Just thought it may be a good idea to clarify some terms I hear interchanged a lot on forums and blogs, etc.... When you are getting to know your child you are often told you are experiencing the attachment phase and when you finish that you are bonded. Well, there is some error in that. I will explain.
Attachment is defined as the mutual feeling of love and closeness. You and the child receive pleasure from your interaction and you love one another.
Bonded, the bond between mother and child, bonding is the child trusting the parent to provide and meet all his or her needs.
Attachment generally comes first and bonding follows.
A child who has had breaks in the relationship with his or her primary care giver will have a harder time attaching and bonding. This will be all children who are place for adoption.
In general if a child has had a steady, loving and peaceful relationship with his or her birthmother and their break is after the age of three, the child can transfer that attachment more easily. Who could ever know this? Mostly we have to assume we will need extra work and be pleasantly surprised if it goes easily. A child who has not been moved to different caregivers in the first three years will have an attachment to transfer, even if it is insecure. You will have to earn the transfer and work to make it a secure attachment. That is you get to help rewire your child's brain for a positive, secure attachment, easier if they have any at all to start with. Sometimes that is easy, sometimes it is hard, it all takes work. First the attachment, second the bonding. It is with this age child you have more concern with if they have been abused or not. More rewiring is needed for that. Much of the time you can never know. Assuming your child has experienced some form and level of trauma is usually the safe move. Hard work now, huge benefits when they are older.
An infant/toddler (child under 3) from an orphanage will have had many breaks. Mother gone for one reason or another, multiple nannies (this will not form secure attachments or bonds). The child's brain synapses are formed for insecure attachment or no attachment. You will have to help the child's brain rewire by lots of extra work. It is pretty normal for parents of infants to spend the time anyway, so it may seem more natural. But, learning and implementing attachment and bonding strategies at this age will have great pay off when the child is 8 or 9 and then as teens. Well worth it, even if it sounds excessive.
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