In the previous article, we discussed the formation of family systems and how adoption is becoming a preferred choice by many today. But this may be a good moment to take a step back and truly think about the reason why one is looking at adoption. We must critically evaluate and assess the reasons to adopt.
Some of the most common reasons to adopt,
- To parent a child and provide a loving and a nurturing home
- Infertility, or other medical concerns
- Single parent adoption (where having child through the biological route may be difficult).
- Today we do see a trend in adoption as the first choice of route by some parents. However, blended families through both adoption and biological route is an emerging family
Whatever the reason, it should not be attached to noble intentions or charity.
The paramount reason for adoption is to expand one’s family and provide a nurturing home. Attaching noble intentions can be detrimental to adoption and it may interfere later while parenting the child through adoption. It would be dangerous to see ourselves as someone the children should be grateful to, with the implied superiority and egotism. We need to remind ourselves constantly that the adoption is only fulfil the need of parenting and for the child to have a loving stable environment. It is unconditional.
Taking a balanced approach in adoption
Stepping out of comfort zone is never easy. How we see adoption is important. We need to examine our attitudes and comprehend adoption in a holistic manner. Understanding the concept of nuances in adoption while approaching adoption right from the start helps in mitigating biases and prejudices within and outside of adoption.
Many parents are not prepared to handle the social challenges surrounding adoption. While adoption is intensely personal, you must be prepared to talk about adoption and not feel fear or a sense of guilt or shame when questioned about it. You need to be armed with the right information to deal with social prejudices, stigma, misconceptions and opinions regarding adoption. Any hesitation or anxiety or fear can be easily detected and transferred to our family, friends and most importantly the child. Our immediate response in challenging situations is important and our thoughts and words play a vital role in setting the context of adoption in a positive light.
Nuances in adoption
Quite often, it is the unrealistic expectation set by the society that hampers a balanced approach and mindset on adoption. We often confuse with child/teen related concerns with adoption. For instance, tantrums and difficult behaviour in early childhood could be related to generic child related phases and may not be rooted in adoption. Or if a child is not scoring well in school, it does not reflect on adoption or a genetic disposition.
If a teen /adolescent is confrontational, it need not revolve around adoption. Most teens are grappling with their identity and trying to “fit in”. In their quest for their identity, teens may get confused with the dimension of their adoption identity. So, it is therefore important to discern if concerns stem from teen related or adoption related issues. These challenges are not always adoption related, therefore it is important is have a child/teen centric approach to adoption.
The perfect child, whether through adoption or biological is a myth. Often, it is this unrealistic expectation that leads to confusion sometimes in adoption.
- Adoption process is overwhelming: Not really, it is question of equipping yourself with the right information and completely understand the process, then it may not be necessarily be overwhelming.
- Only couples can adopt: Not true… Today, single men and women can adopt.
- Birth parents can take the child back: Once adoption is finalized in the courts, the child is much as yours as any other birth parent
- All adoptees have trouble in attachment: Most adoptees are well adjusted emotionally and psychologically to the adoptive families. Taking care of the basic needs and performing the parental routines is a way of building a secure attachment. Babies and young children seek security and protection from their caregivers, which subsequently leads to a secure attachment. It is therefore very crucial the adoptive parents are available in the initial months when the baby/child arrives home and respond effectively to the child’s needs for security and protection. This ultimately will determine the quality of attachment.
However, in some adoptions, especially older children, there could be developmental as well as trauma related concerns can be wider and perhaps takes time to bridge the concerns. Being prepared as parents and taking steps to identify and resolve concerns (which may include counselling or therapy) could help bridge the gaps in attachment/developmental /emotional issues over time.
- Adoption is a painful journey: Parenting is never easy. This is true whether you are an adoptive or biological parent. However, there is no reason to categorise the entire journey as painful. This may be another area where the distinction between adoption-related and child-related issues may colour the experience. In fact, if you project adoption as burdensome, this emotion will get picked up by the child, and could lead to concerns.
- Is it possible to adopt a child from a particular community or caste? If you are thinking this way, then adoption is probably not right option for your family.
- All children through adoption display Attention Deficit Disorder ADD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder, emotional and behavioural concerns.
While some children through adoption may exhibit ADD, ADHD or other behavioural concerns, it does not affect all of them. These concerns can be seen both in children through adoption and children through the biological route. The important thing is that, in case these are diagnosed, steps are taken to mitigate them.
Research in adoption regarding the various aspects of emotional/ADD/ADHD varies, though some of the concerns can be attributed to genetic pre-disposition of the birth parents, lack of pre-natal care and trauma. To learn more on this please visit www. http://padme.in/specific-learning-disabilities/
- Matching the child to the family: The only matching that one can do is the color of the skin and not the DNA. So, does it really matter? This is (literally) a skin-deep issue. The only thing that should matter is parenting a child and formation of a loving family unit. Yes, it makes things easier from an integration point of view with the larger family. The more important thought here was the distinction we make in our minds, not the external distinctions. If we make distinctions in our thoughts, however physically matched the baby is in one’s environment, it would be disastrous. There is no right or wrong in choosing either, but you must be clear in your mind while making the decision.
To be continued……