Saturday, May 8, 2010

In Which We Finish Our Adoption Seminar

We had the second part of our adoption seminar today.  It was a long day; we were in class from nine in the morning until five at night!  The seminar gave us a lot to think about, and we both came away from it more firmly committed to the idea of not only adopting Sylvie if we can, but the idea of adopting an older child in general.  It also got us talking more about some of our hopes and fears for our adoption process, which was a very good thing.

A lot of the information, to my mind, was common sense.  Of course these kids are going to have behavioral issues stemming from their traumatic experiences.  Of course it's going to take them a while, possibly years, for them to become comfortably bonded with us.  Of course the child is going to be developing on a different timeline than their non-adopted peers.  Many of the things that they were discussing as possible issues (such as sensory integration disorder, developmental delay, social anxiety, etc) were things that we have already experienced through parenting Connor. 

What we don't know much about is parenting a child with a past and another set of parents.  We also haven't dealt with sexual or violent behaviors.  So it was good for us to hear that information, though much of it we'd already found in our research on parenting a child who was adopted, because it really made us think.  What would we do if Sylvie showed violent or sexual behaviors toward us, Connor, or our pets?  What would we do if she completely rejects us as parents?  What would we do if, even after several years of parenting, we still don't like her?  While these are, for the most part, worst case scenarios, I think it's so important that we discuss them, because they are possibilities, however remote, and it's much better that we be prepared for them rather than just deny the fact that they could ever happen to us.

I think the most helpful thing was getting the opportunity to hear a parent who has already gone through the process to adopt an older child speak about how things are going.  It was interesting to hear her tell stories of some of the things her children had gone through, the issues they came home with, and how, after over six years with their family, they are doing now.  Once again I found myself thinking about Connor and the similarities there; she talked a little about how they had to change their expectations for what their kids would be accomplishing, for example. 

So we left feeling pretty good about the whole thing, and I'm glad that we went (though we were required to in order to complete our home study, so whether or not we wanted to was sort of a moot point).  The next thing we'll probably have to complete (besides more paperwork) will be the home study visit, which should happen some time in June. 

On to the next step!



Kristin said...

Happy Mother's DAY!! Hope its wonderful!

Julia O'C said...

I'm happy to hear that if your child has problems, they don't recommend that you just safety-pin a note to their jacket and send them back to their country of origin.

Happy Mother's Day!

Julia said...

Happy Mother's Day!!! Maybe this time next year you'll be a mother of two! Or very close to it, anyway.

It does seem like common sense to anyone who pays attention and thinks seriously about child development and the realities of adoption. But I think there are parents out there who, caught up in the excitement of adoption, are basically experiencing tunnel vision. I bet that a lot (perhaps not all) of the "worst-case scenarios" can be prevented if parents are alert to the risks from the start, pick up on any red flags, and address problems as they develop, rather than wait until they're too big to solve.

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