Wednesday, April 25, 2012


A few months ago, I had hoped to update everyone on how we all were doing with attachment. It’s probably good that I didn’t write that post during one of my emotional lows (thanks Hubby!)  The truth is, it has been a very stressful time.

Remember the first time we met Maria?  I thought it was amazing how open she was to us and how quickly she began to call us Mama and Dada. (We later found out "Dada was her way of saying the generic term for "man")

She actually responds this way to E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. This is not healthy for children who do not understand the love of a family.  I know lots of kids with DS are affectionate, but if they are biological, they already come from a secure background- knowing mommy and daddy love them and will provide for their needs.

I have been working so hard to do things with Maria to form trust between us. I rock her to sleep before nap and bedtime. She loves it!  I do not leave her in the care of anyone besides my husband and me.  Sometimes I swaddle her; sometimes I feed her from a bottle. Lately we have been doing aqua therapy- the touch has been great for bonding.  

Despite all of this, there would be moments that left me feeling frustrated and angry that we really weren’t as bonded as I thought we were.  I remember one day at the park a few months ago. She ran up to a woman stranger and threw her arms around her, then reached up and asked her to pick her up.  I was so hurt and so furious at the same time.  To me, it felt like all the effort I had put in was worthless.   I went over to her and picked her up and told her “Mommy is here. If you need a hug, you can come to Mommy.”  The thing is, she rarely comes up to me for a hug or for me to pick her up like she did the stranger. 

Something that I would have done differently had I known that Maria would be having attachment issues, is to hold off on any therapy until she was home 6 months.  I know she has benefited from the therapy, but it has been so stressful for our family, I think we would have been better just getting to know her better and not adding in all the extra people to her life.

Maria has been home for 5 months now.  Within the last few weeks I have seen some very amazing signs that we are attaching better.

We went down to UCLA to have a sleep study done to see if Maria has sleep apnea.  When the nurse came in to affix the suction cups and wires, Maria didn’t try to get her attention and throw her arms around her. She actually looked at me with sad eyes and told me she was scared. She looked for Mama for comfort! This is HUGE!

Then the following week, we were at Physical Therapy.  The therapist had Maria do some new things that made her anxious.  Again, she didn’t throw herself on the therapist (like she used to do), but instead came to me for a hug and encouragement. 

Finally! There has been a breakthrough. I know it will just get better with time, but I am praising God for what He has done so far and for giving me hope to keep trusting.  

Before: July 2011

After: April 2012


  1. Aw, she looks like she's doing so well! And I'm glad bonding is going better.

  2. Thanks for letting us in on these details Gentry. I will be praying for these bonding moments for you and the family with Maria. She is blessed to have you and I can see you feel blessed to get the opportunity to love and care for her.

  3. Praising God for the signs of attachment she is showing! She will get it but she has so many years of "unlearning" to do. SO glad she has your family! She is going to really understand what it means to be loved!! She is such a cutie!!


Thank you for sharing your kind words!