Bonding Activities for Adoptive Families

Adjusting to adoption can be difficult both for adoptees and their adoptive families. This isn’t a small life change, so it’s normal for things to feel overwhelming.

Although the fear and uncertainty surrounding adoption are completely normal and to be expected, it can still be uncomfortable. You want to make your home feel as safe and loving as possible for your adoptive child and the rest of your family.

Preparing for this change is one thing, but creating that connection with this new member of your family may be more challenging than expected. Even with all the love and patience in the world, bonding as an adoptive family can always use a little extra help.

The Importance of Bonding for Adoptive Families

Becoming adoptive parents adds an immense amount of joy to your life, but like any form of parenting, it comes with a good amount of stress. The fear of being unable to bond with your child can leave you feeling distressed. You want to include your child, not isolate them. You also want to feel comfortable in this adjustment. You need to provide for your adoptive child beyond the basics of food, clothing, and shelter.

Feeling like your adopted child’s parent and really connecting as a family won’t happen overnight. It takes work and intentionality; just waiting for bonding to happen won’t help. Taking action and ensuring you are doing all you can to form that attachment boosts your confidence as a parent. The effort you put into bonding as an adoptive family will show.

Bonding Activities for Adoptive Families

Bonding activities for adoptive families can be adventurous or simple. They can include everything from trust falls and games to simply cooking meals together and hanging new family photos where everyone is included.

Connect With Other Adoptive Families

Seeing how other families bonded and grew together is not only reassuring, but it can also teach you a lot. It is beneficial for you as parents and for the child. Seeing other families who have come together similarly can help a child know they are not alone or singled out.

Create and Continue Routines

As a family, you likely have a schedule revolving around school and mealtimes. Use this opportunity to establish family time as well. Declare one night a week as Family Night and take a trip to the park or zoo, work on the garden or project together, or have a game night. By doing this, you show your child that they are appreciated and valuable within the family dynamic as you instill a sense of family and teamwork in yourself. Even watching movies or reading together can help establish family time.

At the same time, continue your child’s routine. If they read the same book before bed every night, favor a certain toy, or like a particular food, include those parts of their routine into yours. You are making room for them and everything that comes with that. This will help them feel at home with at least one area of stability.


Celebrating a child’s birthday, adoption day, or even the day you first met reinforces importance, appreciation, and love. This doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Simply getting ice cream or having a special breakfast can show a child and the rest of the family they are included and cared for.

Create a Family Book

Build your family’s story together. You can begin the book with your own story before the adoption. You can include your childhood, major milestones, and decision to adopt. Then you can continue to fill in the book together with stories, memories, significant events, and photos.

Help your adopted child write their own book or their section in the family book. It may include their life before adoption to show that they did not only become important when they joined the family but always were. You are not erasing their life before you adopted them but celebrating that. Doing so can help them make sense of their birth and adoption story and feel more secure in their identity.

Engage Your Family’s Culture

Developing a connection to everyone’s heritage is vital for bonding and empowerment. Everyone in the family should feel included. You should value the diversity of your adoptive family and take part in cultural events, celebrations, and traditions.

Being open and accepting of everyone’s past, biological families, and everything that makes them unique helps everyone in the family unit feel special and respected.


Therapy should not be the last resort when things are going wrong. Therapy can help your adoptive family bond, build trust, and open up in a safe, judgment-free space. Whether the adoption is going smoothly or there are hurdles, therapy can help remedy these issues.

Family therapy can help you face past trauma and uncertainty and improve the adjustment. There is no shame in asking for help bonding your family. Experts in the field exist for this reason. It is best to have that support and guidance from the start. This allows both the child and parents to work together and participate in their mental health journey, wellness, and growth.

Family bonding is essential for all families, especially adoptive ones. There is an adjustment period before everyone in the family feels secure and at home. This is to be expected, so working on those bonds through activities and routines encourages closeness and trust. These activities should be enjoyable and inclusive so everyone in the family can connect at their own pace. Adoptive family bonding activities celebrate family diversity, roots, pasts, and uniqueness. At Havenwood Academy, we know that adoptive families don’t always blend right off the bat, and we have extensive experience working with children of adoptive and foster families. We offer help for teen girls who have trauma and attachment issues at our long-term Utah residential facility. If you need extra help with your teen daughter and adoptive family bonding, call us today at (435) 586-2500 to learn more about our program and financial resources. 


Think Havenwood Might Be For You?

We encourage any visitors considering placing their daughter in treatment to fill out our online assessment as soon as possible. This two minute form will give our admissions team all the information needed to determine if your daughter is a good fit for our program.