PREVIOUS ARTICLE

You've Adopted an Older Child..

SHOW ALL ARTICLES

All Adoption Stories

NEXT ARTICLE

Other Gods Before Me

Will My Child Love Me?

Bonding & Attachment Single Parent Adoption Azerbaijan Bulgaria Hong Kong Kazakhstan Armenia

0 Comments 4 Stars (43 Ratings)

  Written by Sue Anderson on 06 Nov 2008

The greatest fear during the adoption process is often only whispered between a husband and a wife. Perhaps one single-soon-to-be mom shares her anxiety with others on an email group. Sometimes the words are never spoken aloud: Will I love this child? Will she be able to love me? What if we don't ever bond?


Observation and research over the past fifty years tell us the period from birth through three years of age is the most favorable time for children to form a bond with their families. Furthermore, more recent research has confirmed the significance of the in utero experience for the un-born child. Nevertheless, adoptive parents have no need for undue concern as we also know developing a bond with an adopted child is not unlike the process of building one with a biological child.

Successful adoptive families share key factors that contribute to the bonding process. The availability of a support system or support group who has traveled the same journey has been shown to be extremely valuable in sharing knowledge and experiences in facilitating bonding with an adopted child. Additionally, parental knowledge of general child developmental dynamics and a positive perception of one's own parenting ability increase confidence and therefore enhance the bonding experience for parent and child.

When parents are flexible in their rule making and decision-making and are willing to spend time alone as a couple, both the couple and adopted child benefit. The importance of a sense of humor and the need for open communication in the marriage are important in all healthy families and should not be overlooked.

Bonding after adoption is a parent initiated learning experience. No matter the child's age, parents who are proactive in developing a bond with their child create an ongoing positive reciprocal relationship in which the adoptive child learns, as does the biological child, over time to respond constructively to feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. The behaviors of each family member serve as both a trigger and response for one another.

By being sensitive, consistent, and emotionally present, the parent satisfies the child's needs which leads to a reduction in anxiety and increased sense of trust and security. The child's development of trust in the parent's ability to consistently and satisfactorily address their needs leads to their sense of connection and belonging.

Adoptive parents need a variety of techniques to facilitate the bonding experience. Initially, they may feel awkward or uncomfortable in initiating the bonding experience with an older infant, toddler, or child. Some adopted children recoil or withdraw when approached by the parent, which can exacerbate the situation. The parent's ability to detach from the rejection and proceed with a different approach or at a slower speed shows respect for the child and fosters the developing bond.

Responding to the child's needs or demands in a nurturing manner even when the child is highly emotional encourages trust and recognition the child is lovable to the parent no matter what. Maintaining eye contact and genuine thoughtful loving touch promote a sense of being cared for and accepted. The warmth conveyed in a loving shared gaze is timeless and both parent and child bask in the enjoyment. Closeness can also be achieved through proximity in sitting together or hugging or patting a shoulder. Reenactments of earlier developmental tasks such as feeding, singing, and holding all serve to develop and strengthen the bond between child and parent.

The moments of anger and frustration experienced by child and parent are also opportunities for bonding. Underlying many tantrums and outbursts are the fear and anxiety the adopted child has he or she will be permanently rejected and suffer the loss of family yet again. However, over time, the repeated positive experiences the adoptive family shares together outnumber the frustrating painful ones and lead to a sense of not only being known but being genuinely loved and accepted for one's true self.

A child's adjustment to an adoptive family relies to a great degree on the quality of parenting received after adoption as well as the quality and nature of earlier bonding experiences and his/her reactions to separation and loss. Families who are emotionally and mentally equipped and receive adequate support and resources are highly likely to be successful in dealing with the challenges bonding with an adopted child can present.

Bonding, the sense of belonging together, is a precursor of love. It may take work and absolute commitment to the bonding process, but the love will come and grow.

Susan Anderson, MSW is a frequent contributor to RainbowKids.com. She lives in Oregon with her two blessing through adoption. This article may be re-printed without prior permission, as long as author credit and a link to the publisher, RainbowKids.com , is given. RainbowKids.com strongly recommends the book "The Connected Child" by Karyn Purvis to families who wish to encourage bonding and attachment with their child.

 

 




RATE THIS ARTICLE

43
Ratings
This article is currently rated 4 stars

SHARE WITH FRIENDS

 EMAIL   PRINT   SAVE 
comments powered by Disqus

View All Adoption Stories


  • Contact Wizard
  • Family Profile
  • Photolisting

RainbowKids.com is an Adoption Advocacy Website. We are the largest and oldest, online website helping people to adopt from multiple countries. Through RainbowKids, thousands of special needs and waiting children have found families... READ ABOUT US

STAY CONNECTED!

MOST RECENT UPDATES

RAINBOWKIDS TWEETS


  • @RainbowKidsNews Families Found Friday! These 11 will soon be coming home to their loving families. 4,625 children continue to wai… https://t.co/NLaTsRcGQJ

  • @RainbowKidsNews This sweet little boy is 2, and waiting! https://t.co/0V50oP5vZv https://t.co/EETv4Ekxd8

  • @RainbowKidsNews Tess, 12, waits! https://t.co/7h5xAHGrgS https://t.co/K8sBJmB2iK

  • Read all tweets
    RainbowKids.com © Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved
    Log in    |    Sign up    |    Home