Today marks 4 weeks since we received Ethan in Korea. In the time since, we’ve talked a lot about his adjustment (including this post last Friday), but we haven’t talked much about how well he is bonding with us.
When people meet Ethan (including some of you), particularly when visiting one of our 5 churches (we’ve now been to Faith, Hope, and 12th Street), we often hear remarks about how well he seems to be adjusting. At Hope, someone asked where the “screamer” was (he shows up every once in a while; fortunately, not at church yet). And while he has been pretty quiet at his first 3 worship gatherings (in 3 different locations), we have noticed that he is getting just a little noisier each time (we’re wondering what that means in future weeks!).
Anyway, to the bonding report.
Even in Korea, during our first full day together, Ethan showed signs of bonding with us. And certainly, on our trip home, we were thrust into a new world together, and Ethan needed us. Over the course of the next 4 weeks, we continue to bond more and more.
One thing we’ve noticed, though, is that Joleen is clearly the center of Ethan’s world right now. I’m moving toward the center, but for me it’s been a slower process. My theory, from the beginning, has been that in Korea, Ethan’s primary caregiver was his foster mother. As far as we know, she did everything, so Ethan is conditioned to view his mother as his primary caregiver.
While we’ve been intentional about learning the ropes together as much as we can (which is one reason we’ve both taken parental leave), Joleen’s bonding with Ethan has developed pretty naturally, but in my case, it’s taking a little more time and more work.
As we go forward, it will be important that Ethan also develops strong/healthy relationships with other people. Bonding with others will be necessary as we, someday, begin to rely on others to help care for Ethan (e.g. when we go back to work).
Joleen wrote about Ethan meeting and getting to know her mom and step-dad. Also, one of the reasons we’re looking forward to graduation (assuming we successfully defend our dissertations in April) is that my dad, step-mom, sister, and nephew will join us in Kentucky for a couple days (in late May).
But for now, our focus is on building the best relationship with Ethan that we can, especially in the focused/devoted time that we have.