Breastfeeding your Adopted Baby | How to Breastfeed adopted baby?
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Adoptive Breastfeeding Protocol - Breastfeeding your Adopted Baby

March 10, 2021 |  read |  Facebook Twitter Whatsapp

Have you ever wondered how it is not merely biology that defines your parenthood? Parenting is, in fact, an everyday celebration of the emotional bond that you share with your little ones from the day they come into your life. Therefore, choosing to be a parent is always a tremendously life-changing decision, regardless of you being your little one’s biological parent or adoptive parent. The journey of adoptive parenthood is in no way less beautiful and joyful than other types of parenting. Although it comes with its share of ups and downs similar to biological parenting, it is best to be fully informed about the process in detail before taking a step in that direction.

 

If you are someone who is considering the option of expanding your family through the adoption of a baby or willing to pursue adoption, you might like to have a few bites of the adoption wisdom. One of the primary questions that you might encounter while wondering about the implications of an adoption is- ‘How do I induce lactation?’ In all likelihood, you might think that it is not possible to breastfeed your baby if you are not their biological mother or have not been pregnant before. But you would be surprised to know that it is entirely possible and appropriate! However, before you start breastfeeding your adopted baby, you need to bear in mind the adoptive breastfeeding protocol. Here’s what it means along with the answers to some of your questions :

 

What do I need to know about breast milk and breastfeeding my adopted child?

As an adoptive mother, you might wonder how the process of breastfeeding works with a child you were not pregnant with, followed by the issues related to it. But, it is reasonably simple and not as troublesome as one might assume. However, you must set your expectations at a moderate level not to be disappointed later because not all women have the ability in them to produce all the milk that an infant would need. Nevertheless, a many women are able to breastfeed their little ones adequately without having to worry about producing the maximum amount of breast milk that their babies might need. There is more to the process than the production of breast milk. Often the closeness and the emotional bond that you form in the process of breastfeeding your  child- even without producing enough breast milk -can still build the same level of intimacy that is necessary between a mother and her toddler during the infant stage.

 

What do I need to know about induced lactation as a part of the adoptive breastfeeding protocol?

Hormones that govern your lactation, i.e. the prolactin and the oxytocin have nothing to do with your ovaries. In fact, both of these hormones are pituitary hormones. It is only through nipple stimulation that both these hormones are produced. The prolactin is the milk-making hormone, and the oxytocin is the milk-releasing hormone - which can collectively govern your lactation process. Although the option of hormone therapy is available today, it is also possible for you to induce your lactation process through mechanical stimulation alone. It is often a breast massage or nipple manipulation that can assist you in bringing in milk. Besides, you can also opt for sucking via an electric breast pump provided in hospitals or the various herbal preparations that help induce lactation to make the process of breastfeeding the baby easier.

 

Induced lactation produces only a limited amount of milk initially, and I am worried about my adopted child’s nutritional requirements. What do I do?

If your adopted child’s nutritional status is making you worried, you should know that you have a solution to that as well. The initial low volumes of milk and skipping of the colostral phase are both interrelated phenomena. In order to avoid this, you can use a device that acts as a feeding tube. It is easy to use and comes in the shape of a bag or a bottle which you can wear suspended from your chest. They have feeding tubes of silicone that stick to the nipple with the help of hypoallergenic surgical tape. So, as your little one sucks your breast, it will deliver donor milk by flowing through the tubes like it would through a straw.

 

How and where do I start with the process of induced lactation?

Seeking help from a lactation professional

By working closely with a lactation professional, you can build a plan and customise it according to your goals. It can be your healthcare expert, a midwife or a lactation consultant who can provide you with the necessary advice, connect you to resources and guide you accordingly before you start breastfeeding your adopted baby.

Prior stimulus and expression

If your little one is yet to join you and if you are at least two months away from your adoption, you can start with a routine of stimulus and expression for your breasts to help produce adequate volumes of milk at the required time. Schedule this according to your convenience and allow your body to react to the implied demand for your breast milk.

In case of an unpredictable adoption

If you think you do not have enough time to prepare for your adoption, you can always resort to the speciality-feeding devices that are available. SNS or a Supplemental Nursing System is one such specialty product that facilitates the feeding of donor milk, expressed breast milk or formula through a thin silicone feeding tube by keeping the skin-to-skin contact intact.

