Conclusions

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  1. As a result of the latest brain scans, bonding can no longer be referred to as merely psychological.
  2. Clear evidence has emerged suggesting that brain structure is not simply genetically determined. Trillions of new connections between neurons are rapidly formed in the first five years. These synaptic links are reflected overtly as memes which represent learned ways of thinking and doing things. Memes parallel genes in importance and in their observable physical nature.
  3. In addition to the latest brain studies, the importance of bonding is supported by socio-psychological research, and by many appellate court decisions.
  4. Bonding must be evaluated beforehand, and considered when child placements are made. Once bonded relationships are interrupted, it is too late. The potential damage has been done.
  5. Bonding takes precedence over kinship. What determines a relationship? A relative is someone to whom you are related. There are many ways to relate or be related. Biological parents pass on their genes. Parents-in-place (de facto parents) pass on their memes. Both are enduring. The marriage bond is a good example of the precedence of bonding over kinship. Strong relationships and potential lifetime commitments are more valuable to the child than blood ties.
  6. The primary consideration in matters of placement should be the rights of the child. Children have the right to a permanent home. As federal law (ASFA) makes clear, the rights of the child are paramount. Bonding outweighs biological kinship, not because the biological parents do not have certain “rights,” but because these rights are superseded by the serious harm that can result from moving a bonded child.