Bonding With a Child Who is Older at the Time of Placement
Each adoptive parent will experience bonding in a different way and must understand that there is no set time frame for bonding, especially with older children. Bonding is a process that will take time. In order to help you make the transition, consider the following tips to help with the bonding process.
1. Be predictable. The biggest part of bonding is allowing the child to know that you are there, no matter what. Be sure to respond to your child’s cries, yells, and calls. This response should be either a verbal or a physical response within 15 seconds. You should do this every time so that your child knows he or she can depend on you.
2. Show emotions. Because your child needs to understand emotions, you should be sure to smile and show happiness when you are with the child. It is also important to explain other emotions, such as sadness. As you express your emotions, your child will start to understand different emotions and be able to make a connection with you.
3. Expect your child to be clingy and whiney. This is part of allowing your child to understand that you will not leave. Take the time to sit with the child and help him or her understand that you are not leaving. Do not pull away. Instead, respond in a positive way that will help him or her learn how to express emotions. For example, you can say, “ Do you want me to stay with you? Is that what you are trying to say?” or, “ It sounds like you want to sit on my lap. Can you tell me that in your grown up voice?” This will teach the child that you are dependable, but that a tantrum is not necessary to get attention from you.
4. Create rituals and routines. These will help the child adjust to a new situation, as he or she will know what to expect. Routines can also give you a chance to bond with the child. Imagine spending 20 minutes each night reading with your child. This gives you the opportunity to be close and share special moments.
Remember, adopting a child is a beautiful act of love. It is okay to feel overwhelmed and wonder if you will ever bond with your child. If you are considering adoption, contact a Georgia adoption attorney at the law office of Rhonda Fishbein today!