 

Thus, breastfeeding can never be confined to biological families only. With a sound knowledge of the protocol that involves breastfeeding your baby and preparation, you too can breastfeed your adopted baby.


 
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational and educational purposes only. The contents of this article are general in nature and do not constitute medical advice, neither is it intended to substitute any professional or medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please always consult your healthcare provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, procedure or treatment, prescription or medication and/or before starting any nutrition, diet, exercise, fitness, medical or wellness programme.

 

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Adoption in India

Adopting a child is a beautiful journey. Here‘s everything you need to know about adoption in India and the laws and processes related to adoption in India.

Do you know what the law says about adoption? Well, let’s start with the ancient law of adoption, known as the Hindu law, which by the way, was the only law in India that allowed the adoption of orphaned children. Under this law, the adopted child had rights equivalent to that of a natural-born. This was because according to the ancient religious customs a son is spiritual and material welfare to a family. But this letter of the law was a bit complicated and held barriers based on gender and caste in society. Today we have a more re-defined law and order for the process of adoption. Let’s take a look at it.

 

Prepping for child’s arrival

Adopting a child is similar to the birth of a child in your family. After all the paperwork and court proceedings that you have gone through, you begin to prepare your home and finances for the upbringing of a child. There are adoption counsellors who can guide you best with these preparations. They will provide you with a list of do’s and don’ts that will help you get in order.
 

While the waiting process is never-ending, there are some fun things that you and your partner can get done to cool your nervous system. Explore child care measures from books and other parents with babies. You can also choose baby names and talk to other adoptive parents for more in-hand experiences. You can even try reaching out to them on our community platform. 

 

Prep the baby room and shop for baby clothes and products. While you make these changes in your life, don’t forget to spend quality time with yourself and your partner. Track your thoughts and support each other during these times. It will help build a closer relationship as the baby arrives home.  

 

Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956:

Today’s modern society called for a lot of changes from the ancient Hindu Law. The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 allows a person to adopt a child irrespective of their gender or marital status. But the court holds limitations for a male parent to adopt a girl child. While there are a few extra regulations, the law also allows adoption not only for Indians, but also NRIs and foreign citizens.

 

The evolution and progress of our institutions and society, today, the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (also called as HAMA) has broken down a lot of barriers otherwise enforced by the old Hindu law. Section 7 and 8 under the HAMA rule defines the eligibility criteria for both genders to adopt a child.

 

Process of adoption under HAMA

The applicant should register with the Child Welfare Agency through an Adoption Coordinating Agency (ACA). These sources are found in each state capital. They can also go through agencies that are certified by the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA). There will be a set of interviews and processes that look into the intention and motivation of the parents behind the adoption.

 

Once they are shortlisted, a court hearing takes place regarding the adoption. Once the court issues the decree, the adoption is finalized.

 

Juvenile Justice Act, 2015

This legal letter allows a couple or a single parent to adopt a child, an orphan, abandoned or surrendered child. However, this law is very different with respect to the HAMA law. The Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 is very secular in nature, i.e. it is not specific to the Hindu community. The Child Welfare Committee can legally allow a child up to the age of 18 to be adopted by a parent.

 

Since the law is not very gender-specific, the eligibility of the parent or parents is common to both male and female. According to this law, parents or individuals should be mentally fit and financially stable. They have to be motivated to adopt and provide everything for his/her upbringing. For couples, the consent of both the parents is mandatory and should also hold two years of stable marriage relationship. However, this law also does not allow a single man to adopt a girl child.

 

The age of prospective parents is taken into consideration when they adopt a child of a particular age. The minimum age difference between the two should not be less than 25 years. Also, the law holds a barrier for couples who have three children. Under these circumstances, only the adoption of children with special needs is taken into consideration.

 

Process of Adoption under Juvenile Justice Act, 2015

The parent(s) should register with the Adoption Coordinating Agency or with the State Adoption Cell. Following this process, a Home Study report is prepared by a social worker who will come interview you, your family members and other financial orders of business. This process also includes a rigorous counselling session that prepares you to be a supportive parent to your adopted child.

