How to Use This Blog

A Wayfarer is a person who is traveling, a particular place, a circumstance, a stage of life, etc. Let's walk the road of adoption together. The journey is so much better with company!
Much of this information is useful for any adoption, but this blog is designed to be a
I hope this blog will be helpful to you in your adoption whether you are considering, waiting or home. I started this blog when we were adopting and found there was next to nothing on the web in any orderly manner. I set about to collect information for myself and then for others. Now, there are more sites for resources, but still not much that brings it all together. I hope this blog will serve as a sort of clearing house for Ethiopian Adoption Information. Please feel free to contribute your knowledge through commenting.
You can search by topic in three ways. 1. Go to the "key word" tabs on top and open pages of links in those topics. 2. Use the "labels list" in the side bar or 3. use the "search bar" above the labels list. You can also browse the blog by month and year in the Posts section or in any of the above as well. The sidebar links are to sites outside of this blog. While I feel they provide good information, I can not vouch for each site with an approval rating. Use your own discernment for each. If you have more to add to the topic, please add it in the comment section of that page or post.
And, please link to The Wayfarer Adoption Blog by putting my button on
your blog so others can use this resource too. Please link to this blog when ever you can and whenever you re-post things (or images) you have found here. Thanks!
The solid tabs are links to my other blogs for books and family. Check them out if you are interested.
Welcome to the journey!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Attachment signs to look for

So, you have your child home and you feel that things are going well, but you, being the educated on attachment adoptive parent you are, would like to know what signs to look for to test out if your child is attaching well or if there are issues that you could concentrate on. Good idea. Here are some ideas.

1. Nancy Thomas has a REALLY GREAT format in her book, Taming the Tiger While it is still a Kitten. It covers what is normal for each stage and things to look for. If for no other reason this is worth the buy. I have not found such a good overview anywhere else. I don't really know enough about any one therapy practice, so would not be recommending any certain program. But, I DO love this book and others by her and have found them useful with my kids. It is the best resource for this particular question that I have found.

Articles on line that address these questions and give good info regarding spotting attachment issues. None give you normal attachment behaviors. 

2. A4everfamily Attachment 101: A Primer for Parents, How attachment relationships impact brain development.  Healthy attachment signs  two pages here, follow the link.
3. Rainbow Kids list of attachment articles. Here are some of the titles. Good reading.
4. EMK Press: Subtle and not so subtle indications of attachment issues:  Please read their article for the full details. This is a good book to have too. Adoption Parenting: Creating a Tool Box, Building Connections by Jean MacLeod and Sheena Macrae, PhD :  You can not use these lists without reading the article. It just won't make sense, he expands on each list and explains why. Read it here:

Attachment Problems Subtle and Not-So-Subtle Signs By Arthur Becker-Weidman, PhD
 Excerpts from this article:
Not so subtle signs:
• Superficially engaging and charming behavior, phoniness
• Avoidance of eye contact
• Indiscriminate affection with strangers
• Lack of affection on parental terms
• Destructiveness to self, others, and material things
• Cruelty to animals
• Crazy lying (lying in the face of the obvious)
• Poor impulse control
• Learning lags
• Lack of cause/effect thinking
• Lack of conscience
• Abnormal eating patterns
• Poor peer relationships
• Preoccupation with fire and/or gore
• Persistent nonsense questions and chatter indicating a need to control
• Inappropriate clinginess and demanding behavior
• Abnormal speech patterns
• Inappropriate sexuality

Subtle signs of attachment issues:
• Sensitivity to rejection and to disruptions in the normally attuned connection between mother and child
• Avoiding comfort when the child’s feelings are hurt, although the child will turn to the parent for comfort
when physically hurt
• Difficulty discussing angry feelings or hurt feelings
• Over-valuing looks, appearances, and clothes
• Sleep disturbances. Not wanting to sleep alone
• Precocious independence
(a level of independence that is more frequently seen in
slightly older children)
• Reticence and anxiety about changes
• Picking at scabs and sores
• Secretiveness
• Difficulty tolerating correction or criticism> has the above article as well and some other listings. International Adoption Articles Directory also has this and more articles listed.  I like this part:
Excerpts from this article:

Older adopted children need time to make adjustments to their new surroundings.
Children who are adopted after birth, even only a few months old, are at risk for attachment problems.
Even infants adopted at birth can have attachment issues related to things experienced in the womb.

5. Rainbow Kids has an excellent article which highlights infant attachment issues.
Recognizing Attachment Problems in Internationally Adopted Preschoolers
Many adopted children do not exhibit obvious signs of attachment difficulties until they reach the age of three or four.
July 31, 2007/ Jessica Gerard
Often parents don't realize what they are dealing with. This article covers Recognizing attachment issues, symptoms of attachment issues and why the child may have attachment issues. Read it to get a fuller picture. Here is an excerpt:

Internationally-adopted children are unattached when they first meet their new parents: after all, they are total strangers! The child initially regards the new parent as a yet another caregiver. Children who were already attached to a caregiver will be distressed at being handed over. They will grieve for days, weeks and even months, acting withdrawn and passive, or endlessly crying, or furiously angry. A child who shows no feelings of loss but is happy and smiling from the start may actually have significant attachment problems. A baby who clings desperately to the new mom, and shrieks when separated for a moment, is not instantly bonded, but terrified. It is a trauma bond necessary for survival. Most internationally-adopted children resolve their grief, and gradually and successfully bond with their new parents. Within a few days, the baby or toddler usually shows a preference for mom and dad, has good eye contact, and accepts caresses and comfort. Even unattached babies often learn to love within a few weeks and months, with the care and attention of a loving family. 
This is a great article on attachment and the various types of attachment disorders and issues one may find themselves dealing with. It is a very informative article and well worth reading and studying. This site also has a list of more great links to articles on this topic.  

Attachment Disorders & Reactive Attachment Disorder

Symptoms, Treatment & Hope for Children with Insecure Attachment 


As children with reactive attachment disorder grow older, they often develop either an inhibited or a disinhibited pattern of symptoms:
  • Inhibited symptoms of reactive attachment disorder. The child is extremely withdrawn, emotionally detached, and resistant to comforting. The child is aware of what’s going on around him or her—hypervigilant even—but doesn’t react or respond. He or she may push others away, ignore them, or even act out in aggression when others try to get close.
  • Disinhibited symptoms of reactive attachment disorder. The child doesn’t seem to prefer his or her parents over other people, even strangers. The child seeks comfort and attention from virtually anyone, without distinction. He or she is extremely dependent, acts much younger than his or her age, and may appear chronically anxious.
7. Child attachment checklist Print off this attachment chart for children. 
Print off this checklist for infant attachment.
check list by age

8. Video on creating a secure attachment with your baby. Here.

9. 4everfamily has a GREAT SUPER WONDERFUL post on what a child with a healthy attachment will be like. Print this one off to use with your kids.  I wish I could print it here, but that would be copyright infringement now wouldn't it. So, go over there and check it out. It is superb!

10. Reactive Attachment Disorder  (There are tons, here are a few):
More links for attachment sites:
Adoption Today magazine on line
attachment check list by age



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The content on The Wayfarer:Ethiopian Adoption Resource Blog is for informational purposes only. We are adoptive parents, but we are not professionals. The opinions and suggestions expressed here are not intended to replace professional evaluation or therapy, or to supersede your agency. We assume no responsibility in the decisions that families make for their children and families. There are many links on this blog. We believe these other sites have valuable information, but we do not necessarily share all of the opinions or positions represented by each site, nor have we fully researched every aspect of each link. Please keep this in mind when visiting the links from this page.
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