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.

Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Reconciling Different Personalities in Adoption

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.

author Gary Matloff with his sons, after adoption and now, as teens

“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?

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A mother bonding with her child.

“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.

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Support Groups for Adoptive Parents and Families

Support Groups for Adoptive Parents and Families

Adoptees and their families need help and guidance throughout their lives. Support groups can help provide that.

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A dad walks in the forest with his daughter after adopting after age 50.

“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.

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Two preschool children learn about categories.

Celebrating Sameness in Your Family

Help your preschooler process the world around him by pointing out the ways you are alike.

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A band aid on a broken heart

“Band-Aid Mom”

Can a Band-Aid do more than heal a physical wound? For my daughter, adopted from Ethiopia at age 9, a mother's therapeutic touch — to real and emotional boo-boos — began a deeper healing process.

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AF Interviews Melissa Fay Green

Interview with Melissa Fay Green

The adoptive mom and critically acclaimed author talks about her adoption of two brothers from Ethiopia, the AIDS crisis in Africa, and Haregewoin Teferra, the foster mother at the center of her book, There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Her Country's Children.

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

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.

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older-child-adoption-siblings-first-words-story-carpenter-field-flowers

“First Words”

We may not have heard our children’s very first words, but we’ve heard many others in our journey through infertility and foster adoption—and now, as family.

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an adoptive mother listens to and learns from her child

Lessons I’ve Learned from My Children

Over decades as a foster and adoptive parent and an adoption social worker, I have mothered and supported hundreds of children. Each one has taught me more than I passed along to them. Here is just some of that wisdom.

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party blowers and confetti to celebrate at an adoption shower

Parents Share: Celebrating with an Adoption Shower

Adoptive parents who welcomed their child home with an adoption shower share when they celebrated and their favorite part of the joyous occasion.

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author Billy Cuchens and his son Jayden snuggle together at home

“My Snuggle Boy”

When we adopted our son as a toddler, he rarely displayed emotion and wouldn't show us any affection. How far my big, cuddly 10-year-old has come!

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welcoming an older child into your family and creating sense of belonging through photographs

Creating a Photographic History for an Older Child

Pictures help show our children that their lives matter, and that they are part of a family. A photographer and adoptive mom offers her advice for taking and preserving meaningful moments.

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father's hand placing missing piece in wooden heart tangram puzzle, representing healing after older child adoption

“One of the Missing Pieces”

When older children argue and act out, it’s often connected to events from their past. How could any child move through 14 foster placements unscathed? But last night, another clash, followed by a heart-to-heart, brought us one piece closer to feeling like a solid family.

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Sherri Gragg and her three children

“Black, White, and the Cornrow in Between”

While it might have been “just hair” to me, the emotions were far more tangled for them, with roots deep into the history of oppression between our two peoples.

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