 

Once your Home Study report is accepted the agency connects you with children who are admitted to be legally adopted. If the child is above the age of 6, then a written and verbal consent will be obtained. After the successful matching, a petition is filed in court to obtain the necessary orders.

 

 

Over the years, there have been many attempts that have been made to bring about a change in these two laws in the system. The attempts hope to bring about uniformity between these two letters of the law. The process of adoption is a ray of hope to people and children everywhere. Legal formalities are just a part of the system to ensure security for the child and the parents. 

December 17, 2020 |  read

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Emotions During Adoption: When You’re an Adoptive Parent

You may be feeling mixed emotions while adopting your child. Here are possible explanations of what you may be feeling as an adoptive parent and why.

Whether you are biological parents or adoptive parents, parenthood is one of the greatest joys of life. There is also a plethora of emotions you experience as new parents. As adoptive parents, your emotions during adoption may be slightly different than those of biological ones. We have tried to list some of them down for you.

 

 

Emotional rollercoaster

Beginning Blues

After making the decision to adopt, it is a journey till you bring your baby home. Initially, it might all seem a little overwhelming and intense. You might experience some stress, anxiety and wonder if you are really ready for this responsibility. You might even feel a little scared about all the legal and social hurdles ahead. There is only one thing to do, educate yourself as much as you can about the subjects. When you educate yourself on a certain topic, you will feel less afraid of it. 

 

Home and Background Checks

This particular phase is of varied emotions during adoption. You would be eager to present yourself as perfect parents for the future baby and your home as the ideal place for a child to grow up in. But these efforts can be exhausting, both physically and mentally. Besides, you also need to have a lot of documents for verification purposes. At times, if the process is taking too long, you might feel frustrated while arranging everything to a near perfect state. When that happens, take three deep breaths and remember you are doing it all for your beautiful child.

 

Complex Relationship with Birth Mother

The birth mother becomes the most important person in your lives from the first interview till she hands over the baby to you. Along the way, you might experience some anxiety thinking if she might change her mind at any stage. Post birth, you might feel some guilt for taking her baby away from her. While emotions during adoption aren’t entirely in our control, try reminding yourself that you two and the birth mother have taken a decision which is right for all of you after several rounds of communication. It is alright for you to take your baby home.

 

Post Adoption Depression

All this while, you were so excited, so worried, so eager to bring your baby home. As mentioned before, the process might’ve gotten a little exhausting. As a result, when the big moment is finally here, few parents might feel a little low. This may be similar to postpartum depression. The new responsibilities, constant work, sleeplessness nights might contribute to it. For most, these feelings fade away after a while. But if these feelings are persistent, and you recognise the feelings are interfering with your childcare, then consult a therapist. 

 

Identity Crisis

After bringing your little sweetheart home, it’s okay if you immediately don’t feel like a parent. Despite years of preparation, you might still not feel entitled to be your child’s parents. You might question yourselves if your parenthood is the same as biological parenthood - the answer is yes. It might take some time to convince yourself , but as days go by, the parental instinct will naturally take over you. You might also experience a Eureka moment when your child is doing the simplest thing and you suddenly realise how all of you are a beautiful family.

 

Bonding Troubles

This one specifically applies to the mothers. While some mothers form an instant connection and bond with the baby, some mothers might take more time. But remember, every human being is different and so are our emotions. There will also be moments when you wonder if he/she is missing their birth mother. For instance, when they are crying nonstop and you are having a hard time soothing them. These feelings will definitely pass as time goes by and soon you would understand every cry and moan of your little one.

 

How to Handle Your Emotions Better?

  • You need to accept that emotions are a part of every human being. It is okay to feel all your emotions during adoption. Just let yourself go through all the emotions and don’t feel guilty of it even for a minute. Acceptance is the first step. 

  • You don’t have to go through this alone. you can rely on your close family and friends for the support you need. There are also a lot of support groups out there for adoptive parents, join one. Talk to other adoptive parents. Therapy and counselling are very important during this process. Don’t forget to consult an expert!

  • Remember: You are aware of the purpose you are doing all this - to be a parent. To bring up a child, to build your family. The highest highs and the lowest lows are all worth the joy of parenthood. Remind yourself that whenever you need some positive reinforcement. You can also note down these points somewhere and look at it every time you are feeling low.

