Sunday, April 3, 2011

Attachment and Bonding in Adoption

I'll try to make this post as simple as possible about the difference between attachment and bonding. I could get all psychological about it, but I won't.

Simply stated, bonding is a feeling. For example, once a family is matched with their adoptive child, they receive photos. It is based on these photos that a feeling of love begins to stir for their child. Bonding is formed through emotional ties. Bonding is not necessarily a mutual feeling between parent and child.

Attachment on the other hand, is an ongoing mutual and reciprocal relationship that develops over time. Attachment develops out of the interaction between the child and parent, extended family, and community.
Attachment is a learned behaviour.

Successful attachment allows a child to learn how to give and accept love in relationships and to develop a healthy sense of loyalty to loved ones. Early childhood attachment forms the basis for all the child's relationships for the rest of her life. Successful attachment helps her learn to trust her parents and herself. It exists in different forms and develops over time in different ways.

Attachment between the parents and child develops as the child learns that she can count on her parents to meet her physical and emotional needs. This process is the same whether a child has been born to us or adopted.

In regards to our daughters, it is impossible to predict how long the attachment process will take. They have had a rough start in their little lives. They have wonderful, loving caregivers right now, but soon they will be taken away from all that they are familiar with and must being re-attaching to us as their new family.

Attachment is a never-ending process and it will be something that we work at with our daughters for the rest of their lives.


1. McCreight, Brenda. Parenting Your Adopted Older Child.
2. Melina, Lois Ruskai. Raising Adopted Children.
3. PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information Development and Education) Training PRIDEbook. The Ontario Association Children's Aid Society


  1. Interesting. You are so smart to consider all of the possibilities and also the "we have no idea" part of your process. A lot of people will be praying for you.

  2. You are teaching me quite a bit about something I know little. I am in awe of you and you growing family. Praying for you all...or ya'll as we say here.

  3. Great post Deborah!
    You are such a wonderful Momma!


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