How to Help Your Child Overcome Attachment Issues from Adoption

Overcoming attachment issues from adoption can be challenging. Adopting a child can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. Opening your home and heart to a child in need often leads to a bond that enriches both the parent and the child’s life. But sometimes the road to “happily ever after” is paved with potholes. Sometimes adoptive children suffer from attachment issues, which means they have an difficulty bonding with others. This can even happen in homes where the adoptive parents are very loving and nurturing. Under ideal conditions, an infant bonds with his or her parent or main caretakers. This could be someone like a grandparent or foster parent. Much of the necessary attachment required for healthy development happens in the first 6 to 12 months of a child’s life. These positive bonding experiences can be interrupted with multiple foster care placements or they may be lacking all together. Tragically, interactions with caregivers may be frightening or traumatic as well.  This is often the case with children coming from abusive homes and war-torn nations. For these children, stress-related hormones cause significant damage to the limbic system, the emotional center of the brain. This results in significant impairment of the child’s ability to have meaningful, connected relationships.

Symptoms of Attachment Issues from Adoption:

Children with attachment issues typically display a certain pattern of behaviors:
  • Minimal social and emotional responsiveness to others
  • Lack of eye contact with others
  • Lack of physical contact with others
  • Limited positive affect
  • Unexplained and often sudden occurrences of irritability, sadness, or fear
  • Limited interest in interactive play

How Therapy Can Help:

Children who do not receive help for their attachment issues will most likely find it difficult to maintain healthy and intimate relationships later in life. Therapy can greatly benefit these children and their parents as it can help show a child what a healthy relationship looks like. Additionally, family therapy gives them a space to explore ways to form healthy bonds with their adoptive parents.

Contact Abby:

If you are an adoptive parent that believes your child is suffering from attachment issues and you’d like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me (626) 755-4059.  I offer a FREE, 20-minute phone consultation. Let's co-create a plan of healing for your child and your family.