  • Knowledge really is power, especially at times like these. It is always good to be aware of all the steps and obstacles along the way. Prepare yourself well for the background checks and interviews. Shop for items which are necessary for the baby before you take him/her home. Read more and communicate with the right people to make this journey as smooth as possible.

 

With all these tips and guides, what matters the most is you two being each other’s support systems. Remember, both of you are team baby and once your precious angel is home you all would be a beautiful, loving family.

 

December 22, 2020 |  read

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Issues that Could Arise with Adoption

This article discusses the legal, financial and emotional challenges you might face while adopting, as well as ways to overcome these challenges.

As Richard Bach once said, “The bond that links your family is not one in blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” Adoption creates an impact on both the family and the child. The goal of adoption is to place children in safe and improved institutions.

 

Emotional Challenges

As adolescents, emotional bonds are very challenging to break through. Therefore, parents take great care to listen and watch over their children to try and connect with their understanding of life from their point of view. Children are always in search of their identity and this leads to finding attachments that are relatable to them. Children also tend to portray the sense of grief and loss through other emotional quotients like anger, denial anxiety and fear. The process of adoption can change their perspectives especially as they move from their institution to a new adoptive family. Both the parents and the child turn their focus on building a relationship which will help them to stay connected as one family unit. This comes with sacrifice, incorporating certain changes and understanding. Counsellors can help guide families to achieve a positive psychological balance within the family.

 

Adoptions counsellors initiate the process by trying to understand the intention of the parent(s) for adoption. The process of adoption is still stigmatised in many parts of the country as some communities and societies find it difficult to understand. These social constraints affect both the parents and the adopted child during their growth together. Hence, counsellors guide parents on how to overcome these challenges along with their child. Parents are trained to speak openly about the process of their adoption with their child and other members of the community so that they can shed a positive light on the subject. This also helps the child to boost his/her confidence to build a sense of identity as they grow within the community. 

   

Money, Mind Challenges 

Money is a constant constraint when it comes to the process of adoption. Indian adoption laws require the family or parent to provide the necessary documents before the court that states their wealth and income. The courts need proof to show that the adoption process can support the child to grow and develop and that the family has the capability for upbringing the child.

 

If the family intends to adopt with the help of a private agency, they still have to pay a significant amount of money to the agency to complete the process successfully. There is a large sum difference between public and government agencies. As a parent, it is always best to do some research and talk to experienced people to try and understand the different scenarios in India. In addition to this, once the process begins you should also expect extra charges such as the lawyer’s fee and court processes that might come along the way. Communicate all these charges and extra charges with your agency before you commit to this process. The legal system of adoption in India is quite time-consuming and you have to be very patient.

 

Since adoption in India is often considered as a ‘closed adoption,’ parents get very little information of the child’s prior health conditions. It is nearly impossible to access the medical background of a child. Even in an ‘open adoption’ procedure, the absence of the birth parents may not help us to get complete information. Hence, as parents to the adopted child, you have to rely on the adoption agency to give you as much information as possible. This lack of information regarding the health conditions of the child may cause problems in the future, especially when both parents are working and have to care for the child. In order to avoid such complications, be fearless to question your agency regarding every question you may have about your child.

 

Legal Challenges

Law by nature is long and complicated not only in India, but also across the globe. In India, adoption comes under three specific laws- Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956, The Guardians and Ward Act 1860 and Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2000. These laws have been evolved over time based on different aspects that currently exist in modern India.

 

Religion, gender and nationality are a few initial important points that are taken into consideration by the legal system. The system might be long but there is a lot of help provided by the government and private agencies that can help families to comprehend and successfully complete their adoption procedures.

 

How to Overcome These Challenges

Communication is a very important aspect in the process of adoption. Be supportive of your child and have a good conversation with him/her. It will also help you to get the right support from other sources. Communication can always bridge a gap between parties and solve a lot of problems.

 

 

Focus on building relationships with your child. You can try and connect with his/her past experiences, parents or any other information you receive from your counsellors. Let them make their own age-appropriate choices. This will help the child to feel more comfortable to grow in a different and caring environment.

 

December 23, 2020 |  read

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Narrating the Adoption Story

When and how should you tell your child he/she is adopted? Here's everything you need to know before you tell your child about his/her adoption.

