According to Adoptive Families Magazine, there are over 400,000 adopted children in the US living with families who are caring for children that come from such places as Russia, Ethiopia, China, Colombia, and Ukraine. As a parent, one thing you always want to do is make sure that you do everything possible to make the child feel at home.
The First Step Will Be The Hardest
When your adopted children have spent the first part of their lives adjusting, often time speaking their native language and picking up the new language, it’s very difficult for them. They often have difficulty making friends and adjusting to the new school system, especially if they are older. For example, a Fifteen-year-old with Ten years of schooling in Korea might have a more difficult time adjusting to their new life and routine, than a baby who was brought to their new home at an early age. If your adopted children have special needs, you may need to provide interpreter services and make sure that they can receive the services they need while they are attending school. You may feel stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed by your new role as a parent. You and your child may also deal with feelings of grief, sadness, loss, and confusion. All of these emotions are reported by new parents bringing in any child into their home, and are natural.
Identity Issues to Be Aware Of When Parenting Internationally Adopted Children
Having an adopted child is always a blessing. However, it may need your utmost attention most of the time. Challenges that arise range from the minor to the major. If you are adopting an older child and also have other children in your family, you may experience some unique identity issues as you navigate through your parental roles. Here are some issues to be aware of:
Your adopted child may feel that they don’t belong to the family because they aren’t biologically related to everyon else. This can be an emotionally trying time for any adoptive parent. That you aren’t biologically related to your child can put them in a position where they feel their parents don’t like them. They may feel like they don’t belong to the family and therefore do not feel loved.
Reassurances from time to time wouldn’t hurt. The first few months are very crucial and it’s when they feel foreign to their new home. Give them the warmest support you could ever give as an adoptive parent.
Your adopted child may feel they are going to be treated as a second-class citizen because they aren’t biologically related to you. For example, they may want to go on family vacations, but may not feel totally included because you are biologically related to the other children. This can create some tension between you and your child. This limiting belief must be shackled slowly, so the child feels safe.
Your adopted child may believe that you don’t want them in the family because of something they did or are doing. For example, your child may have a difficult time in school and it might affect their ability to keep up with all the other children. Your child may feel that you don’t want them in the family because of how they are performing at school.
Don’t put any pressure on how they should fare in their education. There are many ways on how you can uplift the importance of education, how rewarding learning is, and how grades are substantial in the education system. Always lift their self-esteem.
Your adopted child may have a feeling that they are not wanted because they have had a previous negative experience with a family member or with adoption. This can be one of the more difficult situations to deal with. Your child may feel you don’t want them in the family because they have had a negative experience with a family member, you must address this issue immediately. The more positive experience your child has with a family member or a family member’s children, the less likely it is that this will be an issue for your child.
Building a Relationship With Your Internationally Adopted Child
Children who have been adopted from another country differ from "typical" American children. Their birth experiences and culture can differ depending on what country they were born in. For example, children adopted from China may not speak the same language, and children adopted from Peru may speak Spanish, not English. Surrounding their adoption, your child may need counseling and support from you. Many parents of internationally adopted children fear their child cannot connect with them. Regardless, it is important to build a strong relationship with the child, who might feel lost and confused at first.
Having a strong relationship with your child is very important and will help him or her feel connected to the family, even if he or she doesn’t look like you or have the same background.
Raising children is about meeting your child’s basic needs for a loving family and care, not about what he or she wants. If you suspect your child is traumatized by the circumstances of his or her adoption, he or she may need therapy to help him or her process these feelings. It’s also important to remember that a child cannot control their feelings and needs. The feelings and needs of a child don’t change as they grow older, and it is inappropriate to expect your child to act differently from a young age. The major goal of an adoptive family is to form a relationship that feels natural and is rooted in love.
Loss and Grief Associated With Adoption
Do you know that loss and grief can be associated with adoption? While grief can be one of the most difficult emotions to deal with, when it occurs regarding the loss of a child, it is an expected response. When loss and grief occur because of your adoption, you may want to seek the help of an adoptive parent who has experienced this type of loss. An adoptive parent will provide you with comfort and help you through grieving. When the birth parent is gone, many children experience grief. To deal with this grief, you and your child need help from those who have been through it before or professionals. While it is important to grieve the loss of your birth mother, it is also important that you make a plan for how you will help your child. You should know how you will help your child through his or her grief and how he or she will come to terms with the loss. Be prepared for those tough moments. To raise a healthy, well-adjusted adopted child, you need to know how to help your child deal with the adoption process and be an involved parent.
Adjustment Issues of Intercountry Adopted Child
Many children adjust well to life in their new country. They are happy with the new language, friends, and family they have. There are some children who, because of the experiences they had in their adopted home, deal with different issues than other children. While you are happy with your child’s adjustment, it is important to realize that the child may not be doing as well. While it is normal for a child to have some adjustment issues in their new home, you should know the child’s problems and help him or her as much as possible. Be open and accepting. You must be open to your child’s struggles with adoption issues and accept them. As long as a child is happy with you and loves his or her adoptive family, there is nothing wrong with being open to the possibility that problems might exist.
How Can I Best Support My Internationally Adopted Child?
There are many ways you can help your child. If a child feels comfortable talking to you, then let him or her do so. If a child is not open to the idea of talking about adoption, help him or her to learn how to be open to discussing the topic. It is hard for children to talk about something that they are afraid or ashamed of.
Sometimes, the child may not be ready to talk about adoption issues. This can be a sign that the child does not have any struggles or issues. If your child talks about his or her adoptive family, do not dismiss their worries. You should make them feel comfortable about this issue. Tell them to talk to you about their problems or concerns.
Understanding and Dealing with Your Adopted Child with Trauma
If you are considering adoption and want to learn more about it, there are many professionals and resources available to help you. It’s best to know what to expect so you know how to help the child adjust. Adoption professionals and adoption advocates like RainbowKids have been involved with internationally adopted children and can share different success stories. To successfully bond with an internationally adopted child, you need help from those who have been through the process before. Adoption professionals and specialists will help you learn how to deal with the emotions your child may have as he/she experiences the birth process.