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.

A boy plays with a toy on his adoption day

“Baby Benjamin’s Adoption Day”

“Baby Benjamin’s Adoption Day”

Today the judge made it official. But this child has been one of us since the day he was born.

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AF Interviews Melissa Fay Green

Interview with Melissa Fay Greene

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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A Mother's Day Card reminds a mom of the dichotomy of adoptive motherhood and her children's birth mother

“Motherhood, Cleaved.”

My love for my youngest child, who was born to me, takes a different timbre from my love for my twins through adoption. Accepting this helps me understand the inimitable bond they share with their birth mother, and the ache she must feel.

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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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“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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We considered adopting a second child, but eventually decided to grow our family by adding a dog, instead

“A Different Kind of Sister”

My partner and I thought long and hard about whether we wanted to adopt a second child. We decided to adopt a puppy-sister for our daughter instead.

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An adoptive mom stands in front of a pile of Christmas gifts

“Santa’s Dilemma”

This year, we've vowed to cut back at Christmas. Well, perhaps it wasn't a vow, but at least a serious intent to try. Then again, they are children for such a short time.

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A father who adopted older children from foster care shares his story, likening parenting and filling in missing pieces to playing Jenga backward

“Parenting After Foster Adoption—Like Playing Jenga, Backward”

As a father who raised a child from birth and is now parenting older children adopted from foster care, I’ve come to see that the game and pieces may, indeed, be the same, but you have to play in an entirely different way.

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