The journey of adoption is different from one family to the other. As you decide to go through this process you will be supported by counselors and care groups, that will help you to deal with the situation for the future of your family. You will need this support system to be guided through the different aspects of bringing up your adopted child. Nobody has been an expert in this area, so don’t feel shy to seek help whenever you require it. You need this support as much as your child needs you. Let’s look at a few concepts that most parents deal with.

 

 

Finding the right moment to tell your child

Many personal accounts quote that they told their child about their adoption when they were in the ages of 6-8 years old. They say that their expert sources and adoption counsellors suggest the same time period too. Even if you introduce the word to children, they may not be able to grasp its complete understanding at younger ages of 2-4 years.

 

One mother recalls her experience with this process. She waited for her daughter’s elaborate Barbie-themed birthday party to break the news of her adoption. Narrating the adoption story will help the child to understand how his/her birth took place. Whether adopted or not, children should understand the concept that the adoption came after birth.

 

Demystify the word the term adoption

From a very young age, children tend to imitate and reciprocate to their parents’ language styles. Hence, it is very important to choose the right way to communicate around them.

 

Many adoption workers advise parents to introduce the word "adoption" as early as possible so that it becomes a comfortable part of a child's vocabulary.

 

When it comes to adopted children, the term ‘adoption’ should not be ignored at all. Child welfare experts suggest that it has to be portrayed in a very positive tone and must be discussed around the family table. This strategy of communication can be used even before you tell the child about his/her history.

 

You can include the word ‘adopt’ or ‘adoption’ in stories and other forms of narratives with happy endings. You can be a little creative and cautious at the same time. Your adoption counselors can lead you with great examples. While you do work around this exercise, also remember not to force it into your routine. Try to break into the subject at a gradual pace. For instance, you can bring one story in a week that is easily comprehensible to the child, especially when he/she is alert.

 

Let history remain as it does

The process of adoption does not rub away the child’s history. We have to remember that the birth parents of the child are still in the big picture. It is not right to simply ignore their existence even in their absence of the child’s growth. As adoptive parents, it is a great responsibility to try and simplify the relationship between your child and his/her birth parents. You can overcome this challenge by trying to speak about their birth parents with confidence and love.

 

Birth parents are a part of your child’s life - whether you choose to keep it open, closed, or even if you have very little information about them. You should remember that they are the reason you have your child. At no circumstances should you criticize or ignore the presence of birth parents. During the period of adoption, you may/may not get all the access to the information of the birth parents. Never lie to your child about his/her birth parents. If you think it is too much information for them to take in at one go, be patient and break out the information over a period of time. Bring out the easy ones first before you dive into the hard part of the story.

 

The Q&A session

Lend your ears to their questions at all times. This is an open-ended process. It goes back and forth, day in and day out. Never expect children so young to understand everything that you tell them at once. Be composed and confident when you respond to their queries. Some parents find it hard to keep a straight face when they have to answer uncomfortable questions. One method to overcome this challenge is by talking about it to your partner or adoption counselors. They can advise and correct your gestures and words when facing your child.

 

Children’s curiosity only grows bigger and bigger as their days go by. Giving false information about any detail will raise a red flag in the future. If you think you cannot answer them at that moment or it is too difficult to answer them at that moment, you can lovingly tell them that you will get back to them as soon as possible.

    

If your adopted child is of a different race or has very different physical features from your family, you must be cognizant of signs that he or she is aware of the difference. Your child may have noticed it, or someone else may have commented on it. You will want to explain to your child that the birth process is the same for everyone but acknowledge that people in different cultures have distinguishing physical features and their own rich heritage. Sometimes children who look different from the rest of their family need to be assured that their parents love them. 

 

Children will also portray a range of emotions of different kinds. Do not be surprised by their reactions to their adoption story. For instance, some children immediately react by portraying hatred towards their birth parents. In such cases, we have to correct their way of thinking. We have to give them the freedom to express their range of thoughts. 

 

 

Adoption story is not a one-time narrative. Remember that things like this will never leave their mind. There can be outside sources like a conversation with friends that can trigger this subject once again. When narrating this story, it also instils a sense of confidence within them. Teach them to be brave when other people discuss things such as adoption in public.

