Have you ever heard of the five love languages? I was visiting with one of my friends the other day, and I told her my daughter is overly affectionate. Now, my daughter came from foster care, and she probably wasn’t given much attention and love, and I think she craves it. She does respect proper boundaries with people outside her family because we have worked on that with her, but she likes a lot of affection from her dad and me.

Okay, now back to the conversation with my friend. She told me about a website that helps you figure out how you express your love, and I decided to go there and see what she was talking about.

On the website you can do a profile for yourself or for your child; I of course did both. I found out I’m the type of person who shows love through the things I do, meaning I’m the type of person who shows love and affection for my family members by taking them places they want to go to or by doing their favorite things. In other words, I show my love through the service I give them. I found out that my daughter shows love by being outwardly affectionate, by giving hugs and kisses. I was interested to learn that because I show love one way, and she shows love another way, she may not understand my language of love. It’s as if I’m speaking Chinese to her and she’s speaking German to me.

I took the classes that the state says you have to take before you can adopt, and I remember the instructor said that when you have a baby you start together and then grow apart, but when you adopt from foster care, you start apart and then grow together. This is the case in my relationship with my daughter. We are each trying to learn how the other shows her affection and love. She does not understand how I show my love since it is not outward all the time. I must now conform to how she shows her love so she’ll know how I’m feeling. I think this makes sense with most children who were in foster care, because they probably were not shown the affection and love that should have been shown to them.

They may see love in the form of hugs, kisses, and outward things like my daughter does. At 11 years of age she cannot get enough of being hugged. She has not moved to that stage where she wants her own space and I think she may not reach that stage for a long time. I plan to work more on giving affection to my daughter while she is willing to receive it. Meanwhile, I hope she knows that I do love her- I just show it a little differently at times!