It wasn’t until our social worker pointed it out that we realised that we’d naturally been using thera-play with our daughter from the moment we met her

Thera-play is, quite simply, little games that you play with your child to help with bonding and attachment between you. It really should be taught more to all parents but it’s concentrated mainly on adopted children to help those attachment issues which may (or may not) be very apparent because of their backgrounds and history.

Anyway, we realised very quickly that our daughter was bonding with us (but still going back to the FC if she was very upset which was reassuring for us as well as her) and we now know why. Firstly we were using lots of eye contact all the time. We are people who do that anyway, but with her we were doing it almost constantly – which felt intense at some points but also very natural. In the first ten minutes of meeting her, she came up to us and stared up at me, in my eyes, for about ten minutes! It was amazing! She obviously recognised us from the photos the FC had shown her every day in the 2 weeks running up to meeting her. It was magic!

Then there were the games we played in the following 5 days with her which is where the bonding, with both of us, really showed. All very simple;

Passing game: We just passed an object, any object, between us. I would tell her to pass it to Daddy and she would do it and he said thank you. He would then pass it back to her (while saying thank you for her) and then he would tell her to pass it to me and I would do the same. Hours of fun and it really worked! The trust was building and she found it funny, and very serious at times!

Peek-a-boo: This was brilliant because she’d go to one end of the sofa and one of us would go to the other and she’d either peek under, over or around the side of it. This resulted in LOTS of eye contact! And then I shout “go and get him, quick, quick, quick” and she crawls really fast to the other end of the sofa where her Daddy is and laughs and giggles while looking at him upside down!

Row Row: This is her favourite thing ever! The classic “Row Row Row Your Boat” but the most amazing thing is that she instigates it. I remember the first time she did it. The FC started singing it when she was on my knee. She started rocking slightly but decided that she needed more leverage, looked down at my hands, picked each one up, held on for dear life and started rowing……like mad!!!!! Now she’s taught us how she likes to do the “row row” we do it all the time and she loves it! It’s a really recognisable tune to her as well so when I started playing it on the piano she started to do the actions….unfortunately I can’t play and hold hands at the same time so that made for an interesting “row row”!

We’ve found that all of this has helped hugely with how we’ve gained her trust and how comfortable she feels around us. It also helps as distraction techniques when she’s a bit upset about anything. And she adores music, she either wiggles or just ‘conducts’ with her hand. Either way it takes her mind off being upset.

But, I have to say, the bracelets still win hands down! 
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