 

December 23, 2020 |  read

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Child Adoption in India: Are You Ready?

Adoption is about unconditional love and creating a beautiful bond. Read more for everything you need to know about adoption in India.

What is adoption?

Adoption is the legal process which allows you as an individual or a couple to have parental rights of a child even if they are not related by blood. Adoptive parents would have the same rights as that of biological parents while the adopted child would have the same legal, emotional, social and kinship benefits that a biological child would have. Here is what you need to know about child adoption in India.

 

India is open to adoption by resident, non-resident Indians as well as foreigners living in India or abroad. Relatives or step-parents are allowed to adopt a child as well. All adoption guidelines in India are governed by the Central Adoption Resource Authority or CARA. 

 

Which children are allowed for adoption?

A child could be an orphan or abandoned or surrendered on birth and have entered the orphanage. However, adoption from an orphanage is possible only when the child is declared legally free for adoption by the Child Welfare Committee. Usually, in India, children between the age of 6 months and 14 years are referred and applicants are required to be open to children with identified needs. 

 

Eligibility for adoptive parents:

There are certain guidelines pertaining to adoption in CARA but the basic eligibility criteria include:

  • Single or married heterosexual couples who have been married for at least two years and have a stable relationship.
  • The composite age of a couple should not be more than 90 years while as a single parent, an individual of 25-55 years of age is allowed to adopt.
  • The individual or the couple ought to be physically, mentally and emotionally stable and financially capable.
  • Couples with three or more children, either adopted or biological are not allowed to adopt further.

 

In the case of foreign nationals or NRIs, at least one of the prospective adoptive parents must be able to visit India for not less than 10-14 days. This would include meeting the matched child and completing the legal process along with finalizing VISA processing. 

 

What are the steps related to adoption?

After you are well versed with what adoption is and have ticked off everything on the checklist of eligibility, now you have the bigger question in your bucket. How do I adopt?

 

Well, contrary to popular belief, it is quite a simple and easy process. Let us break it down for you:

 

  • First, you register with the CARA through their official website: cara.nic.in
  • Second, you would be asked to fill out forms and upload the required documents which shall include selecting your preferred Specialized Adoption Agency and a place of residence for the authorities to conduct a thorough home-study.
  • The report of the home-study conducted by the social worker would be valid for three years if aptness is confirmed.
  • Next, you would be given the referrals of children who are eligible for adoption. You ought to make a decision within 48 hours after being referred.
  • An appointment is set to match the prospective adoptive parents with a suitable child. And there! If everything goes well, be ready to hear that cute ‘mama’ or ‘dada’.
  • The average duration for child adoption in India for the entire process to be completed would be 18-24 months.

 

How do you know if you are ready?

Well, there is no perfect time for anything but when it comes to taking responsibility for a child, you must know if you are ready.

 

  • First, make sure your finances are in place. You need not be particularly wealthy, but you ought to be confident of whether you can take care of a child until he/she is able to do so on their own. Raising a child can be expensive and you should very well be stable enough to do so.

 

  • Second, check where you stand emotionally. Ask yourself if you are ready to accept and put the child’s needs before your own. This does not mean excessive pampering. An adopted child may have gone through a lot of emotional trauma and attachment issues, be it at an orphanage or a foster care. Unfortunately, prior trauma or abuse is not uncommon either and hence; you must be able to provide emotional stability, support and care  as well. 

 

  • In case you have biological children, let them know what you are planning and have conversations on if they are willing to accept it. Make sure that your entire family is ready to welcome this change.  And more importantly, remember never to compare your adopted child with your biological child. Your adopted child may be from a different race or ethnicity and it is important to welcome them as they are.

 

  • Have conversations with family and friends and seek their support. After all, this moment is something you would want to celebrate and share with your close ones.

 

  • Make sure that your partner and you see eye-to-eye on the major parenting styles such as what religion you would want the child to follow or aspects such as their schooling and disciplinary issues - to name a few. 

 

 

Now that you know what to expect and the procedures involved in child adoption in India, go ahead and plan the welcoming of your child. Remember, adoption is simply not just about having a child but about being a family, having unconditional love and creating a beautiful bond.

 

December 24, 2020 |  read

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Possible Psychological Problems faced by an Adopted Child - Emotional and Behavioral

Concerned about what might be bothering your adopted child? Let us understand better by delving deeper into their psychology.

