A Boy Who Waits: Meet I.K.
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The numbers of children waiting to be adopted internationally are high. In 2011, UNICEF estimated there were 153 million orphans. Many of these children are older or are part of sibling groups which can often create barriers to them being adopted into loving homes capable of providing the love, structure, guidance, and nurturing that they need. In fact, the in-country professionals with whom MLJ Adoptions Inc. works in Bulgaria suggest that because there are sibling groups of three or more children waiting to be placed, there is special care taken to process these children. If families are open and willing to accept three children ages 0-6, they could be matched quickly. Your home study and dossier do not even need to be fully complete to begin the initial process with these waiting sibling groups.
Siblings who have grown up with one another and become adopted into the same family generally adjust much better, particularly if the children have been exposed to a traumatic event, as they have each other to help process the emotions associated with it. Generally, the children are also able to maintain a lasting family bond when they are placed together which offers them stability and a connection to their past.
However, adopting both multiple children and older children does require some parental “soul searching” prior to making a decision. It is very hard work! Here are five things to consider before you decide to adopt more than one child.
You will need to bring new methods of coping to your household such as scheduling, establishing a routine, flexibility, delegating responsibilities, having specific house rules, scheduling one-on-one time with each child, engaging in family activities that span the age group, and establishing firm boundaries. You will need to build in time for self-care, possibly including therapy, support groups, and relaxation exercises. You and your spouse will need to schedule time out together on occasion. You will want to arrange for child care, school choices, and medical and dental services before the children arrive. You will need to accept help from others when it is needed.
However, parenting multiples can be very rewarding and definitely does have certain benefits. Older married couples with parenting experience may be more likely to look at sibling groups and be successful with them. Multiples can offer you the unique opportunity to love many children at once and help you expedite reaching your preferred family size. The children can at times entertain each other and have “built in” playmates. They can help each other adjust to the new home. They will have another person from their country of origin with whom to identify and speak the language. The children may be comfortable sharing rooms because that is what they have done in the past. Your wait time for a referral may be shortened. Financially, adopting multiples may reduce certain fees, save money on preparing a dossier or home study, reduce your travel costs or foreign fees, and make it more efficient to complete all of the paperwork at once. You may be eligible for adoption grants to help with the cost of your adoption. And certainly, you can benefit from the federal Adoption Tax Credit. Finally, you can feel comforted by the fact that you are providing a loving home for vulnerable children who are in need of permanency and stability.
“Adopting a sibling group is an adventure. And like all adventures, there are peaceful times, dangerous times, exciting times, and times when you feel there will be no tomorrow. Most assuredly, this is not a journey for the faint of heart. But parents who respond favorably to variety, rewards, challenges, and accomplishments may find that this is the road for them.” (Adopting The Hurt Child, 1995, Gregory C. Keck, Ph.D. and Regina M. Kupecky, LSW)
There are many factors to consider when adopting multiple children at one time, but doing so may be just the right fit for your family.
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