A Letter to New Adoptive Parents...
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Families can be attracted to the idea of adopting more than one non-related child simultaneously because they have big hearts and want to help more than one child. Also, it can be cost less, minimize travel, and provide the kinship of a sibling that speaks the same language and has the same cultural background. While adopting more than a single child at one time can be successful, it can also have emotional and financial repercussions and result in adoption disruption and dissolution.
When a family welcomes a new child into the home, the child needs to form emotional attachments with the parents and siblings. Today, the children available for international adoption are generally older. Children who have spent their early years in an orphanage can suffer from emotional and developmental trauma, making it more difficult for them to form healthy attachments with others. Adopting more than one child at a time can compound the challenges of forming attachments with family members because the family has to divide their time and energy amongst all of the new children, instead of only focusing on one. The number of formed attachments needed increases as the number of newly adopted children increases. The new children and other family members can easily become emotionally overwhelmed.
As well as being older, many children available for international adoption have special medical and developmental needs. It can take a significant amount of time and money for these children to catch up with medical and dental care. Many of these children also have special emotional needs that need to be addressed therapeutically. The medical and therapeutic costs, both financially and emotionally, of multiple children can easily become just as or even more expensive than a single child adoption. Furthermore, they can have vastly different emotional needs, which may be more complex than the parents are prepared to deal with. Some of these issues may not become a reality for the parents until the adoption has gone through, and can prove to be more emotionally and financially taxing than anticipated.
Adopting more than one non-related child simultaneously is significantly more challenging than adopting a single child. However, this type of adoption does occur, ideally only in families that are extraordinarily prepared.
These families should have sufficient financial resources, emotional energy and resiliency, and the time and training for therapeutic parenting. They should be able to deal with complex behavior and know how, when, and where to seek therapeutic resources. Prior adoption experience is very helpful. It may be better for time to lapse between adoptions, allowing each adopted child to form attachments with family members before another is welcomed into the home. Not all families can handle the emotional and financial responsibilities associated with multiple, simultaneous adoptions.
Though such an adoption may be well intentioned, it could end up in adoption disruption. Adoption cannot benefit the child if the child is unable to thrive in his or her new home.
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