I’m quite a tactile person. Friends and family are more likely to be greeted with a hug then a mere hand shake from me. I like holding my husbands hand and showing affection to him in public. I know some people don’t like PDAs or being touched but that’s who I am. I’m a hugger and proud!
One of the exercises we completed during our prep course was to address those children for whom physical contact was an issue. We had to massage baby lotion into each others hand, cover it in talc and press onto black paper. The resulting pictures I will treasure for a long time. The point of the exercise was to turn physical contact from something to be feared or worried about, to something fun and relaxed.
What was amazing to me as we completed the exercise, was glancing around to room and seeing the mix of reactions. A few people were freaked out by allowing someone else to put lotion on their hands, or were generally bemused by the whole exercise. It made me wonder for a moment if my tactile nature was something that would be an issue for an adopted child.
I always pictured myself sharing big bear hugs with my child, or tickling them profusely just like my parents always did to use. Not a weekend goes by that dearest husband and I have descended into the madness of a tickle fight. For me, it’s a normal part of our crazy little family. It worried me that for a child who had never come across that kind of affection, they wouldn’t be able to settle into our family. Thankfully another exercise elevated my fears. We asked to to do a Family Finding exercise, where we had a biography of a Looked After Child and had to find the best family match out of three families. One of the points we were asked to consider was the fact that the child loved cuddles and adult attention. One of the family bios specifically said they were reserved in their physical affection to each other whereas the other two families both had it written that they loved to cuddle.
Reading those bios gave me a happy glow, but also made me understand the importance of getting our home study right. Whilst the fear regarding the home study and social worker visited is that they will be intrusive, I finally understand why. We need a child who wants cuddles and can deal with the affection they will get on a daily basis.
Even though they say love isn’t enough, it’s a start…