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Knowing when a new adopted child has attached

(8 Posts)
MrsBW Sat 31-May-14 09:35:52


Most adoptive parents know how important attachment is.

But how did you know when your children were attached? How do you measure it??

Allowing themselves to be comforted by you when hurt or scared I know is one thing.

Any other ideas???

Italiangreyhound Sat 31-May-14 10:01:48

Thanks for starting this MrsBW I am also all ears for expert advice!

LastingLight Sat 31-May-14 11:46:10

Hmmm.... being comforted makes sense. However the very first time I met dd she hurt herself and chose to sob in my arms even though her daddy was right there. I was nobody to her at that point, just a guest of daddy's that she's never met before. She was 2.6.

odyssey2001 Sat 31-May-14 12:38:01

When they look out for you in a crowd or when they are very far from you is a good sign. Also when they start comfort-seeking.

However, attachment is a spectrum much like autism and dyslexia. You exist somewhere on it in any given moment. But unlike those two examples, you are constantly moving along it, more like falling in love. You just have to hope you are moving towards each other. I don't think there is a fixed point or an end point to attachment either.

Is our son fully attached to us? Who knows! Is he more attached than when he came to live with us? Definitely. Is that enough for us right now? Certainly.

However, some children have barriers due to their background and although they will be somewhere on the spectrum, they may not move as fast as other children or get as far. Also, some parents will have attachment issues and struggle to form that bond too.

Attachment, much like beauty, is very much in the eye of the beholder.

Lilka Sat 31-May-14 16:35:17

I very much agree with Odyssey - it is a spectrum, and there's not an end point to it either - my relationship and closeness to my DD's gets stronger every year, but who knows where it'll move in future. I'm not sure there is such a thing as 'fully' attached. I mean, what does 'fully' mean? Is there a limit to your love? We all express love differently, is one way of expressing it more 'full' than another? Dunno, my gut says 'no', especially to the idea of their being a limit to how much you can love someone. DD2 is attached to me, even though she has many insecurities, but I dont think I would describe her as less attached than say, DD1, it's just that one is more insecure than the other, and they have different ways of expressing their feelings.

Okay, I'm off on a tangent now and not really trying to answer the question!

Attachment is an enduring emotional relationship. Of course, it's a bit subjective what 'enduring/long term' is, and it depends on the childs age, but whatever good signs you're seeing, it's not 'attachment' if you're only 3 weeks into placement, although of course your child may well be forming a bond to you, which is great.

And of course people's attachment styles (their patterns of behaviour and emotions) are all different, which makes it even more subjective! Two children who have both formed attachments to their parents may not express their feelings in the same way.

I don't think there's a point where your child is not attached and then the next day 'attached'. Human relationships grow slowly, build up over time.

So looking back, subjectively I decided that my children had formed attachments to me based on quite subtle things as well as more obvious things. There was seeking me for comfort yes, and my comfort actually working, that's a very good sign. As is looking for you in a crowd. If your presence helps you child regulate themself and calm down, that's a good sign. If your child had any behaviours which are lessening over time, that's a good sign they are feeling more secure. Wanting cuddles etc from you is good (although personality plays a big part in how cuddly and tactile you are, and it's not necessarily a problem if your child is just not naturally a cuddler)

When DD1 said she loved me 5/6 years in, it felt genuine, and I can't expand on it more than that! When DD2 shrieked mummy and grabbed me for hugs right after she moved in, that definitely didn't feel genuine. But a few years in, it felt different. I'm sorry, that might not be helpful, but I think you can sometimes sense these things.

If i look back at photos of DS, there is a definite difference in his expressions, in his eyes, from soon after placement, compared with 6 months in, and 1 year in he's a different child. And he was definitly attached to me by that point. All the signs, comfort, regulation, wanting me, saying he loved me and it was so real and heartfelt, etc etc.

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 01-Jun-14 11:22:01

Signs of DD's attachment were:

- putting up arms to be picked up

- looking for me when eg at the park

- holding on to me when a stranger spoke to her

- snuggling back on my lap rather than perched on my knee

fasparent Sun 01-Jun-14 12:42:42

Think every child is different, lot's would have experienced major too minor disruptive parenting, some none, We have 10 children all were different, lots of ups and downs all with different needs, Over time are all fine and settled.
Find inclusions, taking time too listen, having lots of fun, sitting around at meal times, taking the steam out of situations, appearing too be relaxed , excepting help and a friendly ear from people around you sharing, all helps with confidence and self esteem.
Soon find are able too talk share confidence, show their caring nature,
laugh, giggle at silly thing's, confident too express opinions make decisions, not afraid of their messy bedroom, getting dirty,
Bonding is not just about cuddle's , some parents may not be cuddly or the children. Some will prefer cuddle off dad or mum it does not distract from their love, just the way it is.
Think inclusion's and having fun is best. This is what we follow with our young FC's we tend too keep things simple, seems too work best for the children when they move on works for their family and new family's, most settle with confidence.

Sharon09108 Mon 02-Jun-14 21:47:05

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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