Adopting the Older Child, part 4: Affection

When my boys wake up I hug them. When they leave for School I kiss and hug them, tell them I love them and to have a good day. When they come home from school I make them hug me. When they go to bed Dean and I take turns tucking them in, and praying with them while hugging them each close to us. No matter what happens during the day, no matter if they did something bad, made me mad, or misbehaved. This bed time routine occurs.

I make EVERYONE that hugs me in my family, do it with both arms, no half hugs accepted. I do this with Evangeline and my niece Megan who lives with us too but not as much as I would like, they get so busy being teenagers, I get less hugs the older they get, so I take them randomly throughout the day. But I'm talking about the boys now because I want to illustrate how important affection is...even when you don't FEEL it, to the bonding that needs to happen after adopting an older child.

There are many times that I have to make myself reach out to Abel, I don't feel like hugging him. No, I'm not mad at him or anything like that, It's just not a natural reflex yet like it is with Steele or Evangeline. Something says "You don't have to hug him if you don't feel it" but that is simply not true. I do have to hug him, just like my other kids, if not more, whether I want to or not.

The counselor we see told him on our second visit to her that his homework was to hug Dean and I, heart to heart, everyday, at least once. So he would come up to me and say "homework mom" and hold out his arms for a hug. And when he started to forget his "Homework" I reminded him, we needed some heart to heart time.

You know what the most wonderful thing is about all this hugging when I don't "feel" it? The minute WE are in the embrace something melts. A softening occurs in me and in him. I feel him let go a little more, our hearts together, in that moment I think "I'm so glad I am doing this. I love him. I feel it"

I know why the enemy will do anything to keep us from embracing our kids. Because this is where love grows. Affection grows. Healing for all takes place. Don't listen to your flesh or the Devil, reach out to your kids. Make it a habit, routine, whatever you need to do. If they have been traumatized by touch before coming into your home, try applying lotion to their face, arms and legs each day, tell them you need to do it so they wont get ashy (which is true if they are children of Color) or use Brush Therapy. But connect, physically with your new child somehow everyday. So love can grow.


Erin Moore said…
love this post, great reminder.

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