Establishing Attachment with GrandparentsQ: My husband and I came home from Kazakhstan a little over a month ago with our amazing daughter. We have kept to the guidelines of keeping anybody except our immediate family out of our home, not letting other folks hold or care for her, etc. in order to promote healthy attachment. My parents are coming to visit next month for the first time and will be the first people who have been in our home since we got back.

We’re trying to set some healthy boundaries, such as no cuddling with our daughter or comforting her if she’s hurting, but we don’t want it to come across as “these are our rules and we don’t want you touching your grandchild.” Do you have general guidelines for folks outside of the immediate family and any resource that explains the whys behind those guidelines so that it doesn’t seem like we’re trying to come between my parents and our daughter but rather that we’re trying our darndest to promote a healthy, lifelong attachment?

A: I wrote about this topic and the philosophy behind it in the last chapter of The Complete Book of International Adoption: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Your Child, so I would first recommend that you get a copy from the library or (better yet) buy one, but I can also try to help you a bit here.

It seems to me that you have what at first blush looks like competing goals: helping your child attach to you and helping your child and your parents attach, but in fact may not be at odds with each other. Both parental and grandparental relationships are important. It seems from your question that your daughter is attaching well to you and your husband. By the time your parents arrive, she will have been home for over two months. If she seems to be adjusting and attaching well, I don’t see any reason to limit their connection and interaction during their visit. Your daughter will learn that she is surrounded by love and even start to with the larger idea of family and connections that sustain you all. Your parents will get the opportunity to build a relationship that supports your daughter and fills their hearts to the brim.