Saturday, December 19, 2009

Talking with Young Children about Adoption

Another book that we read for our agency was Talking with Young Children about Adoption.  This book was very helpful.  This first part was a slow read because it was full of statistics, and it almost felt like reading a textbook.  It did have some valuable information though.  Here's some of what I found interesting:

·        Children adopted by parents of high socio-economic status scored high than children adopted by parents of low socio-economic status.  Kids that performed highest on IQ tests were born to parents of socio-economic status and adopted by parents of socio-economic status.  This indicated to me, that there is some degree of "catching up" possible for kids who have come from a less than desirable condition.
·        Nature vs. nature – whatever the genetics may be, the environment potentiates them.  Any child will become more musical if he has music lessons, but a musically gifted child raised in a musically indifferent family may never develop his musical talent.
·        Just because a child likes to talk about adoption, it doesn’t mean that he understands it
·        A child’s adoption story should not be romanticized by invoking the motif of the “chosen child” – what has been chosen may be unchosen.
·        Around age 3 children become fascinated with how things are made, including how they were made.  This is when the questions about growing in mommy’s tummy begin.
·        Young children have a desire for sameness, they may get tired of being different.  They might say they wish hadn’t been adopted, only because they wish they were just like their peers.  It is no different than the child saying they wish they had straight hair like their best friend.
·        It is not good to tell a child a that her birthmom gave them for adoption because she loved her.  You love the child too, does that mean that you are going to give her up too?
·        Children may fantasize about being reunited with their birthfamilies, even so much that they become convinced that they cannot join in their adotive family’s plans for the future because they will be returning to their country of origin.
·         Around age 7-8 kids may being to make negative judgments about their birthparents.  Why did my birthmom have to drink to drink while she was pregnant with me?  It is wise for adopted parents to have a positive view of birthparents.  The child will integrate the adoptive parents’ view of the birthparents into his own sense of self-esteem.
·        Some kids may fear being found by their birthparent and stolen away from their adoptive family
·        Some kids long for an image of their birthparents.  Some kids will find comfort in inventing a name for them
·        Kids adopted by parents do not share their skin color, may have times when they really want to look like their adoptive parents
·        It is important to help an adopted child understand that their birthmom’s decision to be a parent had nothing to do with him.  She didn’t even know him,  She had no way to tell if he was a good baby or a bad baby.  Her decision had everything to do with the circumstances of her life.

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