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Failed International Adoption

A failed international adoption is rare, but it does occur. And while a disrupted adoption is one of the last things you want to think about as you plan for your adoption, knowing the warning signs will help prevent such a traumatic event from happening to you.

why adoptions fail

Why do Adoptions Disrupt?

According to Lois Ruskai Melina, author of Raising Adopted Children, Revised Edition: Practical Reassuring Advice for Every Adoptive Parent, there are three reasons why a failed international adoption would occur.

Radical Change of Lifestyle for Your Child

Let's say you lived in an isolated portion of the country, and your older adopted child was used to living the fast-paced city life. Your child may have difficulty adjusting to a different setting, and if not addressed, this could lead to a failed international adoption.

Unforeseen Tragedies

When one parent dies, or when there is divorce, this puts extreme pressure on a family. An adopted child or adoptive parent may be tempted to call it quits.

Either the Parents or the Child Weren't Ready for Adoption

This is the main cause for a failed international adoption, and it is not always tied to the child's behavior. The social worker who conducted our home study told me of a couple who adopted a lovely three-year-old child. Soon after bringing the boy home, the adoptive parents realized they weren't up to the task of raising a toddler. They contacted the social worker who found another home where the child is now doing well.

Such cases are rare, but they do happen.

Both the parents and the child must be ready for an adoption and willing to make it work. Parents who are adopting an older child with serious behavior issues, must have the skills to deal with that child and be willing to stick it out.

What Type of Adoptions are Likely to Disrupt?

Failed international adoptions are more likely to involve older children than younger ones. Another issue that can trigger an adoption disruption is how many homes a child has lived in before he was adopted by you. If a child has been moved from one home to the next, and then to another home, he may actually prefer being moved out of your home rather than deal with difficult issues.

Factors that can Trigger a Failed International Adoption

These include stressful times in both the lives of the adopted child and the family, such as moving to another location or school, adolescence and during the adjustment period.

Warning Signs of an Impending Disruption

According to Melina, the early signs include stress and tension that not only do not ease as time goes on but actually start increasing.

In the next, more dangerous step, the parents will start complaining about the child and become unfairly critical. All children make mistakes, but if you find fault in everything your adopted child does, then you could be heading for a failed international adoption.

If you don't recognize and address these early warning signs, it will be harder to resolve these issues as time goes by. You may actually experience a calm before the storm. The conflict isn't resolved, but everybody ignores it and acts as if everything is okay.

Left unresolved, these issues eventually resurface with even greater force and cause a disrupted adoption. Sadly, just like in a lot of failed marriages, most parents don't contact the adoption agency until it is too late, and they simply want to end the adoption.

Thinking About Calling it Quits

Please think twice, and seek counseling. While a disruption may seem like the best solution, it rarely is. Instead it causes trauma, pain, guilt and unresolved conflict that could last a lifetime and even destroy your marriage.

Instead, fight for your relationship both with prayer and counseling. Start talking, not about each other but to each other. Open communication and getting help early are the keys to avoiding a disrupted adoption.

How to Become a Positive Parent

Teach your children that good behavior will lead to positive benefits. There are a number of ways to do this, including using a parenting program that allows children to earn tickets for demonstrating good behaviors and positive values.

Learn to modify your child's behavior by watching your language. By stating commands in the positive rather than the negative, you can teach your children in subtle, yet powerful ways.

You can practice better discipline methods by teaching your children that it is their behavior, rather than your anger, that has both positive and negative outcomes, eliminating your anger and frustration in the process.

Peace at Home

There are excellent programs out there to help you with this goal. The important thing is to take a positive step toward positive reinforcement parenting. Your home will become more harmonious, and you'll all be happier and live in a more peaceful environment.

More Information on Raising Adopted Children

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