If you have been struggling to be a good parent to your adopted child, you must learn how to build attachment with your child. It isn’t easy to give all the love to your child and also, desire for all the love your child should be giving you. Sometimes, it’s difficult to understand them because they are so young and so different from you. However, it is your child and to bond with your child, both of you must feel attached to each other. As attachment grows, you will see magic happening.
The Importance Of Attachment
Attachment is the most important requirement to build an intimate relationship. It can be defined as a psychological connection that makes people feel significant for one another. Attachment can grow over time and requires consistent responses on the parent’s part to meet the physical and emotional needs of the child. The capacity of a child to form new attachments before three years of age is comparatively easier than the years after that and is affected by three factors:
1. The child’s genetic disposition
2. Conditions and circumstances under which the child has grown
3. The child’s teachers before and after 3 years of age
The earlier the attachment is built, the more secure it is. A child develops a sense of safety and security, becomes sociable, forms an identity, and stimulation of intellectual development happens when an attachment to the adoptive parents grows.
The Growth Of Attachment
Attachment needs reciprocation. When an infant’s needs are responded by its caregivers (generally parents), it feels safe and secure, and trust grows in the process. The more consistent the responses of the parents are, the more the attachment grows. It has been observed that attachment grows through the consistent responses of the caregivers to the child’s needs and the child’s reception of the positive responses.
Building an attachment requires certain habits to be inculcated by the adoptive parents such as usage of gentle tone in voice, enjoying physical contact with the infant like kissing and cuddling, emphasizing on eye contact, looking for characteristics that resemble themselves or other family members, responding and repeating the child’s vocalization and verbal expressions, etc.
The Responses To Attachment
The quality of attachment differs in children who are adopted and those who are not. A study conducted by psychiatrist Dr. Justin McCall at the University of California at Irvine proved that in the first six months of life, when an infant moves to an adoptive home, it faces different degrees of distress in eating and sleeping habits, often ends spitting up, faces issues with bowel movements like chronic diarrhea, and also, cries for no reason. There has been extreme cases when infants have even lost the will to live and developed a failure in thriving.
It has been noted that infants above six months of age show advanced signals of distress which include looking out for his caretaker, clinging behavior, uncontrollable crying, lack of enthusiasm, withdrawal tendencies, no interest in eating or playing, and frequent illness and weight loss. However, it has also been proved that most children adjust normally and are quite resilient in nature.
The Child’s Growth
As the child grows, the parents must retain their sensitivity to the child’s need signals and pay attention to them. The adoptive parents must initiate in responding to those signals, build confidence in themselves to respond to the child’s needs, and also, be confident about the child’s responses to their responsiveness. A sign of strong attachment is a child’s positive response to the parents after a brief separation.
It is always advisable to seek professional guidance if symptoms of attachment distress are observed in an infant or a toddler. It might get difficult with your child at times, but you must remember that the child might be distressed emotionally or psychologically, and you need to help your child. The secret to successful adoption of a child is patience and perseverance.