Calming strategies/advice for impending older-child adoption?
December 29, 2011 5:13 PM Subscribe
Best way to calm new adoptive parent fears and prepare for attachment issues?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
(I'm submitting this anon for the privacy of my future son.) My husband and I are in the later stages of an international adoption. We traveled to meet the child and attend court--he is a delightful, funny 2-3 year old boy who has been institutionalized for over a year with at least 4 changes in caregivers in his short life (2 familial, 2 institution). His primary caregivers have passed away. We will return in a couple of months to seek out members of the extended family and try to get as much information as we can about his history for him before bringing him back to the States. At this point, we know very little about his history...because of malnutrition and related health reasons, he was a "waiting child". However, with his current caregivers, he is quickly improving in physical health. He is energetic, gives eye contact, interacts appropriately with non-verbal cues (he speaks a different dialect than his current caregivers, though seems to be picking up their dialect quickly and responds to their requests), manipulates small and large objects well, etc. But I'm very aware that we should expect issues with attachment, identity, oral-motor skills, grief, etc. We've been educated about older child adoption by our agency through MANY classes, books, conversations with other adoptive parents, etc. We've chosen where we live, where our other child attends school, my time off from my career, etc. all in preparation for how to best support him.
But nothing really prepares you for the in-the-face-reality of accepting this awesome responsibility. Since our return from our first trip, I'm eager to go back to him and also terrified. Part of that terror is being driven by all of these people seemingly coming out of the woodwork to tell us about attachment horror stories, ethical adoption horror stories, every kind of worst case scenario available. Why on earth they waited until now to bring these things up, I have no idea. And it isn't like we haven't already thought about worst case scenarios...we have. On top of that, all of a sudden the adoption support message boards I frequent are relating more stories of post-adoption problems than they have in the last year. It's been difficult when we are already feeling emotional about having to meet and then leave him once to keep these stories in perspective.
I'm calling into question my capabilities as a parent, engaging in tons of self-criticism about how I currently parent, re-hashing every interaction we had with him, Googling resources for attachment therapy at 3:00 a.m. when I can't sleep, wondering what the hell we are getting this kid into when he is plucked--yet again--from one situation and set down in another. My partner has been very supportive, but it hasn't calmed me. I feel like I need a plan, some control, or something. And I'm too frozen with fear to develop one.
I want this to be a positive experience for him, for our other child, for my partner, for myself. In order to get the best chance at that, I need to chill. But I'm at a loss for how to back myself off of this ledge. Any advice about impending second kid parenting fears? Older children adoption fears? Attachment fears? Just plain life change fears?
My throwaway email is wanttodomybest (at) gmail (dot) com if you are more comfortable responding privately.