International Older Child AdoptionInternational older child adoption has its own unique set of challenges and does require patience, outside support and work. But these adoptions do typically work. That's why I was so heartbroken to hear recently about the 7-year-old Russian boy who was put on a plane by his adopted grandmother and traveled by himself back to Russia to the orphanage he had lived in before being adopted.
This story is tragic for so many reasons, not only because of the disrupted adoption, but also the callous way this child was treated and the potential harm it could cause for future international adoptions.
His adopted mother said the boy had psychological problems, and that she couldn't cope. So how likely is such an adoption to turn sour, and how can you prevent such an awful thing to happen? Here are some things to remember when considering an international older child adoption.
Be RealisticEven if you have had children of your own, don't expect your newly adopted child to behave anything like them. All sorts of factors, from breastfeeding to growing up in the same home for most of their lives will shape the personalities of your biological children in unique ways.
On the other hand, with an international older child adoption your child has experienced traumas many adults, with well-developed coping skills, would struggle with. I'm not saying these traumas are insurmountable, but you shouldn't expect your child to be happy-go-lucky and grateful either. With enough patience and love, children can overcome anything, but it will take time.
Be PatientIf you're married, think back to the early years. Even though you were in love, you likely had no clue how to really get along. And both of you were mature and hopefully trying. Just like a marriage or any other relationship, the relationship with your child will take time and work.
You can't expect instant bonding with either a domestic or international older child adoption. Although I have never given birth, I have heard that women fall in love with their babies from the time they first see them. I have three children I adore, and instant love didn't happen with any of them.
Instead, learn to enjoy the small victories. Your adopted child will come around, and the two of you will bond, but expect it to take up to a year or more. That's normal. Go Slow
Have SupportWith any child, but especially with a domestic or international older child adoption, you will need a support network of friends, your church and family. Have some sitters lined up before you bring your child home, so you can take a break from time to time.
And if there are problems, as there apparently was with the Russian child, find a good counselor for both your child and you to help work out any problems.
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Think your child to adopt will be an older child adoption? It can be wonderful, frustrating, delightful and exasperating. Find out if you have what it takes to adopt an older child.
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Learn some of the pros and cons of adopting sibling groups by clicking here.
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Children on an international adoption waiting children list are there because agencies consider them harder to place. But one or more of these children could be the right child for you. Learn more by clicking here.
International older child adoption has its own unique set of challenges and does require patience, outside support and work. But these adoptions do typically work.
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