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We know attachment is important in foster care/adoption, but parents often wonder how to help build the bonds of attachment with their kids. Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews Deborah Gray, adoption therapist, “attachment guru”, and author of Attaching through Love, Hugs, and Play: Simple Strategies to Help Build Connections with Your Child and Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today’s Parents.

Highlights of the show (click to expand)
  • It seems obvious, but why is attachment important to children and to parents?
  • What’s a realistic estimate of how long it takes for a child and parent to attach strongly? What does it depend on?
  • What does the term “emotional looping” mean in relationship to bonding and attachment?
  • What are the foundations of attachment? Eye contact, cuddles, etc.
  • Should parents worry if their child is rough and tumble all-boy who does not like to snuggle and cuddle?
  • What is your opinion on re-introducing a bottle for feeding with an older adopted child?
  • Importance of play in creating attachment in adoption.
  • What specific games encourage bonding? Games by age group.
  • How to balance the attachment and bonding activities/strategies when you have other kids in the house and/or you work?
  • Importance of self-care for adoptive parents. How to balance self-care with the needs of newly adopted kids?
  • Why are routines so important in creating attachment?
  • Are adopted kids, especially those who have experienced prenatal alcohol or drug exposure, abuse or neglect, at greater risk for low “executive dysfunction”?
  • Why is executive functioning important for attachment?
  • What are some tricks and strategies parents can use everyday to help improve their adopted child’s executive functioning?
  • Why are our “stories” so important?
  • Promoting attachment in tween and teens.

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Image credit: U.S. Army