Ask AF: When Bonding Takes Time

If you feel like you're having trouble bonding with your child, don't worry — it's more common than you think.

Q: I feel terrible admitting this, but I’m having trouble bonding with the toddler we’ve been planning to adopt. We’ve been fostering him for four months. Should we go through with the adoption?

 

A: Many new parents — adoptive or biological — second-guess themselves and their love for their child during the bonding process. Their questions are even the same, though they may be framed differently. For example, a biological parent may wonder: “Where did this child come from? He isn’t like anyone else in the family.” An adoptive parent may think: “Will this child ever fit in — he’s so different from the rest of us.” Likewise, a biological mom may worry: “What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t being a mother come naturally to me?” An adoptive mom may think: “Maybe I’m not bonding with this child because he isn’t my ‘natural’ child….”

A foster-to-adopt situation, like yours, affords the opportunity to ask a lot of these questions. But think back to the day you met this little boy. Do you feel any more connected now than you did then? The expectation should not be to have formed an instant bond, but a relationship that feels “right,” and has potential to grow. You may want to work with a counselor (ask your social worker if she can refer you to one familiar with adoption) as you work through this decision.


Copyright © 1999-2019 Adoptive Families Magazine®. All rights reserved. For personal use only. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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