The following guest post was written by friend and colleague Jolene Philo, author of a soon-to-be-released book on childhood PTSD. Jolene is also the author of A Different Dream for My Child and Different Dream Parenting.
A post at the Adoptive Families Circle confirmed a link that surfaced among adoption, attachment, and PTSD in children while I conducted research for my upcoming book about PTSD in children. Adoption is a wonderful and crucial gift to give to children and families. But sometimes, no matter the age children are at the time of adoption, they need extra care and support to transition from biological families to forever families.
In her post, Danielle Pennel describes the quirks that eventually made her suspect her son, adopted at birth, was developing attachment disorder:
He always had to know where my husband, Paul, and I were in the house or else he’d have an anxiety attack. He would collect items from us, like a sock or a bracelet, and keep them hidden in his room. He would hide food underneath his bed, and we constantly found wrappers in his drawers. Also, he refused to fall asleep unless we stood next to his crib/bed.
His behavior escalated in elementary school after he experienced some bullying. Thankfully, Pennel and her husband found a counselor who treated both the trauma of bullying and the attachment issues stemming from adoption. Two years later, their son is doing better though he still needs extra hugs and reassurance. To read the whole story, visit In Denial About My Son’s Attachment Struggles.
Pennel’s excellent article left out the latest thinking of mental health care professionals about attachment issues in children. They believe the behaviors associated with attachment disorders such as RAD (reactive attachment disorder) are symptoms of childhood trauma, or PTSD as it’s commonly called. Therefore attachment issues are most effectively dealt with by treating children for trauma.
You’ll be reading more about PTSD in children and attachment disorders as I write my [Jolene’s] book on PTSD in kids. But your experiences with adoption, attachment disorders, and PTSD are of great interest, too. You can share them in the comment box on my blog. Thanks!
Photo Credit: David Castillo Dominici at