In 2002, I had the opportunity to spend an incredible week with a wonderful friend, also an adoptive mother,visiting the country of our daughter’s birth.
“On the sidewalk that leads to the grade school near us, his name is in that cement. We see it every day. It’s nice. It makes me feel good to see it, but the other side is that the feeling of loss resurfaces.”
Like new biological parents, some adoptive parents can become blue or even experience some depression once a baby or child comes home. This can occur for several reasons. It's nothing to be ashamed about, but you do need to recognize it and get some help.
I remember walking down the streets of East Vancouver pushing my newborn baby’s stroller and sobbing. I was exhausted from lack of sleep, trying to care for a baby—something I knew precious little about—and from loneliness. I felt that I had thrown away my season ticket to freedom, and I longed to go back to my previous life.
From the beginning, Sean Simpson* knew that the adoption of his two children aged three and five would not be easy. Both children had experienced dreadful neglect and physical and sexual abuse from their birth parents.
This information applies to any individual who is functionally dependent on others in some specific areas, and who does not learn from correction, or who does not “get” why people are distressed with their behavior.
Parents, teachers and support persons of individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) are sometimes faced with episodes of extreme behavior. The first instinct we all follow is to use “common sense” methods for controlling the disruptive behavior of any child.
As our social worker was leaving our home after our final homestudy visit, she noticed our latest purchase hanging on the wall—a colourful plaque featuring a whimsical picture of two faces playing instruments and set on a page of musical notes. The plaque is called Musical Masquerade and we bought it to commemorate our adoption process.
Once we decided that we’d create our family through adoption, we were overwhelmed with the many avenues we could pursue. It was after seeing a Christmas picture of the ACAN group, that we finally decided to adopt internationally, with the Open Door Agency in Georgia. The journey that led us to become a multiracial family had begun.
Once the process was underway, we read books to familiarize ourselves with the issues of white parents raising children of African heritage.
Renee Friedman attended the 2003 NACAC workshop presented by Ronald Frederici and Lisa Locke on “The Neuro-developmental and Attachment Related Disorders.” Here’s what she learned.
Despite its lofty title this workshop proved informative. Dr Frederici, an adoptive parent and ex-worker at an international orphanage, made the assertion that if a child has been institutionalized for two years or more, it is probable that he or she will display neuro-cognitive deficits. In other words, the child’s brain will have developed differently than if trauma had not occurred.
Every toddler without a family is ready for a placement, but not every prospective adoptive family is ready for a toddler. The good news is that the vast majority of parents who have the ability to be effective adoptive parents can develop the skills to parent an adopted toddler, but there are unique concerns and issues that need to be considered.
“I’m not your real Mom. You are adopted.” Those may not have been the exact words, but at age two-and-a-half that’s what I remember hearing. From that moment on, my life changed. Although my mother’s intentions were good, she could not have known how this would impact me.
At the same time as making this comment, she also told me that I would accompany my parents the next morning to bring home a new sister. I was told that we would take a ferry and drive through tunnels to get her- a curious place to get a baby sister, I thought!