Becky Talks Post Adoption Reality: “I’m not bonded to my child”

The adoption process is often long and arduous. The day an adoptive family finally brings a child home — from another country, the hospital, or the courtroom after a long journey in the foster care system — can feel like crossing a finish line.

“Whew! All the legal stuff is done. No more paperwork, no more social workers, no more lawyers. “We can breathe,” is how many families feel, and it’s true.

Adoptive families go through a lot, no matter their journey. After the dust finally settles, they need, and deserve, much needed peace and quiet.

But what happens when that peace doesn’t come? Or maybe it comes for a couple of weeks or months, but after a while, or maybe immediately, something creeps into the mind and heart of an adoptive parent that makes her question her decision.

What happens if a parent has feelings toward their adopted child that don’t feel very nice?


If that’s you, adoptive Mom or Dad, you’re not alone. There are parents all over Austin, the state, the country and the world who adopt a child and then realize they don’t like that kid very much.

And maybe that sends you into panic mode, or maybe depression. Maybe you shut down because it’s a lot to process. Just know this — you’re not a terrible parent or person. 

However, your child needs you.

You’re allowed to dislike being in the same room as your child right now, but your child needs you to not dislike him forever. Even when you do things for your child that maybe don’t feel good inside to you, like holding, hugging, snuggling, and affirming him, these bonding moments still help both you and your child.

For their sake and yours, continue showing up when it feels impossible, and seek help so you don’t stay in this place forever. It will greatly affect your child’s life. 

Finally, get some support. Find an adoption support group, or another adoptive family with whom you can talk about your feelings and share your experiences. If these aren’t available to you, email me.

And I cannot stress enough the importance of attachment-based therapy, a type of family therapy you and your child attend together so you can learn to bond and connect. A quick Google search can help you find professionals specializing in attachment-based therapy near you. 

So just remember, you’re not alone and you’re not a terrible person, but you do need help. Reach out to someone today so both you and your child can begin a journey toward a healthy and loving parent-child bond.

Becky Wickes