10471274_679712472105366_74408688332296241_nDo you dance? I do, although not as well as my husband. I can work through and memorize the steps and patterns, but the fluidity takes some time. In fact, it took me years to learn the true art of partnering with him—the essential non-verbal cues necessary for a smooth connection and easy transitions between us.

Parenting your child is akin to the art of partnering in dance, the nonverbal lead-follow connection vital for social dancing. Your dance with your child is sacred. It is a two-way process of building and maintaining attachment, trust, and a safe space.

When I refer to following, I mean mindfully interpreting what your child indicates she needs (her lead). You choose to respond, mindfully, clearly, building a connection between you and your child.

The dance of attachment can be challenging. Your child has had her birth attachment severed. She has a visceral awareness of her disconnection, and this is the lens through which she attaches to you.

She needs to attach. She needs you.

Your goal is to meet all of her needs.

Perhaps you know her full story. Perhaps you have only pieces. The effort you put forth to attach with your child is dependent upon her style of attachment, history, and temperament.

How can you mindfully move forward while also respecting the distance your child indicates she needs? Be open to adapting your approach.

Observe. Does she lean in or look away?

Listen. Are her sounds joyful, sad, or angry?

Play. What do you notice?

One step forward, two steps back.

Rest. Regroup. Patience. Try again.

Dancing is a process. Establishing a rhythm takes time.

Your child will push away, even as she attaches and becomes securely attached. This is normal. She will seek her independence as she moves into adolescence, but return to you, when she needs you. She seeks the rhythm of dancing with you.

The dance of attachment is life-long. Here are some ideas for improving the dance of attachment with your child:

  • Encourage your child to be a child. Let her know you are available if she needs you.
  • Play. Playing with your child builds social and development skills. Think simple, like a board game.
  • Do activities together, such as creating a craft or cooking.
  • Take a long walk in a beautiful setting. Allow for silence, teaching your child that there can be tranquility in the quiet.
  • Establish a routine. This gives your child a sense of control and allows her to begin developing trust, which is necessary for attachment.
  • Establish permanency. Separate acting-out from your message, “I love you, but I don’t like your behavior.”
  • Give your child emotional and physical space. She needs to have room to be who she is, and to explore herself and her environment. Privacy is important. Giving her space declares, “I trust you.”
  • Take family photos with him, and frame them. Put the photos in her room and around the house, where she and others will see them. The photos reinforce, “I claim you!” The frames represent extra care and being valued.

For Discussion:

What tips can you share that have worked for you and your child? What patterns have you noticed with your child? How have you adapted to her needs? How has observing your child made you better at partnering?

~ Photo: Izzy Hunter


What To Expect From Your Adopted Tween, Judy M. MillerSpirit-led parenting is one of the core tenets of my parent guide, What To Expect From Your Adopted Tween.

Spirit-led parenting focuses on trusting yourself to parent your child compassionately and effectively, based on your life experiences, wisdom, and the common sense you have amassed.

Spirit-led parenting is about connecting to your intuition and trusting your core values. It is about parenting with conviction and confidence.

The majority of all parents regularly question how they can improve parenting their child. Adoptive parents have the additional layers of “more” to contend with—inherent issues in adoption and their child’s unique story—as they set to provide the best parenting they can for their child. Adoptive parents often ask themselves, and others, if they are making the right decisions for their child, given the layers of “more.” Questions similar to:

  • “Am I doing this parenting ‘thing’ right?”
  • “How can I be the best parent for my child?”
  • “How can I be the best parent for my child?”
  • “How do I gain the confidence to trust myself and my parenting decisions?”
  • “What if what I say or what I do backfires?”
  • “Am I damaging my kid and her future?”

Do you wish you could feel more confident and trust yourself as you parent your child? Do you want to parent from your core beliefs and feel proud of how you’ve handled the interactions with your child? Yes? Join me as I share my thoughts and advice TODAY, Wednesday, April 13th. Come and listen!


The Spirit-Led Parenting summit is happening now. Valarie Carlene, a parent advocate, and coach has organized this free 21-day event. I am one of the 21 educators featured in this interview series.

  • You can access the telesummit from any computer or mobile device.
  • You can listen to the 30-minute interviews while working, walking, making food, driving, or commuting.

During the interview, I share clear, usable information that can assist you with parenting in your daily life, specifically parenting your adopted child. As part of the summit, I am offering a freebie: For Families and Friends: Advice, Suggestions, and Honest Dialogue About How to Best Support Families on Their Adoption Journeys. This brief guide helps people create a foundation of knowledge of how to best provide support for adopting parents and their families.

Before you click on the link above to listen to my interview, please purchase a copy of my internationally selling guide for adoptive parents: What To Expect From Your Adopted Tween. My guide loads directly into your e-reader.

Are you interested in working with me? Check out my classes. I often work with parents “one-on-one.”

I encourage you to join me in embracing a movement of loving and trusting ourselves as parents and believing in the innate goodness and strength in each of our children. Please join me on TODAY!


Preparing Your Child for the Arrival of Their Adopted Sibling

March 29, 2016

I parent biological and adopted kids. Preparing children for their new sibling, whether biological or adopted, is very similar. However, there are additional topics that need to be addressed regarding the arrival of the adopted sibling. Focus on the expectations and fears that accompany the sibling’s arrival. The majority of children experience stress when they […]

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Join Me: Spirit-Led Parenting Summit

March 25, 2016

Spirit-led parenting focuses on trusting yourself to parent your child compassionately, and effectively, based on your life experiences, wisdom, and the common sense you have amassed. Spirit-led parenting is about connecting to your intuition and trusting your core values. It is about parenting with conviction and confidence. The majority of all parents regularly question how […]

Read more →

Stress Management for Adopting Parents

March 23, 2016

Every change we experience is stressful, even positive change. Managing your stress—eustress (a beneficial reaction that galvanizes you to perform, achieve, or overcome; feeling positive and fulfilled) versus distress (feeling overwhelmed, often temporary acute mental and physical suffering) is up to you. Adoption is right up there with the top stressful events in a person’s […]

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What You Need to Know to Help Your Transracially-Adopted Child Thrive

March 11, 2016

We white parents believe we adopt transracially with our eyes and hearts wide open. We feel fully prepared to parent our child. We attend the required education to become parents to our remarkable kids. Sometimes: We go beyond the aesthetics presented. We read, research, and ask questions about race and racism. We take notes. We […]

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