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Giving birth to a child isn’t the only way to become a parent. Some couples grow their family size through adoption, jumping through the many hoops and trials that come with getting through the adoption process unscathed. It’s natural to want to bond with your new child and make them feel like part of the family, but that won’t happen instantly. Depending on the circumstances of the adoption, it can even be a bit difficult to form an attachment with them. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though. With a little patience, a bond between parent and child can slowly but surely be made. Here are some ways you can go about doing that.


Establish permanency.


Your child might not believe their new situation is a permanent one. Some children bounce from foster home to foster home for years, and they might fear that if they misbehave, you’ll no longer love them. No matter what, reassure your child that they are loved, no matter what your mood may be or whether or not they’ve misbehaved. Reassuring your child of this will let them know that, no matter what, your love is there, and eventually, they’ll start to believe it.


Create a routine.


Having an established routine will give your child structure they might not have had before and a sense of control around their situation. More importantly, it’ll let them start to develop a sense of trust. Creating bedtime rituals (for younger kids) or weekly movie nights (for older kids) will give you both an activity to do together, which can then create a foundation for your relationship to grow on.


Don’t hover.


Like with all kids, you need to allow your children space—especially if you’ve adopted an older child. Privacy is something they may have lacked while in foster care, so give them their personal space and respect the fact that it exists. Let your child decorate their room, and knock on the door before entering. Let their room be a place they can call their own. Doing so will make it more comfortable for them to stay there, and eventually, they may let their guard down as they grow into that comfort.


Don’t attack their birth parents.


No matter your thoughts on their birth parents, make sure to keep them to yourself when you’re around your child. This isn’t to say that you need to lie to them about their past, but calling their birth parents names or telling your child how awful they were will only deter them from bonding with you.