Like many of you, the first two years home with our daughter involved sleepless nights and restless days with a tired, hyper-aroused toddler. It was during those early years that I began my informal education in trauma and the brain, attachment disorders, positive parenting, and floor time.
“Daaaddyyy... I reddy for waaaiipe...!” My recently adopted child yelled out. “Coming!” I sang back. I look back now, years later, to those daily routines of officially being a bum wiper for my children as precious moments. They were opportunities for each of my children to know that I am dependable and committed, and that I love each one. In our adoption journey, those days of behavioural regression manifested by our adopted children were truly blessings in disguise which needed to be seized as the ticket to trust, bonding, and relationship building.
Attachment disorder is also known as Reactive Attachment Disorder.
Attachment forms the foundation for a child's physical, cognitive, and psychological development. It becomes the basis for development of basic trust or mistrust, and shapes how the child will relate to the world, learn, and form relationships throughout life.
Gayla was adopted from Russia at age 11. Here, Gayla's mom describes how the family navigated teh academic challenges of high school.
Galya spent three solid years at elementary school and, though she was older than her friends and classmates, she neither felt nor behaved out of place. How would the move to high school go?
Adoptive mom Carol Bolton describes how she struggled but succeeded in developing an attachment relationship with one of her newly-adopted sons.
Last year, we adopted our two sons. Though siblings, the boys had been placed in different foster homes and barely knew each other.
David, aged two, was placed five days after birth with foster parents who were very experienced and knew how to transition a child to a new family. David moved in with us first and the process went very smoothly.
We must never forget that moving a child into a new family is a life-altering event for the child. Focus on Adoption magazine asked social worker Judy Archer for her top three recommendations for transitioning children into a new family.
It is almost impossible to narrow down my recommendations to just three.
When a new child joins your family, it means that all the family members need to adjust and adapt to the new arrival so that he or she develops a sense of belonging.
This transformation has to occur not only the first time a family adopts, but each time a child arrives. If the members of the family system don’t make the shift to include the new child, then the child will be stuck in the outer limits of the family, never really belonging.
Though adjusting to being the parent of a new child can be tough, it's nothing compared to the adjustment an older adopted child has to make.
Have you ever had one of your child’s friends over and found yourself counting down the hours until the little pal goes home?
A child welfare expert, and adoptive mom to 12 children, explains how retracing developmental stages helps older adoptees heal.
During college I studied Erik Erikson, a Pulitzer prize-winning psychologist known for his work in the mid-1900s on identity and psychosocial development. Decades later, I noticed remarkable connections between his theories and parenting older adopted children. The key part of Erikson’s theory is that until a person completes one developmental stage, they cannot go on to the next stage.
Since Harriet Fancott adopted a baby last year, she's had time to reflect on what, despite all her preparation, she wasn't prepared for.