Ask AF: Building Relationships

Curious if your child's behavior is due to adoption or age? Read on.

Q: We adopted our daughter last year, when she was a little over one year old. She bonded very quickly with me, her father, and her sister, but she still refuses to allow anyone other than us to hold her. Is this normal for a two-year-old, or is it adoption-related?


A: Your daughter’s behavior is most likely adoption adjustment as expressed by a toddler. In other words, it is both adoption- and age-related. While difficult for your friends and family, it sounds as if your daughter is putting all her energy right where it should be: attaching to immediate family members.

Gradually expose your daughter to members of the extended family on her terms. When she’s well-rested, well-fed, and in familiar surroundings, push her a little to engage with others (i.e., have someone else roll a ball back and forth, blow bubbles, and so on). In doing so, you’ll set an emotional tone that is both empathetic and confident.

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