This post has been bouncing around in my head for a couple weeks and I debated if I should share it. But, I felt like I really needed to. I can't believe that I'm the only one who needs to *hear* it.
Adopting an older child is different. Many times, it's difficult. Many times, it's wonderful. Our older kids have developed so many coping skills. Some of these kids learn how to build up walls so that nobody can get close. Getting them to tear down their barriers and let people in is a painstaking process. You can see right at first that there is a bonding issue. Then you have other kids (like mine) who have learned how to charm. They have developed a knack for wrapping everyone around their finger. These kids easily give out hugs and kisses and say cutesie things that make everyone laugh. But their bonding and attachment is just as big an issue as the kids who won't let anyone in.
When Vlado first came home, we tried to make him understand that it wasn't good to kiss everyone. (He didn't hug many people at first) High fives were common. The people at school were good with the physical affection thing too. (Insert more high fives). I thought we were doing really well with bonding. I mean, he knows we are his Mama and Daddy. I really believe school helped with that. He learned that the other kids had grown ups that came to get them at the end of the day and we were his. He looks to us for help when he needs it and will readily climb up into our laps to snuggle.
He doesn't hug me often (unless I initiate it), but he does hug all of our co-workers and some other people we know. I didn't really think much about it. But, the other day at the grocery store, I had a little eye opener. Vlado went up to a total stranger (she was kneeling down to get something) and hugged her and kissed her cheek. She thought it was adorable, but my heart sank. People around us just don't understand that this is a bad thing. And his communication isn't at the point that I can explain to him why it isn't good to trust just anyone. We are back to the point that hugs and kisses are reserved for me and Honey. I am afraid of offending people who have grown to love Vlado, but truly, my son's attachment to us is paramount right now. We should be beyond this at almost 7 months home, but it is my fault that I wasn't as diligent as I should have been. Back to the drawing board. :(