A Letter to My Adoptive Family
My name is Robert. My adoptive family ought to know my poor family background. I could not easily access basic needs like good food, clothing, and access to medication, secure shelter and education. Financial constraints in the family let to constant quarrelling between my parents leading to a divorce. None of my biological parents was willing to take care of me. Neither were my close relatives. Life was unbearable which consequently made me join a street family. Given that I was barely five years old, I could not effectively fend for myself. My exposure to deplorable street life led to my health problems that landed me in the hospital. My foster parents rescued me from street life.
My new family should assure me of access to medication, protection against mental, spiritual and physical harm, secure housing environment, and access to quality education, good clothing and food. I would like my adoptive parents to inculcate close attention and interaction between us in order to enhance my esteem and love for others. They should also understand that children shape their characteristics and confidence depending on how they are brought up by their parents and people they value in life. A child’s bond with their parents depends on how they are taken care of, besides their presence being acknowledged and adopted when making family plans. Children develop self-confidence and attachment as per their interaction with people they value in life besides being assured of their parent’s commitment to their needs.
Children display unique physical abilities and personalities that enable them achieve their goals using a different approach. They pass through numerous development stages to achieve the same objectives. My adoptive parents should, therefore, appreciate what I do in different stages of development. In fact, a child’s development in regard to psychological, physical and intellectual capacity depends on the environment he or she is exposed to. My new family is obligated to create the perfect environment for growth. The process requires mutual relationship between children and parents. The family is the foundation of a child’s nurturing, stability and safety. A good family environment enhances positive child development. It makes them encouraged and stimulated to advance their goals. A child growing in the right family environment feels secure and determined to pursue their dreams within their capability and capacity.
Children need a healthy and strong attachment from parents to enhance the development of self-reliance and trust in others. Creation of a supportive environment is vital for them to go through emotional, cognitive, physical and language development. Emotional needs entail developing a sense of trust in others by being assured of limited placements and physical care. This support will guarantee a smooth transition in development stages. It also requires self-identity that helps in making appropriate decisions at all stages of life without being exposed to constant external control by parents. Emotional support also entails conscience, unwavering support and encouragement through forming relationship with other members in the society.
My adoptive parents ought to note the loss and grief children undergo after separation and be willing and able to solve my emotional needs. I hope they will acknowledge my feelings without fear. I also believe that they will be sincere to my future stay with them by involving me in all their plans at all stages of my life. The involvement will be essential in creating my confidence in them. The above wish list is my plea to my adoptive parents.
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Caregivers are vital in helping adoptive parents to get in-depth knowledge concerning an adopted child. However, the new parents need to involve other professionals like therapists to help them understand unusual behavior displayed by the child. Professional help will equip them with much-needed skills to handle and contain the child. Professionals have experience of identifying unusual characteristics hence capable of advising the family appropriately. Redundancy in development stage needs careful and urgent solution that would require the help of professionals. Foster parents should limit change in placements to such children in order to create necessary attachment or bonding. Adoptive parents need to be honest with the children they adopt at all stages of their life including the child’s involvement in all decisions regarding their welfare. The involvement encompasses supporting their feelings to inculcate trust to enhance smooth bonding, especially at the early stages of their placement. This support is exhibited limiting changes the adopted children are exposed to in terms of cultural and racial changes by adopting children of their race and culture. They should make them understand their schedules, and if possible, allow access of the child’s close relatives, friends and parents if present to visit them. They should be skeptical of any negative moves that can make the child feel misplaced by creating close relationships with the child before bringing him/her into their family setup through visits to the foster family. They ought to place the child in a familiar environment to avoid causing more traumas. Adoptive family should assure the child of emotional, physical and psychological care, smooth simulation, limited transitions and healthy interactions. Limited separation by the adoptive parents will protect the child from continuous psychological pain, experienced in their early stages. The limited separation will depend on their knowledge of prior placements that the child has undergone. Knowing the child’s placement background will help in ascertaining their level of emotional strength in coping with changes. Most adopted children come from unstable family environment that has disillusioned the child’s sense of autonomy and dependency.
According to Dr. Vera Fahlberg, there are about three development stages that children go through, while their placement. The stages include protest to their separation, depression and sometimes becoming detached to the new family. The foster parent is obligated to clarify and confirm expectations of the adopted child in order to avoid misunderstandings or false hopes. Toddlers are sensitive to nonverbal communication. Any resistance to their transfer by foster parents can be detrimental in a child’s feelings. It is important to build a close and positive communication between foster and adoptive family before transfer. A child should control the pace of his interaction with adoptive parents in order to earn their trust. Familiarizing the child to an adoptive home is normally done through nonverbal communication skills like bringing the child toys and later withdraw them during visits. Withdrawal of the toys to place them in an adoptive home is meant to create a familiar environment on their visit home. The visits are vital in learning the child’s routine, which ought to be maintained to avoid effects of loss and grief. Younger children are more sensitive than adolescents or young adults; hence there is a need for the new family to observe the adopted child’s daily routine in order to develop his or her sensory experiences. Environmental changes emanate from placement lead to regression of the child in their routine. Adoptive family ought to understand and cooperate to help them regain their routine with time. Continued visits by foster parents are necessary for assuring the child’s safety, hence easy to adjust in the new family. During the visits, foster parents hand over the child’s routine to the adoptive parents. Post placement period requires other children to pay visits to the child in order to reduce the feeling of guilt by the foster parent.
Changing a child’s name is the subject of discussion, since it affects the child’s identity. Children of a sound age should participate in the decision-making process. In most cases, the surname is normally changed, as opposed to changing the first name. However, due to some reasons, the first name may be changed, especially in inter-country placement or adoption. This change may be caused by issues incurred in pronouncement of the name, peculiarity of the name that may make them unique or meaning of the name in the new culture (Fahlberg, 1991).
Grief process needs close contact between the child and foster parent for quick healing. Any action, contrary to this, creates disproportions (Fahlberg, 1991). The visits by foster family are usually delayed in the initial stages of adoption process to allow the child form close relationship with adopted parents. However, if the foster parents were not in good contact with the child, then it needs to be stopped. If both adoptive and foster parents are residing from the same community, the child should be allowed to visit them unless they want to seek solace during some difficulties. Older children need to maintain contact with their birth family or extended family members. Many children display funny characters in their adopted families due to grieving for their foster family. The display of abnormal behavior is evident in case of Merideth, who had been adopted by the Norman family (Fahlberg, 1991). They try to annoy the adopted family, so that they can reunite with their foster family. Preparation for moving out of a foster family to emancipation by young adults or adolescents demands that they learn to be independent in finances, housekeeping, laundry, budgeting, and shopping among other needs. Like any other young person, such people need emotional, psychological and financial help during such periods (Fahlberg, 1991).
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Adoption has become a common phenomenon today. It is recommended to follow the due process when adopting. Children on placement undergo different psychological transition. Full involvement of caregivers in the adoption process is eminent for smooth transition. The period between visits and actual transfer of the child vary depending on the age and how fast the child builds trust with the interested family. It is advisable to fully involve the child in all matters related to transfer besides being transparent on their future. Close contact between the adopted child and their foster family is good within the grieving period. However, there are cases when the adopted child exhibits abnormal behavior after adoption. In such circumstances, it is advisable to seek services of a professional advisor. Adopted children need social, financial and psychological support after emancipation. Adoption within one’s race or region is recommended. All in all, we can not do away with adoption since it has become part of the modern society.