Adoption

Adoption

Adoption
Adoption can expand your family and provide a loving home for a child whose birth family is not able to care for him or her; types include kinship, open, private and international. Be clear about how you want to grow your family when talking with agencies to see if their services fit your needs.

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    A , Psychology, answered
    How can I help my adopted child who was exposed to drugs prenatally?
    One treatment that may help adopted children who were exposed to drugs before birth is called infant massage. Learn more about it from Karyn Purvis, Phd, founder and director of the TCU Institute of Child Development.
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    A , Adolescent Medicine, answered

    The best time to tell her is when she's able to understand it. She won't need a lot of details at first. Give her simple information, such as “Your birth mommy and daddy loved you very much but couldn't take care of you. They looked for a mommy and daddy who loved you very much and could take care of you. They found us, and we love you very much and will always take care of you.”

    She'll ask for more information as she gets older. Be open, honest and always available to talk.

    Jamie Lee Curtis wrote an excellent picture book that might help you talk about adoption with your daughter, Tell Me Again about the Night I Was Born. She describes the birth and adoption of a new baby and the "birth" of the new family.

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    A , Psychology, answered
    Peter L. Benson, lead researcher of one of the largest studies on adoptees says that, "Quiet, open communication about adoption seems to be the key" to helping kids thrive and take their adoption in stride.

    Your child needs to know he can come to you in ease and comfort with any question and at any time.

    And your child always needs to hear this information from you in a context of love and commitment.

    Reassure your child that his feelings -- whatever they may be -- and quest for information about his past are normal and that you will do whatever you can to fill in those details. That kind of calm, reassuring helpfulness -- letting the child know you're "there" anytime and there's nothing he should ever feel uncomfortable about asking you will help.
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    A , Psychology, answered
    Here are some tips on how to tell you child he is adopted:
    • Begin those adoption talks early
    Begin using the term "adoption" during your child's early toddler and preschool years to help you feel at ease. Just look for natural ways to bring up the topic such as a friend who is pregnant, a book, or a program on television or movie about adoption.
    • Create an open-door policy
    Peter L. Benson, lead researcher of one of the largest studies on adoptees says that, "Quiet, open communication about adoption seems to be the key" to helping kids thrive and take their adoption in stride.

    Your child needs to know he can come to you in ease and comfort with any question and at any time.

    And your child always needs to hear this information from you in a context of love and commitment.
    • Stick to what was asked
    While you should be honest, only give your child the information he needs to know at the time. Too much information is overwhelming. Remember, this is an ongoing conversation instead of a one-time marathon. Keep in mind that your answers will often be the same ones your child will use to respond to peer queries.
    • Be age appropriate
    Use words and language that your child suitable to your child's age and ability to understand.

    Research at Rutgers University found that all kids develop a gradual meaning of adoption in these predictable stages and regardless of whether they are adopted or not.
    • Keep painful stuff in the closet
    Painful details about your child's past (such as sexual and physical abuse, a parent's criminal background, the birth mother's alcoholism or drug-addiction or that the pregnancy was caused by rape) should be kept confidential. Besides you and your parenting partner, only the child's doctor or mental health professional need to know those details for now.
    • Don't hide it from your child
    Keeping the adoption "secret" -- or trying to "hide it" from a child -- only connotes to a child that there was something to be ashamed of when he does find out.

    The central fear of adopted children is that they will be "given up" again.

    Your child needs assurance -- both now and forever -- that your relationship is permanent.
    • Develop comebacks for insensitive questions
    Let's face it, kids (and adults!) can be cruel and seem to be getting crueler these days. So one of the best things parents can do is arm adopted kids with the right vocabulary or a couple great comeback lines so they're ready for those guaranteed insensitive peer queries.
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    A , Marriage & Family Therapy, answered

    It is extremely likely that eventually your child will find out the truth. If you have kept this secret from him, it could be very damaging to your relationship with him, damaging his ability to trust you. Those who find out the truth for the first time during or after the adolescent stage of identity development struggle more with integrating all the details into a cohesive personal identity than those who have been given all the information possible prior to adolescence. 

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    A , Psychology, answered
    Let's face it, kids (and adults!) can be cruel and seem to be getting crueler these days. So one of the best things parents can do is arm adopted kids with the right vocabulary or a couple great comeback lines so they're ready for those guaranteed insensitive peer queries.

    The trick is to anticipate what kind of questions may be asked, then help the child master the "right" delivery of the line through rehearsal.

    Stress that the child does not have to give out any information he is not comfortable giving.

    A simple yes or no is just fine sometimes.

