As with many older adopted children, C has had, well, issues, with bonding with his father, A. In the first few weeks of visits and the early placement in our home C seemed to be ok with A. He would let him pick him up and rough house a little but seemed reluctant to get too close. We figured, ah let him get used to us – he’ll come around.
Now throw in there some sensory issues and we quickly came to see that for the most part C was not a cuddly kid. He disliked anyone trying to hold his hand but we sometimes would insist. He would initiate some closeness with me but definitely not A. In fact, after a month or so anytime A would touch him C would hurl himself to the floor and yell “You’re hurting me”. Makes for a difficult and tense relationship.
Over the years some progress has been made and I often catch C watching his father and younger brother rough housing – at times he will try to join but it often does not end well. He just can’t tolerate the hands on and he usually ends up in tears or angrily trying to punch someone.
More than just the physical contact though – C and A struggled to really connect. I just intuitively get C somehow, A not so much. It makes for some tense moments in our house when C will only come to me for comfort or assistance and his father is saying to him “I’m RIGHT here – I can help you”. It’s a complicated web of family functioning (or dysfunction??).
A few months ago C discovered Geocaching while on a Scouting outing. It’s the perfect meld of his passions – maps and treasure. Guess who else is a BIG fan of maps/geography – you guessed it A! So to my delight my dear husband and son could be found eagerly searching online, researching which GPS unit to purchase, signing up on Geocaching websites. For C’s birthday A gave him a GPS – he was in HEAVEN. This past weekend C was highly agitated and A took him out for several hours to geocache. C came back excited but much calmer – an amazing transformation had taken place. As C told me of his adventures he leaned into his Dad who was sitting on a bench at our entryway. He slung his arm around his Dad’s shoulders and leaned against him. When he finished telling about their adventure he turned and hugged his father and thanked him for taking him out. I had tears in my eyes and a huge smile on my face. After C walked away A told me “He took my hand”. It seems they were out walking, in search of a cache and C just took his fathers hand.
My wonderful husband waited 8 years for his son to take his hand. Now THAT is a father!