It was heartwarming to see her beaming with such happiness on Easter Sunday. She could sense the excitement of her sisters and her own enthusiasm was just as contagious. It really hit home to me that morning that she was indeed quickly learning her place in our family. She relished her sisters showing her the toys she received in her Easter basket, she laughed and clapped in delight when she saw her sisters smiling at her accomplishments. She knew us well enough to sense our joy.
One thing that has really brought about so much more bonding for us has been the change in our feeding patterns. Although Juliana is almost 14 months and she is doing much better at eating table food, she still takes a bottle 3-4 times a day. I knew heading into this adoption how important it is to hold the baby and the bottle during feeding times. I had attempted this, but when Juliana got too fussy (which usually was accompanied with throwing up), I would give up. I thought it was more important that I not upset her. I was wrong. About a month ago, I made a decision to be firm with this no matter how upset she got. The first few attempts were met with horrible fits, and it took more than a week for her not to cry when I sat in the rocking chair. Now she looks forward to these times and doesn't fight me.
This firmness has led to real bonding. I regret not having done this much, much earlier. She cuddles with both dh and I much more, she looks us in the eye for longer periods of time, and it has helped us settle into a better routine. She isn't wandering around with a bottle all day long helping herself, but rather getting one on a fairly steady schedule. Next time around, I will be more forceful about this from the beginning.