment blogs.
In an interview, Nancy learns that a boy felt that his foster parents had not made efforts to bond with him during the 10 years they parented him. She reminded us of her painful disappointment over her now adult adopted sibling group’s inability to bond with her. I know, by reading Nancy’s blogs that she made huge efforts to bond with her children and yet it didn’t happen.
I have an adult adopted daughter with whom we do not have a close loving bond. Unlike Nancy, I did not put a huge effort into bonding with her for the entire 11 years she lived with us. I did make a huge effort the first year she was here. We did stay committed to her and her adoption throughout her childhood, despite all the crazy things she did. We made sure that she had every opportunity a child should have to succeed in life.
She took piano lessons for eight years, participated in 4-H for 10 years, she went to Guatemala on a mission’s trip at 16, and I cosigned for a new car for her at 17. We sent her to summer camps for two or three weeks every summer and made sure she never missed church or youth group. For an entire year, I drove her to work and picked her up several times a week, until she was able to get her driver’s license.
Her crazy bazaar behaviors caused many an argument between my husband and me. It was hard work parenting her and many nights found me on my knees asking God to get me through the next day. If you ask her, she will tell you that she wasn’t that bad. She has told many people that I blew it all out of proportion, the feces, animal deaths, hurting siblings, destroying property, stealing, lying. Her latest story is that we kept her too sheltered while she was growing up and that is why she is living the wild life now.
Sometimes, the story sounds a little different, depending on who is telling it.
Photo Credit Roland Feb 2008
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