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Now we have a new legislation called "Juvenile & Justice Act, 2015" replacing the JJ Act of 2000. In this new act, adoption has assumed a significant importance with an exclusive chapter. Subscribe and follow this blog for more information in the days to come.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Adoption Q and A # 30 (Pre adoption counselling)

How important is pre-adoption counselling?

Let's say tomorrow you want to fly a plane what would you do? Just hop in and take charge of the controls? Considering the life threatening dangers that surround your actions, you would be naive to do that.

Act of adoption requires preparation just like flying a plane does. There are issues in adoption that will live with the families for the length of their life time and it is in their own best interest to be prepared how to handle them.

I can only share my own experience of how pre-adoption counselling had helped my family to understand certain issues. I want to share two issues namely 1. Accepting referrals and 2. Disclosure of truth about adoption.

My family was under this fantasy that the adoption agency will give us four or five referrals of different children and then we get to choose. Our adoption agency made it clear to us that only one referral will be given at a time with the available information. In case of refusal, families need to return that referral information to receive the next one. They took pains to explain why it is that way. I understood then that adopting a child is not like buying vegetables - picking and choosing. I don't even have that choice in a biological birth.

I was like many Indians, didn't want to be open about adoption with my children. In our pre-adoption counselling, we had several speakers but the one that touched our hearts was an adult adoptee of South Korean origin. She was adopted by white parents. She told the gathering that she doesn't remember a time in her life that she didn't know about the truth about her adoption. I still remember she saying that it made her mentally strong with confidence because she has the truth on her side. Whenever friends or anyone asks her why her parents are white while she has oriental features? she would courageously say that she is adopted. That is courage.

It immediately stirred a thinking in my wife and I that this is an issue that we need to think it over. We did and decided that it is in our own children's best interest that we should disclose the truth about their adoption. Both my girls are only 6 and 3 and know about their past. Now our family has become an advocate on this issue that we must disclose in the best interest of our child.

Our agency had mandated it that we attend our pre-adoption counselling for 8 hours and we both of us were required to attend it. For the second child also it was mandated but only for 4 hours and anyone of us could attend. We are so grateful to our agency today that they made us undergo this training.

With this information, I hope you're beginning to see the point about the importance of pre-adoption counselling. If anyone advises you to skip pre-adoption counselling, remember this: they are asking you to sit in the pilot seat to fly a plane without suggesting that you get training for it first. You must question their motives. If you proceed as they suggest, you're doing a disservice of immeasurable magnitude to yourself and to your future.

Do you have something to add to this? Please write in the comments section below.

RN

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