What if my older adopted child is having a hard time connecting with me?

My older adoptive child is having a hard time connecting with me? Any suggestions?

Best Answer

  • It can be incredibly difficult to bond with an older adoptive child. They are coming with a whole life of experiences behind them. They are having to start over. Even when adoption is a great thing, it can be incredibly hard to adjust for both the child and the adoptive parents. 

    The first step is to recognize this. It would be more shocking if there wasn't at least some level of backlash and discomfort. It is perfectly normal and expected. There will certainly be an adjustment period. The child may even lash out and not know why. 

    Take the time to read up on Reactive Attachment Disorder. It is especially common in older adopted children. Much of the bonding issue may due to this and is not the child's nor your fault. It will take a learning curve and likely counseling. 

    After your child's adoption placement, make sure they have ample time to adjust before introducing them to many people. Take the first few weeks for family time. They need to get to know you and get used to their routine. Try to get into a routine as soon as possible so they know what to expect. Spend time getting to know them and letting them get to know you. It will be easy to create a welcoming environment, but it is important they know what stability will look like day to day. 

    Don't force it. Give them their space in your home to settle in. If you are able, let them make their room their safe space. Give them as much privacy as you can allow. Allowing them to have a space they can retreat to that is all their own will make all the difference. 

    You can read more bonding ideas here. 
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