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Bonding with an Adopted Child

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As parents or expecting parents, we may have many concerns and worries about the upbringing of our children or future children. Where will they go to school? Will they grow up to be successful? Will they be kind and loving? As adoptive parents, we have these concerns plus others which are much more fundamental. Will my adopted child bond with me? More importantly, will I be able to bond with them? Additionally, adoptive parents who also have biological children may wonder, will I be able to love my adopted child in the same way I love my other children?

The first thing you need to know is that these are completely normal and natural feelings ANY parent experiences. Reassure yourself that you won’t be any less of a parent for having these fears. The second thing you may ask is, “How do I bond with my child?” At the most basic level, a child will form an attachment to their parent(s) if their needs are consistently met. Bonding with a child plays a crucial role in their development. The more sensitive you are to their needs, the more quickly and deeply you will bond. Children adopted as infants display no difference in their quality of attachment from nonadopted infants, according to Psychologist and author, Dr. David Brodzinsky.

Ways to strengthen the bond with your baby apply to all infants, adopted or not.

  1. Be consistent in your response to their needs.
  2. Talk to your baby and make eye contact with them.
  3. Provide as much physical contact; snuggles, hugs, kisses, as you can.
  4. Don’t neglect your own needs. Your baby will sense if you are stressed or burnt out.

You may not bond with your adopted child overnight and that is normal! Be patient with yourself and the process. Reach out to others who have been through the same situation. You will likely find out you aren’t alone. Most importantly, love your baby to the best of your ability and the rest will fall into place.

If you are interested in reading further on the topic of attachment and bonding, here are a few great places to start.

The Attachment Parenting Book : A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby

The Attachment Connection: Parenting a Secure and Confident Child Using the Science of Attachment Theory

The Everything Parent's Guide to Raising Your Adopted Child: A complete handbook to welcoming your adopted child into your heart and home

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