The Attachment Journey: Building trust and connection takes time
October 23, 2018


Parent holding child's hand

Congratulations! You are beaming with joy because your home is ready to be filled with more laughter and love with the addition of a new child. You have made the decision to learn more about the foster to adoption process and becoming a resource parent for our children in care.   The thought of connecting with a new child is exciting but getting used to the time it takes to build that lasting bond can be a little bit challenging. Don’t worry. You have the starting foundation of love, and that sprinkled with patience and flexibility, make for a great resource parent. Our families learn there is so much you can do to help spark that healthy trust between you and your new child.

After our families attend Orientation and make the shared decision with us to move forward in the process, you will attend Resource Parent Training. Here, you will learn firsthand from experts how to best begin the attachment journey and you can ask specific questions directly related to your personal concerns. Below are some examples of what we will cover when supporting you during the incredible and rewarding family-building journey ahead.

Understanding attachment

Attachment is the healthy relationship between a child and his or her caregiver that makes them feel safe, secure, and protected. An adoptive child who is recovering from instability early in their life often have trouble reaching that trust and security in an adoptive home. As an adoptive parent, although you weren’t given the opportunity to build a nurturing bond from birth, you are still able to do some key things with your child to meet their needs for love and safety and create a connection that will last a lifetime. No matter how much it seems like your child is pushing you away, you will learn that the longer they are in a safe, unconditionally supportive environment, the easier it will be for them to heal and begin embracing you as their loving parent. Remember, for every Forever Family, building trust and connection takes time.

Key ways to grow your bond

When starting to build a loving relationship with your child, here are a couple of key things you can do as a parent to grow and build trust:

  • Make time for just you and your child to be together. Building a bond with your child is a fun and worthwhile endeavor. Whether its reading, walking in a park, or playing board games together, the more quality time you spend with your child and the more you get them involved in your activities, the more opportunities you will have to make a direct connection that you can build upon. Just being there is vital to creating a healthy relationship. Through your words and your actions, let your child know you are there for them and you love them.
  • Use your touch to connect. Establishing a safe, physically responsive relationship with your child can go a long way in providing your child validation and reinforcement of your love. When they do something that makes you proud, a soft touch on the hand or shoulder while expressing your happiness elevates the bonding in that moment. Just be patient when expecting more intense physical affection, such as a hug or kiss. Use touch gradually and let the physical comfort between you and your child grow naturally.
  • Teach and mentor your child. Teaching your child and shaping the world around them will be a blast and is one of the best ways to satisfy their never-ending curiosity. The more you share your personal knowledge and experience with your child the more they will realize they are truly important in your life and deserve your love and attention. Learn your child’s specific interests and find different life skills that relate to those topics, so they are motivated to learn what you are trying to teach. This is a good way to establish boundaries and family rules in a loving, positive way.
  • Listen to your child. You child might have a lot on their mind because of the instability they have faced prior to joining your family. The more they grow to trust you, the more likely they will want to talk about those experiences. Listen with an open heart, no matter how painful of a story it may be. Listening to your child’s personal journey and being there to comfort them through the harder parts, is one of the best gifts you can give as a parent. When your child sees you are truly listening and willing to help them heal, the more they will understand that joining your home is truly a new, positive chapter in their lives.

Your best first step

Join us and learn more about the topics and concerns we addressed above. Orientation for our Sacramento office is offered the second Monday of each month in a group setting. Individual and group orientations are held in our Grass Valley office on the first Wednesday of each month. Our Auburn orientations are held the third Thursday of each month. Additional orientations can be arranged for your church, community group, or workplace. Please contact your local Sierra office to schedule an orientation.

Sacramento Office: (916) 368-5114

Auburn Office: (530) 887-9982

Grass Valley Office: (530) 478-0900