Attachment Disorder

*Please note that I am not a licensed psychologist and this section is really just my opinion, based on my experience. I’m hopefully offering an alternative perspective to one that has been readily accepted within our community- one that I take exception to. I am not hiding my bias and should you disagree, that is perfectly understandable.

My mom firmly believes that attachment disorder is often a parent disorder. One of the most powerful things my mother told me was that she adopted us knowing we may never love her back. She was prepared as our forever mom to love us unconditionally without expecting any kind of reciprocation. This was completely selfless of her, and her selflessness and courageous decision to adopt us anyway empowered us to learn how to love her back. For some children, our adoption makes us question if we are loveable. That question in turn questions our capacity to receive and give love. Up until you came into our lives we thought no one loved us. Parents can often get very frustrated with our apathetic approach to family at first. Please empathize with us and demonstrate fearless unconditional love. I think what happens is that you are so longing for us in your hearts and then we arrive and I cannot imagine the pain it would be to have your child, whom you’ve loved since you saw our photo, to not reciprocate. It took me 4 years with my family before I decided to love them. My mother said when that moment happened it was like having a completely different child. I really did not believe the Hammetts were going to keep me as their daughter as it had been my second adoption. With their commitment to be my forever family, I learned how to love and how to receive love. This was a life changing experience for myself and my family. My mother refused to label me as having “attachment disorder” she always told me, that she understood where my distrust came from, and that she hoped that one day in my heart I could come to learn to trust and love her as she trusted and loved me. She never made me feel guilty about it, she was always very kind and empathetic. I think when parents feel rejection from their adopted child, it is easy to project feelings and name it as “attachment disorder.” Perhaps change the approach and expectations. Your child has enough “stuff” to deal with just being and international/trans-racial adoptee. They don’t need another “label” especially a disorder on-top of that. Behave in the way you want your child to emulate and eventually we will come around.

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