5 Reasons Foster Parents Need to Attach to their Foster Child

You bring a child or sibling group into your home for who knows how long. You don’t know very much about them. You work at creating as much calm as you can in the midst of a new normal for everyone. Parent visits, school work, possibly counselor visits, and behavioral challenges make the transition challenging.

You focus on providing as much as care and support as you can for your new foster child. Yet at the same time you guard your heart. If you have had much training, you know that your new foster child will come with some attachment struggles. But you logically reason that you need to tread carefully since your foster child will probably live with you for only a few months.

Some foster parents allow themselves to attach to a child knowing that it will hurt when the child leaves. But many caregivers keep a wall between the child and their heart. They feel that it doesn’t help anyone for the attachment to grow because it really will hurt when the child goes back home or to another family.

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Taking A Closer Look at Connection: A TBRI Principle

God created us to connect. If that is true, then why are so many of us terrible at connecting? What many of us don’t realize is that a lot of our ability to connect with others is either enhanced or hindered in the first couple of years of our lives.

The way a parent, especially a mother, interacts with her baby while in utero, the weeks following birth, and throughout the baby months will often come naturally. I think every new parent feels ill-prepared and inadequate when they bring a newborn home. However, all you need to do is watch how people respond when they see a tiny baby. Grown men even will begin babbling in some unknown language as they shower a baby with loving attention. Women line up to take turns holding and rocking the baby. Everyone wants to jump into action to meet every need when the baby cries the slightest whimper.

All of these actions create connection. We now know that this connection creates healthy brain chemistry. Every time a child encounters someone who meets their needs, positive synapses connect across their brain. The child feels safe and can explore their ever expanding world.

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Our Son’s Struggle to Attach [Podcast 012]

Attachment between a child and his or her parents is powerful. How healthy that attachment is will determine how healthy all other relationships are and will be.

Usually when a child comes into a family from foster care or through adoption, they aren’t able to attach easily. This is true regardless of their age.

In today’s podcast episode, Danielle and I openly share about not only how it was hard for our son to attach to Danielle, but also how Danielle felt about the struggle.

Here are a few of the things we touch on…

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Circle of Security: An Interview with Suzette Lamb [Podcast 009]

I talk a lot about attachment in my book, Foster and Adoptive Parenting: Authentic Stories that Will Inspire and Encourage Parenting with Connection. One of the best models I have seen is called the Circle of Security (COS).

In today’s podcast episode, I interview Suzette Lamb who is a trained COS lecturer. I have had the privilege to hear Suzette speak in person a few times, and I always enjoy her passion and her style of communication.

In this episode you will hear the following:

  • A brief history of the Circle of Security.
  • How this model applies to every parent/child relationship.
  • Why it is important for us to raise children who have autonomy within relatedness and relatedness within their autonomy

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How Our Attachment Style Impacts Our Parenting [Podcast Episode 005]

An Interview with Marshall Lyles

In this interview Marshall Lyles and I talk about how the attachment style of a parent impacts a child. This episode is imbedded in the chapter—”Pay Attention to What You Bring” in my book, Foster and Adoptive Parenting: Authentic Stories that Will Inspire and Encourage Parenting with Connection.


Often we as parents get so wrapped up in the challenges that our kids face that we completely neglect what our challenges are.

In this episode you will discover:

  • Why it’s important to pay attention to your attachment style.
  • What happens when you bring a wounded child into your family.
  • What compassionate curiosity looks like.

To learn more about Marshall check out his website—MarshallLyles.com

If you are considering Foster Care or Adoption, then I recommend a FREE ebook that will guide you through thoughtful questions. You can get it FREE by filling out the form below.

5 Signs My Son Is Developing A Healthy Attachment

We are created for attachment. By attachment, What I mean by attachment is a healthy relationship with other people. Sadly, many of us aren’t very good at it. If this is new to you, read this blog post—What Is Your Attachment Dance?


I often notice the interaction between a child and his or her parents. I smile when I see a child confidently interact with his or her environment. I know that a lot of that has to do with how much that child trusts his or her attachment parent.

Then I also notice when a child feels insecure.

The reality is that every child that comes from a hard place comes to us with an insecure attachment style. No way around that fact.

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Year Three Adoption Update

4 Things I Learned

I joyfully remember three days regarding my son—the day he was placed in our home by CPS, the day we adopted him, and his birthday. Usually I recall the dates of the first two days of celebration more quickly than I can his birthday. I get some strange looks when I am asked when his birthday is, and I take a few moments to answer.

September 21 we will celebrate year number three since his gotcha day! I promise, mostly to our son, that I won’t keep doing these updates into his teen years.



Our son began his third and final year of preschool a couple of weeks ago. He has handled the transition to a new classroom, classmates, and teachers much better this year than last.

He struts or darts down the hall to his classroom like he owns the place now. Teachers and peers know him (he’s hard to not notice!). I greatly appreciate everyone who has invested in him at his preschool.

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What Can Help Your Child Feel Secure in Your Relationship?

Did you know that when a parent knows or is decisive about what to do next with their child, the child gains confidence? It’s called mirror neurons. A child will reflect or imitate our actions. If we are anxious and unsure, the child will be anxious and unsure. If we are calm and confident, then…well you get the idea.

A few weeks ago I attended a seminar about the Circle of Security. This is a simple model for parents to use in attaching to their children. In the world of foster care and adoption, this usually is a challenge.  Below is a diagram describing the Circle of Security.

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Year Two Adoption Update

Time flies as they say. I wonder if time goes by more quickly when life is more intense. Yeah, I think it does. This week we celebrated the second anniversary of our son’s “Gotcha Day”!

Raising a preschool age child describes intensity for anyone. Constant motion. Endless questions. Creative manipulation.

The second year of our son as a part of our forever family brought all of that and more. Throw in a couple of months of persistent night terrors, more attachment issues and several neighbor friends moving and now we have intensity.

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How to Develop Trust with an At-Risk Child

My wife took our three-year-old son to one of his favorite places yesterday—the mall. He enjoys playing at the indoor toddler playground as long as other children are there.

Sure enough children swarmed the play area, running, laughing, crying, climbing, and playing chase. Some parents sat fiddling with their smart phones periodically checking on their child. While others hovered over their little one trying to protect them from the bigger kids.

Our son quickly made friends with two girls who were sisters. When their mother announced that it was time to go, he followed the family out of the play area telling them he wanted to go home with them.

As my wife ran out to chase our son down, the girl’s mother was telling him that he needed to go home with his own mommy.

Whoa! What is that all about?


The challenge is he either doesn’t know who to trust or he doesn’t trust anyone. This prevents him from securely attaching to us as his mommy and daddy. Children from a hard place often struggle with this.

What is meant by, “a child from a hard place”?

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