Monday, 19 October 2009

Attachment literature, anybody??

Just another plea for help from the interwebs here, folks!

After about two years of reading and thinking about adoption attachment, we've decided that nobody but us is going to hold / feed our babies for the first few weeks (at least) after we get home. Also, we've decided that for a while we won't have any visitors at our house - we want to keep this as a 'safe space' for the babies until they begin to understand that they are in a family, and we will always be there. This makes a lot of sense to us, and I know that everyone on this list, even if you have made different decisions for your own situations, will at least understand where we are coming from.

However! We are having difficulty working out how to communicate this information to family and friends. People have mostly been very supportive of us during the long process, and we know that they are all eager to meet and hold our twins. We want to explain to them that we are making these decisions, not because we dont' value the contribution that they will make to our children's lives, and not because we are overprotective and paranoid, but because our children have different needs and need to learn not just who their parents are but what a parent is. It turns out that this isn't easy for people to hear - basically they think we are crazy. Or stupid. Or both.

So, I'm wondering... has anybody got any tips for how to communicate this information? Has anybody written a letter (or found a good one on the internet!) that might be helpful for us to use as a template? In terms of information sheets, I've been able to find a lot about WHAT should be done to facilitate attachment, but much less successful finding bite-sized information on WHY, and I want people to understand that we really do have good reasons for these decisions! Any help gratefully received!

On a related topic - I do'nt really think I can ask our family to read weighty tomes on these issues, but one or two of the more interested have also asked for a recommendation of a short book or 'primer' on the topic of attachment (and particularly how attachment affects brain development). I've really, really enjoyed 'why love matters', but i think even that is probably too in-depth. Does anybody have any suggestions??


  1. I don't have it right in front of me, can look up the exact name when I go home later, but do a google search for 'why grandma can't hold the baby' - I saw it referenced in a big adoption book I had to read as part of my homestudy, and made a mental note in case I needed it later. I believe is like a pamphlet or booklet you can give to friends and family ahead of time so they understand what you're doing.

  2. I think I have an article that you will like....when I find it on my computer I will email it to you! :)

  3. I found the articles...but I can't find your email address. Email me at and I'll send them over.

  4. I'm missing an article for you, but just wanted to let you know you certainly aren't alone in this. My own mother decided to make it into her own personal joke about how "uptight" I was being. It sucked, but we knew we were making the right decision. And today? Today it is clear we made the right decision.

    Good luck!

  5. Hello!

    I follow an adoption blog that chronicles the life of a family with adopted twin boys from Haiti. The boys are now about 5 and they've had them since they were 8 months old. You can find it as a link on the side of my blog (called Party of Five). The mom has written quite a few posts (if you search the history) about attachment and what they did with their twins when they first brought them home. It might have some suggestions for family / friends.

  6. I am sure that you will find the articles that will help you and family members figure out this boundary. I have found that the same people who did not understand boundaries when my son came home are the same people who, to this day, four and a half years later, have the same trouble with me setting simple boundaries. I have come away with a clear understanding that there are two people who make these family decisions, mama and daddy. Stay true to your convictions.

  7. This period will be over by the time I get to England in the spring, right? RIGHT?!?!?!

    (Because it's aaaaaaall about me, doncha know...)

    Oh, this is going to be tough for you in other ways, too, because I know you're going to want to show them off and share them with everyone you love. But hang in there and just stay focused on those tiny, beautiful faces.

  8. First- Got my court date: Oct 21. Yup. found out yesterday that it is tommorrow. !!! YAY

    Ok- holding/feeding etc- Google "The Blanket". Actually I think there is still a link under my 'highlight real' on my blog. Follow it up with a statment of "This will be the 3rd or 4th or 5th stop in their life so far. 3times they bonded and thought this person would love me forever, that they would hold me just they way I like, that they would keep me safe, they would feed me etc etc etc.... Three times they've had to start all over. By now everything seems temporary. They will believe that we are temporary. As we all would had we'd experience their life."

    That is alot to take in. My suggestion is to give them bits of information over a period of time. So they have time to understand and comprehend. It is ALOT of HEAVY stuff. They will NOT really get it. But it is a beginning. Ive found that giving them part of stuff spread out has helped ALOT!! There is even a bit of a huneymoon period with them. The next part that I've tried to do with them... is to ease their minds a bit. Once they start to understand.. they start realizing all they DON"T know - and they get afraid to ask- because now they are a bit more sensitive to what it all means. So be clear that you encourage their questions. That there may be stuff you can not or will not answer but those are few and far between. Because MOSt of the stuff they want to ask isn't the hard stuff.. but it is often the FIRST thing.. so you get past that and it's easier. Ok that 's my two cents before running off to my meeting. Think good thoughts tonight before bed- dream of paperwork being signed!!

  9. C...we wrote a letter and it has a short article on the web for family to read. Email me at and I will send it to you right away! Much love,
    p.s. our decision was the same and though it was hard it was sooo worth it for our attachment and bonding process. Now our family is supportive of our decision as they have seen the benefit in D. and his attachment to us.

  10. We wrote a letter, let me know if you want a copy of it ( Our agency gave us an example and we edited it slightly to fit. Some people will be upset that they are not allowed to visit right away. Just like everything else dealing with adoption, you need to educate your family and friends about bonding. We had a great exercise about it in a class we took too. It went something like this. Imagine that someone you don't know shows up at your door and says that you must come with them, but you can take three people. Pick three. Before you leave they change it to two, then one, then you're alone. Our babies lose everything they know familiar sounds, familiar language, smells, people, climate, food, etc. Sometimes you just need to make others realize that our children are lose a lot when they are adopted.


Over to you!