Bonding, Attachment and Adoption
A strong positive bond is important in an adoption because it provides the foundation to meet the child’s needs for care, protection, nurturance, consistency and love, which helps facilitate the child’s attachment to the parent.
All parenting experiences include ups and downs, but having insight into ourselves and our own experiences not only helps us negotiate relationships more effectively, it also helps parents bond with their children. This is because parents are better able to reflect on how certain parenting struggles can serve as triggers based on the parents’ own histories, rather than placing all of the blame on the child (or adoption).
Prior to adoption being finalized and the child coming home – it is important for parents to develop a truthful and coherent story about adoption. This begins to weave the life of the family together. However, it is vital that how this story is communicated with the child (at various ages) is not only one of acceptance and warmth, but is also attentive to the child’s developmental level. This way, as with all children, the core central story of the family and adoption is simple and honest, but it can be added to and expanded upon as the child grows.
Having a basic understanding of child development and the child’s pre-adoptive history helps parents feel more competent. It can also help with bonding as they realize certain behaviors are present for most children, thereby reducing potential feelings that difficulties may be due to adoption. It also helps parents attend to the behavioral cues a child gives in order to express their needs. Attention to these details helps us bond and connect with our children.
Nesting and physically preparing the room or space for the child facilitates the process of bonding for all parents, birth or adoptive. In taking the time to do this, parents begin the process of experiencing their child as a unique and special member of their family.