Prepare your child before the trip, but save intensive preparation for one-two weeks before the departure date. Allie knew for several months that we were adopting a "mei mei", and that we would all be going to China to bring her home, but we didn’t discuss any details until we received Marie’s proposal.
By Julie Smith (not her real name)
In her workshop "Answering Your Child’s Questions about Adoption," Lois Melina stressed that adoptive parents must commit to speaking openly with their children. Adoption is a significant event in the lives of families and connects them through shared memories and histories.
Melina also emphasized that adoptive children deserve to hear about their backgrounds in a loving way. This reduces feelings of abandonment or rejection. She cautioned that if parents try to hide the facts, their children are likely to hear them from someone else.
Talking about grief and loss is a difficult conversation for adoptive parents to have with each other and with children. For my family, adoption is neither a win-win-win nor a lose-lose-lose situation, but rather it is both. Together the losses inherent in the adoption process and the deep love we share bind our family together. After eight years and lots of difficult work acknowledging my own losses, I am more able to embrace the role that both loss and love play in our family.
These are the findings of Dr. Elinor Ames' research on the Development of Romanian Children Adopted to Canada. In 1990, Dr. Ames, an adoptive parent and professor of developmental psychology at BC's Simon Fraser University, began her research on the effects of institutionalization on children adopted to BC from Romanian orphanages. That same year, 1013 children were adopted from Romania to Canada, the single largest influx of intercountry adoptions in Canadian history.
by Dana E. Johnson
The most difficult area in adoption medicine is predicting the needs of children adopted from orphanages. We are only beginning to understand how these kids are doing. Studies have been too few to say with certainty what percentage is normal (even if we could define "normal"). Also, the situation changes with time. Some children resolve problems, while others begin to exhibit them as the years pass. Because studies only deal with a two-to-five-year period after adoption, no one can speculate on long-term issues.
A summary from Dr Jill Waterman's session at the North American Council on Adoptable Children Conference in Pasadena, July 28 - August 1, 1999, on outcomes for adopted children affected by drugs. Waterman is the head of Clinical Psychology at UCLA and co-instigator on the TIES Adoption Project in LA. TIES provides Training, Intervention, Education, and Services to support the adoption of children who were prenatally exposed to alcohol and/or other drugs.
Anne and David Mickel have Maury Povich to thank for their latest family addition. No, five-year-old Danielle, who arrived home in December, didn't come via the US. The idea did. Anne said when watching the annual American television feature on adopting older children, they realized they "knew nothing about it ... it just seemed like something we wanted to do."
Celine and husband Dan Green live in a small town nestled in the BC mountains. Like many, they could not produce children biologically and found the intercountry adoption option too costly. However, they were sure about one thing: They wanted children. As independent business people well connected to their small community, said Celine,"we had a lot to offer a child, and we wanted more fulfillment in our own lives."
The Decision to Adopt
Kathy and Rick Miller already had four birth children between the ages of nine and 16, when they decided to add a sibling group of two to their family. "We enjoy children a lot," said Kathy, who has a degree in Child and Youth Care. "We have lots of parenting experience, and we felt we had a lot to offer as a family." She and Rick, who is a teacher, wanted more children, but felt that it was better "to expand our family by adding children who genuinely needed a home, rather than biologically."