Understanding Your Child

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Adopted children, from infants to older children, may have a variety of needs and concerns. Parents must be aware of potential issues, including grief and loss, anger, and identity, in order to help their children develop and grow. Every child is different, and that means every child's needs are different. This can make it difficult, as a parent, to understand exactly how to help your child. Before moving forward with any one method, take some time to talk it over with someone and analyze your child's needs and the best way to approach and help him/her. Not all methods will be helpful, and some may be harmful to your child's progress. That's why it's important to really analyze the situation. However, don't let this discourage you. There is help available. You can find help with professionals or you can apply what you've learned yourself. Make it a family effort, which will leave everyone feeling united as a caring family unit.

Below you'll find some fantastic resources for understanding your child and help your child come to an understanding of the situation and past events that led to his or her placement. Even if your child was adopted at birth, he or she will still need to deal with grief, loss, and a slight loss of identity. This is normal. This is natural. The more informed you are about these topics, the better you can help your child heal when it's time.


How to Anticipate Times of Identity Sensitivity
There are certain times in the life of a young adoptee when questions about his/her identity may trigger unusual behaviors. Parents can help by being aware of these times, and make themselves emotionally available to their children.

Adopting an Institutionalized Child: What Are the Risks?
Dana Johnson, MD, PhD, offers blunt, but optimistic information for prospective parents. Children should not be expected to be without problems; parents need to be prepared in advance with resources for help, and to asume challenges that may arise.

Grief and Loss
Grief and loss are part of the life of young adoptees and children and youth in foster care. Professionals and parents offer insight, suggestions, and support to adoptive and foster parents seeking ways to identify these issues, and talk to their children about them.

Lifelong Issues
Seven issues affecting all members of the adoption experience.

Multiple Transitions
Special thanks to Michael Trout of The Infant-Parent Institute for allowing us to reprint the script of the video "Multiple Transitions: A Young Child's Point of View on Foster Care and Adoption". What would even the youngest children tell us if they could? Perhaps these are their words.

Transition from Orphanage to Home
You have been preparing for this moment for months - perhaps years, but for your child, the move from an institutional setting to family life is confusing, and very different from life in an orphanage. Practical suggestions for parents and a Q&A session with child development expert Rita Taddonio of Spence-Chapin.

Why Adoptees Search
Adoptees search for birth parents and other birth family members for a myriad of reasons at different times. These articles offer some insight into those reasons.

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