Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bonding with Baby

I got a comment last night that made me realize that I might have accidentally glazed over the issue of the two weeks before letting anyone see the baby.

The idea is that when babies are born, they have had 9 months being close to the mother's heart and hearing her voice. So they are naturally bonded with the woman that gives birth to them. For adoptive parents, we haven't had that time - so we have to get in there and focus on letting them get to know us and bond with us.

The recommendation from the adoption agency has a couple of moving parts that go with this process of bonding with the baby.

The first is that they've asked us to sleep with a small stuffed animal right now for a couple of weeks so that our scent (ewwww!) will be on the animal. We will seal it up inside a plastic bag, and deliver it to the adoption agency. Once our baby is born - during the first 48 hours - before the mother can sign away her parental rights... they will have the baby sleep with this animal so that they will start to get to know our scent. (Sort of sounds like we're a bunch of animals, but it makes sense too)

Then once the mother signs the relinquishment papers, we move into the more intense period of bonding with our baby. Which is why we aren't to have visitors for the first two weeks - the baby has to attach to us and bond with us as their parents.

So we are advised to hold the baby - skin to skin contact is reccommended - and I have been advised to buy a sling to wear the baby close to me so that they will learn my heart beat and voice.

Additionally, they have told us that we need to immediately begin making purposeful eye contact with the baby. There is some interesting information in some of the books we've read for the adoption about eye contact with babies. Somewhere in my reading - it said that if you look at babies that are roughly a month or two old... when their eyes look like they are darting around - it is because they are looking for eyes to connect to. They really need the eye contact - and I just think that is another of the amazing miracles of the human body and God's creation. It's very clear even from that early in life that we are made to be relational.

Once we get through those first two weeks - we'll be on the road to bonding and from there people can come and hang out with us!!

We are so excited to see where this journey takes us, and even more excited to get it started... it is hard for me to imagine sometimes what it would be like to have someone look at me one day - just me... and then within an instant be given a child that is mine to raise. What an incredible responsibility - and an awesome wonder... and I intent to soak it up 100% during those first two weeks!
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