What a great idea for a new Friday blog hop - write a letter to anyone, as serious or silly as you want, on any topic, and then link up!
I had a hard time choosing a topic, especially since your blog Traded Dreams is about your family and mine is a pet blog, so my followers might not get the connection. But then I realized that the pet bloggers are interested in supporting pet adoption and a lot of your readers are interested in issues around foreign or domestic adoption of children. It's kind of a no-brainer that talking about how we bond as adopter/adoptees might work for this first post.
You were so worried about how Mareto would bond to you and John when you brought him home from Ethiopia! Some of the advice you got seemed a little extreme to me and I was relieved that once he was really here you let us hold him. Once you even handed your Dad the bottle and let him feed him.
Which brings me to oxytocin.
Yes, that's the hormone used to induce labor. When mothers give birth they are flooded with oxytocin and scientists now know that this is the bonding hormone too. New mothers have a natural drug pushing them to start caring for their newborns. And it isn't just people that release oxytocin and bond to babies, mates, and group members as a result!
It turns out that many mammals produce extra oxytocin when they are touched, held, and stroked. Then oxytocin starts a positive feedback loop in the brain by causing emotions of love and attachment, which of course leads to more touching and holding. How cool is that?
|Bonding with your brother.|
So because you ignored the advice to not let anyone hold your new baby, you helped us bond to our new grandson! I wasn't really worried too much about it, because I've always loved our new dogs from the day we adopted them, so how hard could it be to love a sweet baby boy? But credit nature for helping accelerate the process. Puppies and babies - who can resist petting and holding them? And when we stroke our pets or touch other humans, we get other benefits like calm feelings, lowered blood pressure, and lowered cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
One other thing about oxytocin. Since Mareto is autistic, it's interesting that there's been some research on autistic children and animals. The scientists found out that autistic kids get a big oxytocin boost from spending time with animals, even if they don't like being touched by other people (thankfully Mareto isn't averse to being held). The oxytocin helped the children feel calmer and focus on learning. The children who had time every day being taught to care for a pet made more progress over time than the ones who just kept to their normal school routine.
As far as I know the researchers didn't look into how much the animals in the study learned :D!
I hope your hop has a successful launch today and that you get lots of visitors to all the blogs who join in -