Adoption Realities & Bonding: What You Need to Know About the 5-Year Mark by Cynthia Miller
When we were preparing to adopt our daughters, who were 3 1/2 and 5 years old at the time, training – and friends who had adopted older children as well – explained it would take five years before our children internalized that we were a family.
They were right.
One fascinating and hard aspect of the adoption journey is the bonding journey. Every six months we felt a shift, a deepening. And, at about five years on the mark, there was indeed a deep move.
It is hard to understand from the outside, but adopted older children have often come from backgrounds full of traumatizing experiences. Their early training in life has taught them to view relationships through a lens of fear, expecting transition, instability and unsafe environments.
It takes many years of steady parental love before your children can internally accept that yep, you’re not going anywhere. Not going to hurt them. Going to be there every single day.
If you are walking this path, or any path that takes day in and day out work, know that it’s true: the change will come. The bonds will grow.
And it will be worth every single step.