As she anticipates the release of her documentary Hayden & Her Family, the filmmaker reconnects with the mother of 12 she profiled to discuss special needs adoption, parenting outside “normal” boundaries, and how loving a child changes you.
Bonding and Attachment After Adoption - Advice & Personal Stories
Stories and advice from parents and adoption experts about bonding and attachment with a newly adopted child.
As I prepared to adopt my second child, I welcomed the home study worker into a perfectly clean and ordered home. The scene that greeted her at her post-placement visit was, well, different—but much more real.
Thank You, Bàba
Six months after she came home to us, our daughter stopped speaking. As I searched for clues as to her sudden silence, I became profoundly grateful to her Chinese foster father, a man I had never met, for teaching me a valuable lesson about selfless love.
“From Waiting Mom to Flexible Working Mom”
Adoption allowed me to fulfill my dream of finally becoming a mother, and my flexible work schedule allows me to be the mom I’ve always wanted to be. Here’s how you can make it work, too.
“On Parenting from Afar”
Once, I grieved the loss of a biological child. Nineteen years later, as I watch my son leap and soar (literally) into adulthood, I am at peace with my role of nurturing the many gifts built into his nature.
“Finding My Inner Mom”
For years, I felt ambivalence about becoming a parent, and worry that I wouldn’t be a “perfect” mother. In an open letter to my daughter, I look back on that moment of calm and utter clarity when we met.
Ask AF: What to Do the First Time a Foster Child Comes to Stay with Us?
“We are preparing for our first overnight visit with sisters we hope to adopt from foster care, and are nervous. What are we supposed to do for 24 hours with two children who are essentially strangers?”
Ask AF: How to Discourage Indiscriminate Affection
A mother who adopted from foster care seeks advice about discouraging her children from charming or hugging strangers— and how to respond to the adults who think the child is just ‘being sweet.’
Media Focus: Lissa Schneckenburger
Lissa Schneckenburger’s new album, Thunder in My Arms, takes foster and adoptive parents on a melodic song cycle about the ongoing effects of early trauma and the healing power of community, understanding, and love. Tune in to learn more.
Ask AF: Rivalry with a Newly Adopted Sibling
“Our son had been excited about the idea of a ‘little brother,’ but, from the day our younger son came home, they have had intense rivalry; there was no ‘honeymoon’ period. What can we do?”
“…and so It Goes”
My older son is off at college, and I’ve been heartened to see that his “new normal” includes a maturing and strengthening of the bond between us. I look back to the day I met him, just over eight years ago, and our years of attachment struggles, even as I look to his future, and ours, with hope.
Ask AF: Reconciling Different Personalities in Adoption
A mother finds herself exhausted trying to keep up with the boisterous, outgoing older child she’s adopting, and also worries that the girl might start feeling “different” from the rest of the family (who are all naturally more reserved and quiet). An expert offers advice.
“The Fine Line Between Letting Go and Being Let Go”
I adopted my son as he was entering his teen years, and now, too soon, I have seen him off to college. How will his still tenuous attachment play out when I’m no longer a constant, physical presence in his life?
“How We Bonded with Our Child”
All prospective adoptive parents wonder whether they’ll be able to attach to heir newborn baby before adoption. AF readers describe their concerns—and what they did to alleviate them.
How Did You Prepare Your First Child for a Sibling?
We asked our readers how they introduced the idea of a second child to their first. Here’s what they shared for each age group.
Support Groups for Adoptive Parents and Families
Adoptees and their families need help and guidance throughout their lives. Support groups can help provide that.
From Only Child to Oldest
Preparing your child for a new sibling can be a challenge at any age, but especially when she is a sensitive teen.
“Fool for Love”
From the start, silliness and laughter have bolstered the bond between my daughter and me.
“Finally Father’s Day”
I became a dad at age 50, and it changed my life in ways I never could have expected. It was the greatest gift.
Celebrating Sameness in Your Family
Help your preschooler process the world around him by pointing out the ways you are alike.