This week’s session was all about attachment, an essential part of any child’s development. We don’t often consider how important a step attaching to a caregiver is for a newborn baby, since in many cases it just happens naturally without too much thought.
Our instructors used a Post-It Note to illustrate how easy it is to disrupt attachment and affect future relationships. They gave each of us one to stick on our table, and every time the word the word “attachment” was mentioned, we were to lift the Post-It, and stick it back down again. It didn’t take too long for those Post-It Notes to start to curl up from the table and the non-sticky parts ended up sticking straight up. Our instructors pointed out that this is how it works with kids. Every time a baby, child or teenager is forced to uproot from the family they’re with (good or bad), they lose a little bit of their natural ability to attach to a new family, and it becomes harder and harder with each move. This causes problems with behaviour and trust issues surface. Relationships with foster and adoptive parents, friends, spouses, bosses, and siblings can be seriously affected. We learned a few tricks for helping attachment along, and in the reading I’ve done, I noticed that it’s quite often recommended that adoptive parents do ALL of the caring, cuddling and comforting for the first while with any child. Even to the point of not allowing others to hold a newly adopted baby for the first several months. We definitely learned a lot!
We also talked a bit about the issues that may come up when a child has experienced abuse in their lives. The instructors had a video for us to watch that in their words “is 20 seconds long, but feels like it’s 5 hours long”. It was from a little girl’s perspective of living in a home where verbal, physical, and sexual abuse was happening. Nothing was explicit, it was all implied, but by the end I was entirely tensed up, and my hands had balled themselves up into tight fists. When one of our instructors turned on the lights and told us to take a deep breath, I realized it wasn’t just me that was so affected by this short video. I think it really brought all of the tedious paperwork and so many weeks of training back into perspective. If the intense screening and training process is what it takes to provide a safe place for a child like the girl in the video, it’s all worth it. It created a lot of conversation for the ride home, that’s for sure!
We still haven’t heard who our social worker will be, but I’m hoping we will in the next couple of weeks.
I also should take the opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU! to the two families who are making it possible for us to attend training. They know who they are :-). One family is watching our kids for the entire evening each week, while another family is picking up our oldest part way through the evening to take him to Youth Group, and bringing him back. We have awesome friends, and we’re so grateful that they’re willing to help us out! Thank you guys!!