Adoption, in a lot of ways, is not all that different from childbirth. Parenting in any of its forms, quite truly, is one of the most difficult yet rewarding experiences in life. Whether it is in your belly that you carried your child for most part of the year, or have spent a long time to complete your family coordinating with an adoption agency, when the child finally arrives, all you really want as a parent is to have a happy and healthy child.

 

However, adoption as a legal process can involve a lot of emotions and feelings for all the people involved - you as a parent, your partner, your family, and the adopted child. Further, it can make child care quite a challenge as many emotional and behavioural problems could occur. Every child needs hugs, lullabies, and ofcourse – their homework checked. While adopted children too face similar issues to the ones non adopted children face while growing up, given the temperament of an individual child, some experiences may directly be related to being adopted. As a result, adopted children may be more likely to struggle with emotions and behaviours. Whatever the nature of the problem may be, some kind of intervention becomes necessary. Especially during the adolescent years, the child will begin to explore their identity, and find a place in the world. 

 

To make sure that the health, progress, and well- being of your child is not hampered, let us look at some common psychological problems of adopted children that might occur, and what steps can be taken to reduce the probability of the child experiencing them.

 

Feelings of Grief or Loss

Certain behavioural problems in adopted children can come out of their sense of abandonment. If the child is old enough, he or she may grieve for their biological parents, grandparents, siblings, culture, or language. If feelings of grief, loss, anxiety, or even anger are left unexpressed and not attended to in this regard, it may stir up a sense of uncertainty. They might start to wonder if there is something wrong with them, or if their adoptive parents will leave them too. 

 

What is needed then is to make sure there is enough communication of thoughts and feelings. To be able to overcome these anxieties, the child must be talked to. Parents must provide the child with a safe outlet for self expression, and acknowledge their feelings. This will allow the child to feel secure and be comfortable with the adoption arrangement.

 

A Sense of Low Self- Esteem

As the child grows, he or she may face challenges with their self- esteem, which relates directly to their sense of value, identity, dignity, and belonging. The adopted child might think of himself or herself as different, somewhat out of place, and not the right fit in the society with others. It is when the child is ashamed or embarrassed of being adopted, they display a lack of self confidence.

 

To let them have a better sense of self while growing up, adoption should be looked at in a positive manner when being raised. A sense of self worth and self esteem in the child can be the result of healthy relationships between parents and their adopted child.

 

Formation of Identity

Development of Identity can be slightly complicated for kids that are adopted. They are likely to ponder over several questions like who their biological parents are, where they live, or why they were given up for adoption. It is like trying to put several pieces of a puzzle together. Identity formation begins during childhood and becomes more prominent into the teenage years. It is a sense of purpose that they seek from life in this setting of adoption, by filling these blanks. In such a case, an ‘open adoption’ (if possible) can be extremely beneficial for children as well as for adoptees.

 

Open Adoption

An ‘open adoption’ is one where the birth family and the adoptive family keep in touch for the sake of the child. Keeping in touch can mean different things - exchanging letters or mails, or making phone calls or visiting regularly. It is what suits best to both the parties. This kind of a set up makes the adopted child have tangible answers to several important questions. It helps them overcome challenges, and get a wholesome feeling while growing up. They truly understand their identity, and often even carry it with pride, knowing that their biological and adoptive families both love them a lot.

 

Over-Indulgence

At times, adoptive parents with sincere intentions tend to over- indulge their child. They may treat the adoptive child as someone “special” simply because he or she is adopted. They indulge the adopted child more than they would indulge the biological one. While it may be done out of sympathy and a pure heart, it can create additional anxiety, sadness, or fear for the adopted child. Parents may even not discipline the child if he or she misbehaves, thinking that may not have complete “right.” 

 

However, over-indulging any child does not lead to a positive outcome in the long run. The adopted child should not be treated any differently. Every child needs to understand that there are rules and that a little bit of discipline can go a long way. 

 

If nothing seems to work out, reach out to an expert - one that understands your child and you as a parent. With the right kind of assessment and intervention, the psychological problems can be managed and you and your child will learn to honour the positivity and strength that exists in your relationship as a family.

July 29, 2021 |  read