Doug and Deanne Walker have 19 children, 10 of whom are adopted. These loving parents have been up and down and all around adoption, and seem to me to be an endless bucket of adoption knowledge and wisdom. On top of that, the Walkers are welcoming, inviting, and friendly! This series of articles covers everything from being an organized home executive to failed adoptions to finding the right agency. So as you read, imagine taking a comfortable spot on Deanne’s sofa as she openly shares her insight into each topic.
Touch is a powerful form of communication and essential to bonding. We are physical beings who respond positively to touch. Studies show that the best thing for a baby right after birth is to lay skin-to-skin on mom. That touch is vital! And the importance of touch doesn’t diminish. We all need it. So it makes sense that adopted children–especially those whose beginnings were less than favorable–need touch more than anyone. And my experience has taught me that those who resist it the most actually need it the most. Studies have shown that touch stimulates neurons in the body which create a variety of emotions and chemicals in the brain– thus affecting feelings.
Deanne’s experience with her 18 children has taught her that the more you hug and kiss a child that has bonding issues, the faster they heal. Even her teenagers get forehead kisses, shoulder rubs, and big bear hugs regularly. And for those who wipe off their kisses? . . . Then the game begins! “You wiped off my kiss??? …. That’s it! You’ve had it now!” The house erupts in laughter as that child’s face gets covered in kisses.
These parents absolutely know that acting out with negativity means the child is feeling rejected and unloved. And this means the child is needing positive attention. Hugs, tickles, pats on the back, hand holding . . . it all helps.
Deanne told me, “I don’t know how it works–I just know it does. There’s an energy that goes from us to them when we touch. There is physical and emotional healing that takes place.” She then reminded me about the power of touch written about in the Bible–in the New Testament. It was just a touch of Christ’s robe that healed a woman; His touch healed the blind, the lepers, and the lame. All around us is the truth of the importance of touch. Deanne rarely has a free hand–her hands are either being held, or in hugs, or she is playing with a daughter’s hair or scratching a back. Truly, the hands of a mother are doing their best work when touching her children.
More from the Walkers: