Tag Archives: Family

Adoption: Developmental Differences to Consider

27 Nov

Sixteen years ago when I was trying to locate a woman who wanted to plan for the placement of her child in the hands of adoptive parents, “birth parent” was used to refer to the parent who gave birth to the adopted child.  With the increased variety of methods by which families can be created, I guess the term “biological parent” came into vogue.  Adoption is only one way to create a family, after all. 

What Do Biological Parents Do???:   Many biological parents who have to place their child in the hands of adoptive parents do so with significant personal sadness.  The circumstances that brought them to the point of having to do so is often quite unfortunate, leaving a personal scar that may never heal.  Biological parents may have to PLAN an adoption, because they love their child and want the best for them, realizing that they cannot care for them.  It is not necessarily, as i have heard many state, that the child involved was “given away”.  This term in actuality is offensive to many in the adoption community.

Baggage Carried:  I do not think that as a group people who adopt necessarily consider the developmental differences to which these childern may be prone.  Impoverished living conditions, poverty, abuse or genetically carried predispositions may all be contributing factors that are unknown to a prospective adoptive parent and child.  In a professional role, there is a responsibility to both be aware of and appreciate this fact.  I also believe that it is the role for every professional who touches the life of an adopted child to become an educator for both the adoptee and adoptive parent in terms of the differences that are present.  Teaching the adoptee and the adoptive parent how to deal with the problems that may be present, so that functioning is at the highest possible level is extremely important.   Parents need to be empowered to locate professionals who are adoption savvy – aware of the issues. As well, the possibility of screening a child who was adopted in

Birthdays:  From their perspective, the adopted child will always understand that there is a person or people who chose to not care for them after they were born. Children who walk into your office will carry throughout their lives a feeling of having been rejected, on some level. Birthdays will always represent a day of loss for them. They may be exciting, but sad as well. Sometimes adopted children withdraw from their adoptive family on that day, not wanting to confront this aspect of their lives. Instead, they may bury their head into a solitary activity, avoiding others.

Environment:  Children who are adopted may come from homes that are void of adequate nutrition.  Biological parents of adoptees who choose not to raise them may do so because of poor financial circumstances.  They may have need for the money that the legal process invovled in the actual adoption process may be a motivating factor for them to go this route.  

Child trafficking: This is something well documented in China.   The following link provides a detailed definition of this term and after reading this, one can come to appreciate how trafficking can influence a person:  www.unicef.org/southafrica/SAF_pressrelease_notetrafficking.pdf  The emotional toll that this takes on a human being cannot be understated.  The article that I reference here gives a very real picture of the very issue. 

Orphanages:  If a child was in one internationally or domestically prior to placement there may be factors that cause delays in the development of communication skills, nutrition and overall growth.  Sharon Glennen, PhD., CCC/SLP has documented this in her articles that are readily available online.  In her article “Orphanage Care and Language” she talks of her own experience in adopting a child from Russia.  Her travels to various orphanages and observations made during her visits are documented.  Amongst the red flags that she notes are a lack of environmental stimulation from adults, delays in language development, low birth weight, limited play opportunities.   Some children are left drinking from bottles or may not be assisted in learning how to eat with utensils.  One can surmise that the need for a multidisciplinary team evaluation and treatment approach in working with these children is essential to help them reach typical developmental milestones.    

In closing, I quote Susan Soon-Keum“ADOPTION is bittersweet,” said Susan Soon-Keum Cox, vice president for public policy and external affairs at Holt International, a Christian adoption agency based in Eugene, Ore., with an extensive program in China.  She states that “The process connects birth parents, child and adoptive parents in an unequal relationship in which each party has different needs and different leverage. It begins in loss”.    www.cityrooms.blogs.nytimes.com:  *“For Adoptive Parents, Questions without Answers” We all need to be sensitive when we deal with all of these parties.  Families where there is an “open adoption”, where the adoptive parents and child have a relationship especially in domestic ones, where we as professionals have a possibility of gaining more information. In some cases it will not be and you will have no history at all….there will be gaps in our knowledge of that with which we deal.  This is an unfortunate reality with which we all must sadly deal.

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How Do We Get Back to School?…..I’m Lost..

2 Sep

Lunch boxes

Image via Wikipedia

Heading Back to School..A Change of Seasons and a Need to Re-Organize.

Organization is hard for most people – so sit back and take a breath.  Read on and think about what is important for YOUR family. Maybe this post will be useful for you…..and maybe you will have other thoughts of what works for you that might be helpful to others.  Please share…

School sales started even before August 1st. I had trouble with that. It seemed too soon to be broaching the topic of the change of seasons. Well – it still does. Some things cannot be changed I suppose. The “new year” is here. I say that because to me the year ends at the end of August and it always starts September 1st…oh no! is that today?? (gulp).

