Our adoption story started in the fall of 1984 when I experienced a near fatal health emergency as a result of a genetic illness. My wife and I decided not to have biological children, as there was a strong possibility that my illness would be passed onto our children. We were aware of adoption, but never considered it seriously — we’d heard that it could take years and years.
More and more adopted children are arriving home between the ages of one and three, and many of these toddlers have been wrenched from a familiar setting, are grieving the loss of a known caregiver, have experienced neglect or other forms of abuse, and/or have experienced multiple disruptions in their short lives. Toddlers who have resided in orphanages have typically experienced both environmental impoverishment and extremely inadequate care.
Even if sexual abuse is not disclosed in a child’s history, foster and adoptive parents must be prepared to deal with issues of sexuality and sexual abuse.
Was My Child Abused?
If your child’s worker does not mention sexual abuse, and records say nothing, did your child escape this form of abuse? Maybe. Maybe not. Sexual abuse often goes unnoticed, and unrecorded, and often children are reluctant to talk about abuse, and few abusers confess to their crimes.
AFABC often receives requests for referrals to adoption therapists and for advice on how to choose the right one. This article, sourced from an article by the National Adoption Information Clearing House, provides some answers.
Adoption brings unique rewards as well as challenges to families, and sometimes families will need or want professional help as concerns or problems arise. Timely intervention by a professional skilled in adoption issues often can prevent issues common to adoption from becoming more serious problems that might be more difficult to resolve.
Aleisha and Garry Jenkins adopted their first child, Sadie, as a newborn from the US. Two years later, they approached the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD), hoping to adopt two older children. They were surprised when the MCFD proposed a sibling group of two: Elliot, a little boy of 18 months, and his sister, Maya, three years old. Though they didn’t expect such young children, the couple pursued the adoption.
Attachment theory and children in care
"Two years ago we adopted a child of six. We have found parenting him far more difficult than we ever expected, or were prepared for. He has not really settled down and we find his behaviour very demanding. My husband and I are in despair. We don’t know what to do or where to turn."
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.
Why did you adopt special needs children?
At the time we had three birth children who were boys and we wanted to experience raising daughters. We had fostered special needs children for many years and felt we were able to meet the challenges that come with parenting special needs children.
How long did it take?
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."