Adoption is a lifelong journey with its unique experiences and challenges. Just as no two children are the same, no two adoptions are the same, either. Each adoption is special. One adopted child may adapt quickly to their new family and home environment, while another might take months or years to adjust. Hence, adoption applicants must be well-prepared and gain as much knowledge about adoption as possible before applying. They should not underestimate the challenges they might face in their adoption journey.
Adoptive children have higher needs for security due to the losses they have experienced. Adopted children experience losses related to their birth families, loss of familiar surroundings and relationships, or even loss of connections to culture, race and ethnicity. Research has shown that most adoptive children face separation anxiety at different stages of their life due to the losses experienced.
Some adoptive parents reported that at the initial stage of adoption, their newly adopted babies would cry when placed on a bed due to the unfamiliar environment, voices and smells. While those who adopted toddlers or older-aged children shared that their adopted children fear going out of the house or going on a car ride because their past experiences cause them to think that they might be sent off to another stranger.
Given the higher needs adoptive children have, prospective adoptive parents are encouraged to spend adequate time preparing themselves. The government has set comprehensive adoption procedures to equip and assess the readiness and suitability of adoption applicants. Ultimately, the welfare of adoptive children is paramount, and we want to ensure that prospective adoptive parents can establish and provide a loving, healthy and stable home for a child needing to be adopted.
Adoption applicants are encouraged to think through the following questions before applying for adoption:
What motivates me to adopt a child? Is it for my own needs or a child’s needs?
Does my spouse have the same hopes and desires for adoption? What are the views of my extended family members toward adoption?
What are the challenges in adoption? Will I be able to overcome them with the help of my spouse and extended family members?
If my adopted child has higher needs, can I adjust my lifestyle and avail myself to help them to stabilize?
While adoption is an act of love by choice, all members of the family will still experience issues related to grief, loss, identity, guilt, shame, rejection, attachment etc. Though adoption encompasses the joys of parenting, it also comes with greater challenges. Children need access to safe, responsive and nurturing adults to feel safe and settled. Adoptive parents staying available to the child when the child feels anxious or needs help will help to build a positive relationship and sense of security. Hence, the adoptive parents must also be supported by professionals or find support in a wider circle of adoptive parents.
The adoption team at Fei Yue strives to prepare and guide adoption applicants, prospective adoptive parents, and adoptive parents in their adoption journey. Adoptive parents must know that they are not alone in raising an adopted child. There are resources available to them, and there are professionals they can talk to when things are too difficult for them to manage. All they need to do is to take a step out to explore support services that meet their needs.