Attachment begins in the womb as bonding between birthmothers and their unborn children begin. What happens when the infant is adopted at birth and does it impact Attachment in children and young adults?
Some studies show that even when children are placed with a loving birth family from birth that Attachment disruptions can occur, resulting in behavior issues and learning challenges early on. The cause is likely a combination of nature and nurture.
Attachment in the Womb
Three female Attachment theorists, Deutch, Bibring, and Benedeck, explained prenatal Attachment as the mother’s energy emotionally investing in her fetus. They also theorized that as the pregnancy progresses, the mother learns to love the fetus as both an extension of herself and as a separate being.
It is possible that with mothers who have decided to allow their children to be adopted distance themselves from the fetus either because circumstances such as addiction prevent healthy Attachment or for emotional protection and difficulty with separation.
Because Attachment is a normal part of development, the grief felt during pregnancy may also play a role in Attachment disruptions in addition to any traumatic experiences that occur.
Attachment in Infants
Of course, we are wired for healing. The placement of an adopted child in a loving family has the capability to heal Attachment wounds, and the child can develop more toward Secure Attachment. Some studies show that behavior and learning challenges exist at a much higher rate in adopted children than children with both natural birth parents. These range from:
Behavior in the classroom
Bi-polar disorder or depression
Difficulties with learning mathematics
Early reading skills
Where We Go from Here
Learning the possible paths to help your adopted child (or yourself) develop healthy Attachment is an individual journey that can be supported by a trusted Attachment therapist and even self-study.
We are offering our full DARe program, both as individual courses and as a Certificate Program. These live workshops feature teaching, demos, case consults, and group work with compassionate and like-minded individuals committed to healing Attachment injury and leading a Securely Attached life of fulfillment.
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