Adoption Panic or Paranoia?
All Adoption Stories
Perfect Adoptive Parents
If you are preparing to bring your child home, or have recently arrived home with your child, there are a number of things that are important to understand:
First and foremost, keep in mind that while you have spent months, perhaps years, preparing your minds and hearts to welcome this child into your lives and become a family, your child has had little, if any, preparation for this incredibly huge and significant change in his or her life.
Your child was going along with the daily routine when one day, there was an introduction to this person who is to be their new Mom or Dad. Certainly nothing told to them in the way of preparation makes sense to them. Cognitively, most of them are too young to understand that they are getting a new family, and most of them have no reference point for "family." If you have lived all but the first month or two of your life in an orphanage, you have no real understanding of what family means. If your child is older and has memories of a dysfunctional or unstable family life, those memories won't be an accurate reflection of the new relationship ahead with your family.
Don't be too upset or surprised if your child doesn't react to you the way you expected or hoped. Don't take it personally. It takes time to fall in love. It takes time to become a family - to learn how to interact with each other's personalities, temperaments, etc.
In addition, orphanage life requires different skills than family life. In fact, survival skills for life in an orphanage may be "dysfunctional" in a family or American school system.
Consider these points:
Lastly, remember that this is a huge transition for your child. Everything - smells, foods, sounds, textures, language, faces - is going to be radically different from what they are used to and recognize. Respect that by going slowly in introducing them to new things (people, places, toys, foods, etc.).
While You Wait
Saying Goodbye at the Orphanage
Transition at Home
Try to be fairly consistent with structure and routine
Again, give yourself and your child time to fall in love.
Transitioning from orphanage to home is hard on everyone, but the long-term effects of this transition will stay with a child for the rest of their life. Planning ahead and being properly prepared can make for a much smoother road for everyone.
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Thoughts and advice from an incredible advocate families.
A heartfelt letter to a daughter's foster mom in Thailand, who cared for her in the six years she waited to join a family