Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ukrainian Adoption: How to Help Your Children Prepare For The Arrival Of A New Family Member

When we adopt from Ukraine, we all want our existing children to
share our excitement and enthusiasm. Many do. However, a newly
adopted child from Ukraine, just as a new biological child, will
change the dynamic of your family and all relationships. This is
a great article from the internet (source unknown) addressing
these concerns and offering suggestions for easing the addition
of a new family member.

Adding a child to your family, either by birth or adoption, is a
joyous occasion worthy of celebration. It is also a major life
changing event that requires all family members to make
adjustments. In order to ease the transition, it is important to
prepare existing children for the arrival of a new
sibling.Talking openly and honestly about adoption is an
important first step in the preparation process. The timing and
content of that discussion will largely depend upon the
developmental level of the child, and the circumstances
surrounding the adoption. For example, younger children are not
able to understand timelines, government procedures, red- tape
and paperwork delays. Telling a child about a sibling who may not
arrive for another year could cause significant worry and
concern. It is best to talk in general terms at first, and to
gradually introduce the idea of a sibling before providing
specific details.Understand that your child could have legitimate
fears and concerns that may be stirred up by the adoption
process. Questions about the permanency and stability of your
family may arise. Children might worry about what would happen to
them if you could not take care of them anymore. Would they be
taken away from you and adopted by another family? They might
also be concerned that their adopted sibling could be removed
from the family. Reassure your child that adoption is permanent
and that your family is and will always be a "forever family".
Finally, prepare your children with specific responses to the
difficult questions that might arise about why their sibling
doesn't look like them, why their sibling was adopted,
etc.Including your child in the adoption process from the start
is recommended. Some positive ways to involve your child prior to
the arrival of their sibling include: ask them to help paint,
decorate and prepare their sibling's room; enlist their help with
shopping for clothing, supplies, and other necessary items for
their new sibling; discuss things they can teach their sibling or
activities they can do together; or allow them to choose a
special gift to present to their sibling once he/she arrives. To
make the situation even more real for your child, you may also
want to role play a "real life" situation in which your child
will have to share your attention or wait for something that you
won't be able to do for them immediately. Of course, this should
be geared to the developmental level of your child and the
anticipated developmental level of the child you will be
adopting.There are also a number of excellent children's books
that focus on adoption and are specifically designed to help
prepare children for the arrival of a sibling. Reading together
is a great way to introduce the topic, facilitate discussion, and
address any concerns or questions your child may have.While it is
good to involve your child in the process, asking them if they
want a sibling implies that they have a choice. Unless you intend
to give them the decision making power, it is better to
acknowledge their feelings about a new sibling, but make it clear
from the start what your intentions are. Instead of asking your
child if they want a sibling, you might involve them in
discussions about gender and possible names for their brother or
sister, but without giving them the final say.If you are
traveling overseas to adopt, you may want to consider taking your
child on the adoption trip. Children who are older and mature
enough to handle the trip could benefit from learning about their
sibling's birth country and having the chance to form an early
bond with their brother or sister. If taking your child on the
trip is not possible or advisable, it is important for you to
prepare your child in advance, and to reassure them that you will
be coming back. Use creative strategies to visually illustrate
how long you will be gone such as calendars to mark off each day,
or paper chains that allow the child to remove a link every day
until you arrive home. Perhaps most importantly, make certain
that your child is being cared for by people they trust and with
whom they feel comfortable, and that their daily schedule is not
unnecessarily disrupted while you are away.Even with thoughtful
preparation, the actual arrival of the much anticipated brother
or sister can result in upheaval and negative feelings for the
waiting sibling. Understandably, parents may need to spend more
time with a newly adopted child to help him/her acclimate, which
can lead to feelings of anger, hurt and resentment for the child
already at home. It is not unusual for children to act out,
revert to an earlier development stage, demand extra time and
attention, or become more needy and clingy during this time of
transition and adjustment. They may even attempt to harm their
new sibling or express a desire for them to be "sent back" or
returned. It is important for parents to acknowledge and validate
that it is not always easy or fun to have a sibling. The
honeymoon period never lasts, and eventually, the reality of
having to share space, toys, time and attention with a new
sibling will set in.When reality hits, it is critical to reaffirm
your child's unique place in the family, and to reassure them
that their world is still intact. Make special time for your
child where you can focus on them and their needs without being
distracted or divided. This could be as simple as a weekly "date"
or outing to the park or library, watching a video together, or
playing a game while the adopted sibling is napping. It is also
important to make sure that your child's schedule and routine
remain as consistent as possible to minimize major disruptions or
changes. Keep them involved in extracurricular activities that
they enjoy, and maintain their connections with friends. They
need to have a life apart from their new sibling that remains
relatively constant and predictable.We all want our children to
get along and to have a positive relationship, but pushing a
loving sibling bond is likely to backfire. As a parent, you can
provide your children with opportunities to interact and bond in
positive ways, you can point out similarities, and you can
nurture and support common interests. Furthermore, parents should
intervene when safety is a concern. However, siblings also need
time and space to work out their issues and develop their own
relationship over time. It may not be love at first sight and
most siblings experience conflict from time to time, so try to
maintain realistic expectations. If the evolving relationship
between your children becomes too problematic or difficult to
manage, do not be afraid to seek advice from your pediatrician,
adoption social worker, or an independent counselor.

Adoption Services International unites loving US families with
Ukrainian children. We provide a unique combination of
professional, individualized, quality service (including a
maximum guaranteed adoption fee), personal adoption experience,
affordable local cost and 20 years Ukrainian experience.

If you or someone you love would like to expand your family,
provide a permanent home for a needy orphaned child, welcome a
sibling for an existing child or discover an alternative for
infertility treatments - contact us to learn more about Ukrainian
adoption, Adoption Services International can help.


Upcoming Event:

The Ukrainian Adoption Process: Informational Meeting

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 7:00-8:00PM

Location: Wellness Rocks: 133 Rupell Road, Clinton, New Jersey

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