Bonding with a Child; How Difficulty fosters Strong Bonds

Whether a child is birthed, fostered, or adopted –

Bonding with a Child is of UTMOST IMPORTANCE.

Difficulty fosters strong Bonds

I’m not referring to the dental technique in which a material is attached to a damaged tooth, either. This is about the formation of a close relationship, as defined by Merriam-Webster.

The opposite, Attachment Disorder and Reactive Attachment Disorder, can occur with birth, foster, or adopted children. Here is a quote from the Mayo Clinic on the topic:

“Reactive attachment disorder is a rare but serious condition in which infants and young children don’t establish healthy bonds with parents or caregivers.

A child with reactive attachment disorder is typically neglected, abused or orphaned. Reactive attachment disorder develops because the child’s basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren’t met and loving, caring attachments with others are never established. This may permanently change the child’s growing brain, hurting the ability to establish future relationships.”

Don’t read the rest of these reports because there is no hope. However I believe and have witnessed success in bonding. This is completely repairable, in my humble opinion! Many will disagree, but for the few children I have worked with, our approach is successful every time. Maybe it has always worked for us because I’m persistent, maybe because we keep a pretty clean diet, or maybe because of my faith in the most high God…probably a combination of it all.

But please be of hope. A mom doesn’t want to admit she doesn’t feel connected to a child, but there are reasons and it is repairable, so DO NOT DESPAIR. Recognition is critical. That’s the first step. And we all share these moments, just the reaction is critical.

Difficulty is Good!

WHAT?!! I can hear your expletives at me. But seriously, if you just embrace and ride this out, you will see a magnificent truth.

After birthing 3, fostering 7 and adopting 1, some mysteries begin to reveal themselves with time. There is no difference in how you are given a child, the bonding just happens when you do one thing. This is one of the mysteries revealed:

“Bonding is birthed from difficulty.”

  • When you have a difficult pregnancy or delivery, it seems you bond deeply with the child within time.
  • When you have to fight hard to keep or get a child; your bond is strong.
  • Difficulty in lactation bonds a Mom and baby {whether or not nursing is accomplished}.
  • And if a child is removed from a home, a desire and bond for that child is created through that difficulty.

Humans have this strange nature. We want what we don’t have. So when a circumstance is difficult we work hard, pray hard, and fight to “win” the goal. Then the accomplishment or loss is appreciated all the more. For some it may take a little longer, but the bond does happen.

If you have read Johanna Spyri’s classic tale, “Heidi”, there is such a special moment where she bonds with her Grandfather. Then, via a greedy relative, Heidi is taken away to live with a very wealthy family and enjoys the friendship, but becomes ill because she wants to be with her Grandfather. The book demonstrates that difficulty fosters strong bonds in this well-written classic. As much as some people think, we are not bonded with money, we just enjoy the luxuries it provides. But we are bonded to people.

When our first child was born, it was not the fairy tale, rather quite traumatic. We dropped everything to help this child be all that he could be. We fought for his life for the next few years. This is when we found Weston A. Price and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, MD. We bonded with this child in a way that many times makes this child feel a little more close than my “easy” children.

Through fostering and adoption, we also work very hard with each child to get them healthy. Many times there are difficulties in behaviors and these efforts prove to be a blessing as they help us bond very quickly. It is very apparent how a little love, structure and a good diet can turn around a child in just a month or two.

We receive a little boy who cannot speak (they said) and we endure difficulty. At 2 years old he is adorable with a serious dark side. He has a violent nature to throw what he does not want. I blame it on a poor diet and moving into 4 different homes in a 6 month period (2 of which are family).

How do you bond? The answer is life. It just happens…eventually. Sometimes quick, sometimes after a while. But sharing your soul and being open and honest is the way towards great relationships.

Most people want to cry and walk away {ignore difficulty}. I know because innately, I do too. But after a difficult first birth and a difficult first foster son, I begin to understand the value of difficulty.

Eat well, this will help support you. We give healthy chicken broth and whole foods with a healthy dose of love and structured discipline and find a tremendous improvement in just a few short months. This is how. A noticeable difference in 1 week, but a genuine bond and fitting into the family within two months. No one would even guess this child is a foster child. We fight hard for this child (and every child) to have good health. Even these difficulties foster strong bonds.

This is my humble opinion, but instead of fearing difficulty, I have learned to just roll with it, and trust that difficulties serve an incredible purpose in bonding relationships. And this applies whether it is a difficult birth, time and effort to foster and adopt a child, or having a child with complications and/or disease. This is where I learn to trust God. Even in the bad things. Not to blame, but trust.

{**Danger** an alarming amount of children are returned to orphanages after being adopted from abroad, so please hang on if you are in this situation! I pray for the Creator’s love to pour out over you and your adopted child.}

And very carefully do I suspect that Post Partum is in part due to this very important process of bonding. A guilt when a connection is not felt. Hang on, because it will come. The trick is to embrace the emotions. Be honest and don’t wear shame or guilt. It’s just a process that can be worked through.

From my heart, it is the truth; difficulty bonds and connects you to a person/baby like nothing else can.

No one wants it and happy are they that never face difficulty but frankly…I’ve never met that person!

Blessings as you continue Fostering Nutrition for you and your loved ones.

Difficulty fosters strong Bonds




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Mandy is the force behind the advocacy portal Real Food Recovery. Since losing a 4 yr old to cancer while fostering to adopt, Mandy founded a nonprofit organization recovering children at-risk using real food, real discussion, and encouragement. As a Wife, Mom of birth, foster, and adopted children, author, Nutritional Therapist, & NRT, Mandy shares simple food tips while volunteering in a local Orphanage to create a model for change. Connect with Mandy through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
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