ATTACHMENT AND BONDING
BONDING AND ATTACHMENT IN RELATION TO THE CHILD'S AGE1
Most adoptive parents and experts in adoption are concerned about the time of bonding in relation to the age of the child who is adopted. In general, children adopted as infants or young children have a more rapid rate of attachment than older children.
The first meeting with an adoptive child is very dramatic for most parents. Parents adopting an older child will usually have seen photographs or a videotape of the child as well as received information about the child. Many adoptive parents have reported that they felt bonded to the child before the first meeting, based on the photograph or videotape alone. This is especially true when the decision to adopt was based solely on the photo, videotape and/or sketchy information they received. If such an adoption falls through for some reason, even though the child was never theirs, the adoptive parents experience a grieving process. In their minds, the child was theirs.
If the child to be adopted is an infant, the adoptive parents will have virtually no idea what the child will look like until they first see the child. They may know the child's racial and ethnic background and have general information about the birthparent's appearance and may have met the birthparents.
The time when the adoptive parents first view their baby or older child is very important and unforgettable. Both adopting parents should be present at the first meeting along with other members of the family who reside together in the same household. To avoid overwhelming the child, in general it is best for extended family members to meet the child later on.
1 Adamec, Christine, and Laurie C. Miller, MD, The Encyclopedia of Adoption, Third Edition, New York, Facts On File, Inc., 2007