In my previous post, I discussed the benefits of family stretching exercises.  The adopted child will undoubtedly need help with his or her own stretching exercises beginning with the initial placement, and even more so during the long bonding years ahead with the blessed forever family.

I remember when I ran track in high school.  We had several warm-up stretches we did in pairs with another team-mate.  Those were more fun as they were in social relationship with a trusted friend, and they stretched us even further than the individual exercises. The two-person hamstring stretch was extremely crucial to a good warm-up as the hamstring provides force from the legs, but also helps the athlete’s back. 

You might enjoy reading the instructions below I found on eHow:

How to Do a Two Person Assisted Hamstring Stretch

By Lori Newell, eHow Contributor
1.  When you are stretching someone else, it is best to use your body weight and lean into versus pushing the person into the stretch. As soon as you start to push, the receiver’s automatic reaction will be to tighten and resist you. In contrast, if you lean into the stretch it is much more comfortable to receive and it is easier to give since you are not using muscular force.

2.  Have the receiver lie on the floor on their back, with their knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Have them bring their right knee into their chest and then straighten the leg, pressing the foot to the ceiling.

3.  Stand on their right side in a lunge position with your right foot forward around their shoulder or armpit and your left foot near their hip. Stand close to the person so you can use good body mechanics.

4.  With your left hand clasp their heel. Grasp it firmly but be careful to not squeeze too hard. Gently pull upwards on the heel to stretch the Achilles tendon located in the back of the ankle. Place your right palm on the sole of their foot. Gently press the toes down, flexing the foot.

5.  Holding this position, start to lunge forward and use your body weight to move the receiver’s right leg closer to their chest. Go until the receiver tells you they feel a stretch. Make sure you do not go too far. The receiver should be able to tolerate you holding the stretch for thirty seconds

6.  Have the receiver take several deep breaths and relax into the stretch. Do not bounce the leg–hold the stretch still. The receiver’s knee does not have to be straight. The main thing is that they should feel it in the back top of the thigh.

7.  Hold for thirty seconds or longer. Repeat with the other leg.

Item 1. is bolded as I found it very helpful and was a great parallel to helping our adopted kids ‘stretch’.  We need to ‘lean into’  and not ‘push’  so our kids will not ‘tighten’ and ‘resist’ when we help them. This also helps us not wear out as quickly while we help them.  Some two-person ‘team stretching’ your adopted child needs your assistance with might include:

  • building trust that you will never leave or forsake him or her, which means unconditional love forever
  • developing the belief that he or she has infinite worth in the sight of God, and in your family’s hearts
  • working through the phases of grief from loss of day-to-day living with birth parents
  • assistance with resolving interpersonal relationship disputes 
  • modeling and living the Biblical principles of love, repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness

These exercises mostly speak to the emotional and social aspects of life and simply can not be accomplished alone.  Working through these exercises with your child will be like training for a  marathon or triathlon.  It takes teamwork to participate in this life-long event called Adoption.