The Annual Chores Related to the Beginning of School are Upon Us….

School Supplies: an annual rite of passage

I did not see that many “back to school” sales for awhile. Maybe i did not want to see them. Time has marched on the past few weeks. Late last week I walked into a stationery store to get some toys for work. Aside me was what appeared to be a mother and daughter on a shopping spree for new school supplies..an annual rite of passage. It starts again…the hunt for that clean and crisp new notebook, new pens filled with ink, unsharpened pencils, crisp notebook paper etc. I must be dating myself – but one ritual I remember was making book covers from the nice shiney ones that they sold in the stores.  They were paper with pretty designs.  As we got older, my parents gave us paper bags (my brothers and I).  I also remember metal lunch boxes, insulated bags, ice packs and thermos bottles for lunch box preperation. It was always nice to have a matching box and thermos at school. Everything had to be properly labelled.  Look at the lunch boxes above..in the picture…It was so much fun to pick out a new one.

Clothes

Make sure that you have the proper uniforns, shoes/socks, a sweater and a bookbag

On hold, but on the list for later:  wintercoat and boots, gloves, scarf and hat-depending on where you live.

Schedules and Routines:  Manage These With Ease:

You probably have a child or a few children around at home grumbling and growling about the fact that they will lose a certain amount of freedom next week. Alarm clocks wil be set again a bit earlier. Baths will have to be taken earlier. Bookbags will need to be packed and clothes laid out before bed. You probably have numerous rituals like this in your household. How to begin??? Make a list of the ones that are important for your particular household. You may even want to get a wipe off board and post daily schedules on it , an academic school calendar might be helpful to note the school holidays, teacher conference days and medical appointment dates for example.  Post this and a list of emergency phone numbers on a bulletin board. Office supply stores will have a large selection of these for you to choose from.

Practice Will Help Everyone 

Whatever routines you have organized for your individual family….try and  use them over this holiday weekend.  I  recall at night that i would be helping my mother set the table for the family (five of us) at night, after all of the dishes were cleaned up from dinner.  Lunches would be made and then plans for the nexr night’s meal.  Mom would even season food the night before sometimes, if she was going to be leaving early for her own job,  in the morning. As we got older, she left earlier. 

i have always found nighttime to be the most challenging.  So- I am going to suggest that you practice setting out the clothes at night,establish the bath schedule for your child/children and put it to use over the weekend.  Set up a routine bedtime forr everyone and get a good night’s sleep……it is going to be a busy year…

Hope it is a very happy and healthy one for you and yours

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Considerations for Adoptive Parents…a personal and professional perspective

11 Aug

Sixteen years ago,  i was sitting in the library researching areas that i thought might be best to place ads geared towards biological parents who wanted to place their newborn in the hands of adoptive parents.  My now fifteen year old son’s father and i were anxious to find a newborn and worked with our attorney – placing advertisements in Texas publications.  As advised by our adoption parent committee mentors here in new york city we acquired an 800 number and ultimately received calls from a number of women, including a hopeful surrogate.  This was a path that we chose not to pursue.  We, created business cards and told many people that we were in this process.  My most important concern at the time was locating a healthy newborn.

Something now in retrospect strikes me as interesting,,,,,i have no recollection of having picked up a book such as “what to expect when you’re expecting”. The only book that i recall reading was one given to me by one of my brothers.  It pertained to care of a newborn.  Alone in San Antonio for ten days, my son’s father and I found this extremely useful.  Perhaps I am forgetting something; but, I do not recall any workshops at monthly meetings or annual adoption conferences in which this was discussed. 

At this point, i work with newborns and children in early childhood year as a speech-language pathologist, mostly in their homes.  Some of them have adopted children. In preparing this post, I reached out to my colleagues about what literature they may have come across related to this topic.  I started to realize that there are some professionals in my industry that actually specialize in working with these children  A new revelation.

I am working on gathering more material about adoption for upcoming posts.  There is a lot of information for just one post.  For the moment, I suggest that prospective adoptive parents remember to read books that discuss typical developmental skills that you would see in children. 

Resources:

“Parenting” sections in bookstores such as Barnes and Nobles

“Parenting and Families” section  of the Kindle Bookstore – if you have this e-reader and i assume that the other e-readers have a similar section in their respective “bookstore”

Bookstores of the American Occupational Therapy Association, American Physical Therapy Association and American Speech-Language Hearing Association respectively, have books on their sites that you can consider

Parenting organizations in your area-check your phone books as they are also a great wealth  of information.

It Takes Two to Talk: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Children Communicate by Ayala Manolson