Do you know this?

There are approximately 18000 parents registered with CARA, while the number of children in the Government's adoption pool is less 1800.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Adoption and the stages of development - When you need help (7 of 7 parts)

When You Need Help
In the last 15 years increasing interest and research in child development and parenting has given adoption more attention. Until recently, once a child was placed for adoption by an agency, little else was offered about general child development or rearing; and if the adoption was a private one, there were no professional helpers. Adoptive parents tried to educate themselves through Dr. Benjamin Spock's 1945 edition of Baby and Child Care which offers helpful but brief guidance about adoption.

How Do You Know You Need Help?
Usually a parent notices that something is wrong, either in the family atmosphere or in a family member. If you have educated yourself about normal child behavior at different ages, chances are you will find yourself questioning behavior in your child that seems out of the ordinary. Sometimes, a teacher, relative, or friend asks if you have noticed a problem. Perhaps your child seems unduly sad or anxious, unable to concentrate, is angry or flies off the handle for no obvious reason. You may see behavior that is unusual or not characteristic of your child; sometimes it is the increasing degree of a certain behavior that is troubling.

Perhaps there has been an upsetting event or change, such as a move or loss of job for you or your spouse. Children react to any parental problems that threaten their security. Elementary school-aged children tend to have problems around school; often that is the setting where problems are noticed. Adolescents tend to have identity concerns and authority struggles with their parents or other adults.

All of these possibilities can occur in any family. The adoptive family has the added concern of trying to decide whether or not it is an adoption issue that is troubling the child. If the child is over 6 years of age, it is usually impossible to distinguish adoption from other psychological, social, and educational issues. Treatment must evaluate the child and family and should consider his or her stage of development and the nature of the child's relationship with you (and sometimes with his or her birth parents).

Finding Help
Before seeking professional counseling, use your parenting skills to discover if you can help your child yourself by listening, talking, or making changes in the environment. If you feel your child cannot communicate with you or that your relationship might be part of the problem, it is wise to seek outside assistance.

Because it is so difficult to disentangle adoptive issues from those of normal development, especially once the child has reached elementary school-age, the adoptive family can benefit from professional helpers who have experience working with adoptive families. There are many varieties of therapy, and advantages and disadvantages to each. Sometimes the whole family needs to be involved in therapy. Sometimes your adopted child needs to deal with problems alone.

This is final part of this series. I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as we have enjoyed compiling it. Leave us a comment. This information is made available by the US department of Health and Human Sciences.

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