Adoption is a family decision that must be considered and all members must agree to this important step.
It can be said that adopted children are highly desired. It is highly recommended, when the decision has been made, to speak with other parents who have adopted or are in the process of adoption.
Parents must accept and assume that they are going to be the adoptive family of the child and that this will never change, it is a reality from the beginning of the process.
Normally, the adoption process is long, parents must go through a strict selection process and in the last phase they must move a few weeks to the child’s country of origin. Parents should take advantage of the time that the paperwork takes to think about what they will need when the child comes home.
The adopted child
The most important thing is that the child is accepted by his adoptive family as he is, with his previously lived reality and his innate characteristics. Adoption will be part of your story and inevitably you will think about it throughout your life. For this reason, communication, the facility to express feelings and to converse naturally on the subject is important.
The adopted child should not radically break with his “previous reality”, it is good that he knows where he comes from and that he has some memory or object from his past. It is a fundamental link to start a new life starting from an already known reality.
The situation of adoptive parents is not easy but it can be just as comforting as parents of biological children. The relationship with the adopted child should be based on affection, listening, communication and sincerity , where the feelings of parents and children can be freely expressed and where the limitations of both parties are accepted. It’s a great way to initiate, establish, and strengthen the parent-child bond.
Adoption takes time to adjust (the time to establish the emotional bond is also necessary in biological children). We must assess the factors that can influence the process of establishing the bond: age of the child, circumstances they have lived, state of health …
It is normal that the first few days nothing goes as expected: mealtime is a disaster, he does not like the bathroom or he cries inconsolably when changing his clothes. The child must get used to and adapt to new routines, with patience and affection everything changes in a few weeks.
One of the things that most distresses adoptive parents is the child’s health. It is essential that the child be taken to the Pediatrician so that he knows the child, reviews him and performs the necessary tests or tests to rule out disease: analytics, stool cultures, serologies … At the first visit, all the child’s medical documentation must be provided and the vaccines that have been administered in the country of origin.
The adopted child has the right to know as much as possible about his adoption and his previous life history (adapted to the child’s age, of course). Being honest about the exact circumstances of your adoption will help dispel guilt fantasies on the subject. You can talk about how the meeting was, what they felt when they hugged him the first time, how he was dressed, what were his first words when he saw them …
It is not recommended to hide the child who is adopted , because if one day he discovers it, he will feel cheated and it will be much more difficult to repair the damage. The child must learn that he is adopted by his parents, not by third parties; it is a way of instilling confidence in the child and avoiding that adoption is perceived as a shameful process that his parents have tried to hide from him. The word adoption should not be a taboo in the family, it should be used with a positive and natural tone, especially at times when one is emotionally close to the child.
In every adoption process the child goes through different phases that can last more or less (they will be shorter the younger the child is).
There is always a phase of anguish or stress first.
Crying, irritability and problems with the child’s basic needs abound in it: eating and sleeping. The child feels pain from being abandoned and experiences a radical change in reality. The routines in the child give him security, anticipating is healthy for his emotional well-being. The newly arrived adopted child, surely had other types of routines in his country of origin, so it is not surprising that the change (despite the fact that it is for the better), causes insecurity in the child in the first weeks. Perseverance in routines and affection are the fundamental keys to success in the adaptation of the child.
Physical contact and displays of affection are essential : hugs, kisses, caresses … It is a universal way of showing him that he is loved in the family and helps him to be safe.
The second phase is the adaptation phase.
Parents and child must get to know each other. It is time to test the limits of what you can or cannot do, of what you can expect from the other members of the family… We must not forget that setting limits is also necessary in adopted children. They should know that there are basic rules of respect and that their behavior must be appropriate. Limits should be applied with gentle firmness. It is normal that in this phase there are moments of anguish on both sides.
In the adopted child, characteristic feelings or fears appear, such as the fear of being abandoned again by the adoptive family, distrust of adults and the insecurity that nothing is lasting.
The child’s age is key in the adaptation process . If you adopt a baby who does not speak yet, the memories are almost non-existent, only on a sensitive level. When a child who has already started the language is adopted, there are already memories in his memory. As the child is older, emotional conflicts and anguish grow, so the help of a psychologist may be necessary in difficult or very long adaptation processes.