Monday, October 30, 2006

Adoption and Bonding letter (written by someone else)

Wow, does this say a lot. I've adapted it to refer to a boy for obvious reasons, (used with permission).

Dear Family and Friends,

As we get ready to embark on the most exciting event in our lives, we are thinking a lot about the people around us and how much our lives are going to change. Family has always been important to us. We are so fortunate to have such loving, involved family and friends. We appreciate the support and excitement that you have all shown to us as we have made this journey. We're thrilled about bringing our new child home! We've done a lot of reading, research and asked a lot of other adoptive parents about this process and we feel prepared to help our baby become a well-adapted member of our family.
There are some things about adoptive parenting that are the same as parenting a biological child. There are also quite a few areas that we have learned are different. Through our adoption agency, books, other adoptive parents, adoption social workers, psychologists and more, we have learned that our baby needs a specific type of environment and parenting when he first comes home in order to feel safe and secure and to learn how to live successfully in our family.
While we know that every child is different, we also understand that there are many possible things that will impact our child's beliefs and behavior when he gets home. These include how much nurturing our child received, if there was abuse or neglect, the amount and quality of food received, illnesses, the quality of care and our child's unique temperament and personality. The result of these things can include behavioral issues, emotional disorders and a sense of grief and loss from being separated from the only home and caregivers our little one has ever known.
Adoption is a traumatic and scary event for any age child whether they are newborn or 10 years old. They're being removed from all of their routines and familiar surroundings. Even babies will feel grief and sadness at an event like this. In order to help our child feel safe and learn that we are his parents, we are creating the type of environment that will help promote security during this stressful time.
When our child gets home, at the recommendation of experienced adoption professionals, we need to implement specific parenting approaches to help encourage a strong, attached, emotionally healthy family member. Our child needs to learn that we're the parents. He needs to feel nurtured and safe.
Here are some things we will be doing for our child based on research and experience with other adopted children. We'll be living a very quiet life with limited trips out and few visitors in for a little while. Social workers and psychologists tell us that when children are first adopted, they may be overwhelmed, scared, and nervous. By keeping our lives very boring at first, we'll be helping our child feel safe. This does NOT mean that we do not want visitors coming to see our little one for the first time. We will just have to limit it a little so it is not overwhelming.
We know you'll all want to hug, kiss and help spoil our new toddler, but it is recommended that we be the only ones to do that at first to improve his chances of attaching strongly to us. Until we feel our child has attached and clearly knows we are his parents, we will need to feed, change and take care of him. I know that missing out on some diaper changes will disappoint many of you. Have no fear, there will be many more once he becomes comfortable at home.
As strange as it may seem, adopted children who act very outgoing and affectionate with strangers is not a healthy thing. It is called "indiscriminate affection" and can mean that they haven't really attached to anyone. It would not be a good sign that our child has attached to us if during his first months home he will let just anyone take him and hold him without searching for his mom or dad.
For sure it is going to be a weird and wonderful experience for us. We are so excited and can't wait to bring our toddler home so you can all see him and get to know him. Things are just a little different when you are adopting a child rather than having a biological child. He will be adapting to a lot of new things . . . new parents, new family, new home, new foods, new time zone (totally opposite what he's used to). That's a lot to swallow at one time.
We appreciate your understanding in reading this. We've giving you all this letter so that you will understand how dedicated and committed we are to helping our new child adjust and adapt during this stressful time in his life. We feel confident that everything will smooth out quickly and we will be on a more normal schedule.


Heather and Bill

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