    Keep in mind, it's usually not what the child says, but how you say it that's key to success. So you'll need to rehearse those comeback lines again and again until your child feels comfortable delivering them to peers.

    Here are a few of the tougher questions and possible answers:
    • "Are you adopted?" Answer: A simple, "Yes." Tell your child lengthy information is not required. Just a simple yes or no and moving on is just fine.
    • "What happened to your real family?" -- Answer: "You mean my biological parents? They live in Korea."
    • "Didn't your real parents love you enough?" -- Answer: "They loved me so much they wanted me to have parents who could take care of me. I'm really lucky."
    • "How much did you cost?" "Did your real mother have AIDS or something?" "Why did your parents give you up?" -- Answer to any rude questions like these (Oh the questions kids can ask -- unbelievable sometimes… and adults usually far worse so be prepared!) is simple: Smile. Say, "That's personal" and then move on.
    • Stress to your child that some folks just lack a "tactful gene" so anything your child does not feel comfortable (or warrant a response) does not deserve an answer. And you'll back they up! The trick for answering those really insensitive questions is to give the "That's personal" type answer from the get-go. Hint: You may have to practice the delivery!
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    A , Psychology, answered
    One of largest studies ever conducted on adoption was conducted by the Search Institute and is called "Growing Up Adopted."

    The study included over 880 adolescents who were adopted as infants and found that most developed psychological well-being that roughly equaled 12 to 18 year olds who were not adopted.

    What's more, 55 percent of the adopted teens reported high self-esteem and self-understanding compared with 45 percent of the teens.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Researching and compiling your health history isn't an easy job when you have your blood relatives close at hand, or at least accessible in your address book. But what if you're adopted? Or if you've adopted a child and want to know his or her health history? Thousands of people face this hurdle each year in compiling a health history. Luckily, it's becoming a bit less difficult to get the information you need.

    For the past several years there's been a trend in domestic adoptions toward openness. In other words, the adoptee, birth parent (one or both), and adopting family all have a degree of contact with one another and share relevant information, including health history. Recent laws have helped unseal files, too.

    Of course, many adoptees and adoptive parents still have no such contact or any records whatsoever, for a host of different reasons, and come up empty even after checking with the adoption agency (always the first place to contact on this mission). In this case, they should contact their state department of health and human services to see if any birth records exist and also examine the various registries that attempt to link birth families and adopted persons.

    Remember there's no need for a tearful, emotional reunion if that's not wanted; these registries often connect adoptees and birth parents for the sole purpose of gathering health information.

    What about international adoptions? Some countries are just beginning to open their records, and the adoption agency and country consulate's office can be a starting point for investigation.

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    A , Administration, answered

    The following are the types of adoption methods available:

    • In a kinship or relative adoption, a child is placed with a relative. These are by far the most common kind of adoptions.
    • A public adoption involves the placement of a child with adoptive parents by a public agency, such as child welfare or social services department of a state. Public agencies generally place children who have become wards of the state for reasons such as abandonment, abuse, neglect, or the death of one or both parents. Children who are still legally tied to their biological parents are available for foster parenting, while children whose legal ties are severed are available for adoption.
    • A private adoption is facilitated by a private agency, often a charity or social service organization that is licensed or regulated by the state.
    • An independent adoption is facilitated by someone other than an agency worker, such as a physician, an attorney, or an intermediary.
    • Some private and independent adoptions are open. Others are anonymous. Open adoptions involve some amount of initial and/or ongoing contact between the birth and adoptive families. The adoptive and birth parents agree upon the birth parents' role, future communication, and the degree of openness prior to adoption. With anonymous adoptions, neither the birth parents nor the adopting parents know each other.
    • In domestic adoptions, children are born and adopted in the United States. All domestic adoptions are governed by state laws, both in the state where the adopting parents reside and the state where the child is born.
    • International adoptions are adoptions of children from a foreign country. They are subject to each country's requirements and regulations, as well as to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services laws. Usually, but not always, the adoptive parents adopt the child in the court of the country of that child's birth before being allowed to bring the child to the U.S.
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    A , Psychology, answered
    An adoption medical specialist is typically a physician who has had extensive experience reviewing medical records of children who are available for adoption. This is important for a number of reasons; 1) with regards to international adoption, it is against the law in some countries for "healthy" children to be adopted out of country, so all children are given some kind of diagnosis, and 2) some problems are environmentally induced while others may be genetic or chronic. An adoption medical specialist should be familiar with the country in which you are adopting and able to sort through problems that are mild or correctable (or due to lack of stimulation) versus those that may need longer term care or not be correctable. Often, medical adoption specialists have adopted children as well.