Parents Share: "My Best Bonding Advice"

Adoptive moms and dads share their best advice for bonding with a newly adopted child, from taking time off to never leaving a child to cry it out at night.

An adoptive mom cuddles with her newly adopted baby to promote bonding

On our Facebook page (, we asked readers, What bonding advice would you give to a new adoptive parent? Here’s what you said:

When you adopt an older child, go gently. Don’t force it. Love your child just the way he or she is. The day your child starts being naughty is the day you’ve cracked it. My son took a year to go from being a ‘frightened rabbit in headlights’ and not putting a foot wrong to testing every limit he could. It was then that I knew that the bond between us was strong enough for him to feel able to test the boundaries. Unconditional love is everything with our children and, if they have had a difficult start like my son had, it can take a long time before they really trust. The feeling when you gain that trust, though—the most precious gift any child can bestow upon an adult.” —SUSY

“For families with two working parents, each parent should take leave, with some overlap, to extend the time baby has at home. This give the baby lots of time adjusting to the rhythm, smells, sights, etc., of home before moving to daycare.” —PAT

Never ever EVER practice the ‘cry it out’ method with your adopted infants/children!” —TOOTZ

Keep it small at home. Keep the number of relatives and friends to a minimum at first. We ended up doing this for about a year, and it worked out very well for us.” —CHRISTINE

“Listen.” —TOM

It depends on the age and history of the child. We adopted six- and nine-year-old girls. My favorite was finding some activity you both truly enjoy. Laughing together, looking into their eyes, is a great bonding tool. Also, find out their love language, and cater to it. With mine, hearing me call them my daughters when talking to others really meant a lot too.” —CARISSA

As an adoptive parent and a child development specialist, I would strongly encourage supportive counseling on bonding and attachment disorders. Infants and toddlers are affected by trauma and or loss much as older children. Being informed and having access to counseling assistance can greatly enhance the adoption experience for child and parent.” —SHERRY

“If they are young enough, wear them in a baby carrier. Plus, co-sleeping and lots of snuggles!” —BETHANY

“Know that everyone bonds differently—a silly song, knowing how to make them laugh, or a good-night routine can mean the world to you and your child.” —AMBER

If you adopt an infant, hold and hold some more.” —MARY

There is no such thing as spoiling a newly adopted child—hold as much as you want, cuddle as much as you want, hold hands as much as you want, don’t let them cry it out, be there and let your child know you’re there, and, mostly, CONGRATULATIONS!” —LYNDA



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