Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Signs of attachment

It looks like we're over the pox, hardly worse for wear except for a few days of feeling generally under the weather and a bit itchy! Contact has been cancelled for the week as we weren't sure whether Jack-Jack would suddenly wake up covered in spots, which is quite a good thing as he's been very clingy the last few days and I wouldn't have liked to send him off for two hours in the car.

He's shown some positive signs of attachment and settling in this week. On Monday we ran into a colleague of Esmeralda's in the supermarket who's never met Jack-Jack before. She leaned down towards the pushchair to say hello, and for the first time since he came to us, he seemed uncertain and looked to me for reassurance! Up until now he's smiled at absolutely everyone, showing no distinction between friend and stranger, so this is huge progress. For a couple of weeks now he's been reaching out to either Esmeralda or me if he's being held and he wants the other person to hold him, but now he's also showing his preference when he's down on the floor, and will crawl over to our feet (at speed, making his happy noises) and wiggle his arms and legs in the air to show that he wants to be picked up, rather than just staying where he was and screaming. The most recent development (just in the last day or two) is that he's been content to lie in his cot chatting and singing to himself before he drops off at naptimes (and bedtime if he hasn't fallen asleep on the bottle) rather than screaming (which was regularly happening whether we were there with him/holding him or not). He's spontaneously snuggling into us for cuddles when being held, and is making a bit more eye contact too, it's so rewarding to see him relax a little more each day. Hopefully the backwards step that has been noticeable after each contact will get less and less as he attaches to us and realises that he's safe and loved here.


  1. I'm not sure if this question is a little intrusive or insensitive, if you think it is, I won't be at all offended if you discard it ...

    I'm wondering about attachment though. It's often a question that pops in to my mind when considering fostering as an option for my own future. Obviously a part of your 'job' is to encourage it, to help the baby/child learn positive attachment and trust - but what about the fact that no-one knows how long your relationship with this child will last? What will the impact on him be if he learns to trust you and then is taken away from you? Do you feel you naturally hold back a little in giving all of yourself, knowing that one day you might have to say goodbye?

    I hope all of you are well :)

    1. Hello :)

      It's not insensitive at all, it's a really valid question. People used to think that foster carers should hold back emotionally so that a child "saves" those strong attachments for his forever family, but it's generally agreed now that the stronger and more secure the attachment with the foster carers that the child has, the better, as if they've made those connections once, they can do it again. If those pathways in the brain are never formed, then the child is set up for attachment disorders and emotional difficulties further down the line.

      There are some really good books on the subject of attachment that I'd recommend you have a look at if you're thinking about fostering. We read "Building the bonds of attachment" by Daniel A. Hughes during our assessment, and have had "Attachment, trauma and resilience" by Kate Cairns recommended to us by another foster carer. The series of books by Cathy Glass are also very good - she's an experienced foster carer who writes under a pseudonym about some of the children she's cared for.

  2. I just reread my question - it sounded very cold and negative, I do hope you don't see it that way - I'm only asking as these are my own worries when thinking about fostering.