What Should I Expect When Trying To Bond With My Adopted Child?
After completing the adoption process, families are rightfully excited to get started on their next life chapter. While it may feel like the most strenuous part of the process is over, like any family, there are still challenges that you and your adoptive families face after being formed through adoption. These challenges are familiar to many families but can be overcome to help you bond with your adopted child.
One of the most crucial elements of creating a solid foundation with your family is carefully considering how you start bonding with your adopted child/ren. We know every child is different, but understanding each child’s unique needs when forming healthy attachments is the key to starting off on the right foot.
Keep reading to see some common things you can expect when trying to bond with your adopted child, how you can prepare for them, and how to go forward from there.
Expect This Process To Take Time
First, you must acknowledge for yourself and your family that strong bonds are not formed overnight. Bonding with your adopted child takes time, you simply can’t expect a child in a new environment to be fully acclimated and comfortable with you. By understanding and expressing to your adopted child that you know building a great foundation can take time, you will take unnecessary stress off of both of your shoulders.
Instead of forcing a connection, let it develop naturally as you continue to supply your child with love and support. Strong relationships take time; they are hard to fabricate despite anyone’s best efforts. Don’t get frustrated if your bond isn’t progressing at the same pace you anticipated. Time is your friend and can give you opportunity after opportunity to prove your dedication to your family and adopted child.
Along with understanding bonding with your adopted child will take time, make sure you are giving space when it is needed. For many children, feeling suffocated or constantly watched can be overwhelming. Strike a balance between staying engaged and allowing for solitude when necessary.
Know That Children Crave Stability
Like most people, routines and stability can make all the difference when it comes to children growing up. Having something they can depend on to be consistent provides security and predictability, something that not all children are familiar with.Find out what you need to expect when bonding with your newly #AdoptedChild and how to set up your family for long-term success via @NEChildrensHome:
A solid way to establish stability is by creating predictable and consistent routines. Having an outlined morning and evening routine can take the sometimes scary guesswork out of what their new daily lives are going to look like. Being able to depend on routines to bookend their days, even at a new and slightly foreign location, can provide great comfort in times of change.
While bonding with your adopted child, it’s important to acknowledge routines they may have had before and try to integrate them into the new routines you are establishing as a family unit. This can help ease the transition into your home and show that you are interested in the patterns and routines that make them feel safe.
Additionally, be clear about house rules and expectations. These don’t need to be lengthy and intimidating. As long as they cover the basics and can provide some guidance, they will be wonderful. By establishing expectations and emphasizing house rules as they join your household, you can provide additional comfort by allowing your adopted child to learn about their new surroundings at their own pace but within healthy parameters.
Acknowledge Insecurity In Their New Surroundings
Children may feel insecure in their new homes. After all, it is a new place with new people and expectations. As an adoptive parent, it’s important to reiterate your love and support for your adopted children. While you may think you express it enough or don’t need to because your adoption journey speaks for itself, taking the extra time to verbalize these feelings to your adoptive child can help strengthen your bond.
Help build confidence by encouraging your adopted child to flex their skills. Bring out opportunities for them to act on their interests, whether it be making art, playing music, practicing sports, or anything else that would encourage their skill-building. By showing that you’re interested in their interests and their development within them, you can help your adopted child feel more secure in their new home.
Understand Adopted Children May Miss Their Previous Home Lives
While this is a gigantic life shift for you, this is just as big for the adopted child. Their pasts might have included special traditions and celebrations. Take the time to ask and learn about these traditions. For example, you can ask:
- What did birthdays look like in your previous home?
- What holidays are important for you to celebrate?
- What’s your favorite time of year, and how do you welcome that season?
By honoring and learning about these previous traditions, you get better insight into what makes your adopted child happy and comfortable. Make sure to keep the important elements in your adoptive child’s life. This will help ease feelings of grief and loss about their previous home lives.
Plus, you should seek out new traditions to make with your adopted child! Have them help you come up with ideas and activities they love. By giving them the opportunity to collaborate with you on something fun that will likely be repeated for years to come, you can give your adopted child the confidence that their opinions will be heard by you.
Bonding with your adopted child doesn’t boil down to a specific formula. After all, every child is different and responds differently to relationship-building techniques. Most importantly, as long as you have the best interest in mind for your adopted child, you can rest assured your bond will strengthen and develop naturally over time.
For families formed through adoption or guardianship, NCHS’s Families Forever program is here for support. Our connections to community resources, one-on-one peer support, and educational courses can help you strengthen and deepen relationships within your family.
Families Forever helps connect you to the resources and outlets available to help you overcome the challenges facing your family. Together, you can work to enhance and strengthen your relationships.
Find out more by reaching out here.