Adoption Poetry Comeunity Home Adoption Adoption Poetry
adoption comeunity

Adoption Shops & Adoption Services


Adoption Book Reviews

The Adoptive Family and Attachment

Cues and attachment in adoption

By Stephanie Bosco-Ruggiero, Gloria Russo Wassell and Victor Groza, authors of Adopting Older Children, A Practical Guide to Adopting and Parenting Children Over Age Four

Post-adoption attachment is affected by not only pre-adoption child experiences, but also adoptive family characteristics. While an adoptive family can do thing about the child's prior experience, they can pay attention to developing a family that promotes attachment. One particular component affecting attachment is maternal responsiveness, the ability to observe and respond to a child's signals for attention adequately and promptly. Studies are accumulating about the association between maternal responsiveness/sensitivity and children's attachment.

To this we would add paternal responsiveness or dad's responsiveness if you family has a dad, is a single-father adoptive family or a two-dad family. The best scenario is that both parents learn signals that he child uses to demonstrate he or she wants or needs attention. It should not only be when he or she is behaving poorly. A mismatch between parent responsiveness and child reaction may exacerbate or perpetuate attachment difficulties.

Parents respond according to their own attachment style, based on their experiences growing up and through adult life. The respond to their child according to their model of attachment and with the expectation of a similar response. It is difficult to remember that the child has a different model of adult-child relationships than you do. It can be akin to a poor dancing partner - sometimes you both want to lead, sometimes one wants to dance to a fast song but the other wants to dance to a slow song, sometimes neither of you knows how to dance very well. Understanding each other's attachment style is the foundation for developing an attachment that works well both for you and for your child.

It may take a long time for parents to be able to understand the child's model of attachment and the nuances of your children - the cues they give that something is wrong, they are anxious or they want to be loved/get affection/get attention. As the oldest of five children with a ten year span between the oldest and youngest, co-author Victor was always amazed that his mother could tell when his little brother was going to be sick. She knew how to read his nuanced behavior. Getting to know an older child means getting to know their subtle cues and then responding quickly and consistently to those cues.

What are cue? Cues are emotions - crying, laughing, whining. Cues are cognitive - I need something or I want something, although many children have a difficult time finding and using the right words. Cues are behavioral - making noise, doing something you told them not to do, watching you to see if you notice what they are doing, being irritating. Remember, are signals from the child that he or she wants or needs something. Your job as a parent is to be responsive and know how to interpret these cues. Responsiveness builds attachment.

Another issue to consider is family stress. High parental stress has been associated with problematic attachment in adopted children. The manner in which parents respond to stress affects the child's adjustment, according to Brodzinsky et Al. Parents who are less stressed are more able to respond consistently and appropriately to the child's cues to facilitate positive or secure attachment. Parenting i and of itslef is stressful but parents can reduce the stress in their lives. They can avoid or limit the situations that are stressful.

Read more

Reprinted from the book Adopting Older Children, A Practical Guide to Adopting and Parenting Children Over Age Four, by Stephanie Bosco-Ruggiero, Gloria Russo Wassell and Victor Groza, with permission of the authors. Copyright protected, all rights reserved.

Adoption Poetry Homepage

Adoption Poetry

About to Cry
He Is Mine
Adoption Support
For a Son-to-be
Legacy of Open Adoption
Half A World Away
Little Boy Lost
Fly to Vietnam
My Child
Fragile Flames
Offering of Time
Slow Moving Moon
One Year Ago Today
A Special Bond of Love
This Is Our Daughter
To My Baby
The Wonder of a Little Boy
Celebrating Christmas
Color of Love

Related Sections
Talking About Adoption

Read Book Reviews
Meet the Authors

Shops & Services


Book Reviews | Author Interviews

| How to Adopt | Adoption Travel | Adoption Lists | Talking About Adoption (The Triad) |
| Special Needs Adoption | Adoption Health | Travel Health | Adoption Medical Clinics |
| Real Moms Newsletter | Oh Wonderful Boys | Adoption Poetry |
| Infertility & the Adoption Journey | Humanitarian Aid |

This website and articles are copyright.