We asked a range of children and adoption social workers in Facebook groups to tell us what they wished adopters understood about the children they were going to care for. They said:
1) Adoption is permanent and as an adopter you take on a responsibility for
the rest of the child’s childhood, children are a lifelong commitment.
2) Parenting is about responsibility, not power. Babies aren’t clean slates.
3) You need to embrace the child’s history prior to adoption. A child’s
identity is crucial, and without a sense of belonging, acceptance and
connection the child will likely seek out these things in mal-adaptive ways
throughout their different developmental stages.
4) Children need to be brought up understanding why they were removed from
their birth parents, but adopters also need to avoid being judgemental of birth
5) The child must be loved for who they are. You need to understand that
while adopting a traumatised baby/child you are also adopting a potentially traumatised
6) You should understand that children have traumatic history and adoptive parent’s job now is to create a loving supportive environment and be advocates for children.
7) It’s sad how many adopters decide they don’t want to parent children experiencing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or RAD (Reactive attachment disorder).
8) You shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations of your children.
9) You need to understand the impact of trauma, and learn and implement therapeutic strategies.
10) You need to understand how much your lives are going to change, you will need to restructure their family. Not to expect the child to fit into your existing routines and patterns.
11) You must unconditionally love the child.
12) The child’s behaviour is not personal. They may not be conscious of why they push their adoptive parents away, or what triggered a reaction, but they know they need you.