Wednesday, November 16, 2011
The First Step
The first step is the hardest. We had never considered adoption seriously until Kristin fell into our life. Now it is in our blood. We have learned that all children have special needs. Some are just more visible than others. These children have changed our lives and bring so many rewards. So how do you do it? I suppose the route to beginning is different for everyone. But there are a few things that can help the transition.
Our experience is with international adoption but I believe that generally the first steps are the same. You'll want to find a good agency to work with. They will hold your hand through the process so you need to trust them. For international adoptions you'll want to use a Hague approved agency. We have always used Children's House international (CHI) (http://childrenshouseinternational.com/).
Another resource that you'll want to consider a support group such as the the Children's House International yahoo group for waiting children (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CHIWaitingkids/). These groups help identify the right child, answer questions along the way, help overcome the obstacles and give lots of support after the adoption. I highly recommend looking here as a fist step.
Another part of the adoption process that has really helped us to become better all around parents is the training. The training a required for international adoption and I believe it essential for a successful transition. Often the training is focused on younger children but the concepts still apply to the older child and are actually probably more important for the family adopting older children.
We have used two online training services with very different perspectives but both very helpful in their own way. The one we have used most recently is Heart Of The Matter Seminars (http://www.heartofthematterseminars.com/). The course that generally applies is "Because They Waited". This gorup focuses on child development and helps to understand they why and how children in less than optimal settings act the way they do. They also offer great instruction on how to help them develop. I'm retrospect this would have been so very helpful with the previous adoptions. But we have used many of the concepts in our current setting and find them to be extremely effective.
The second training provider we used was Adoption Learning Partners (http://www.adoptionlearningpartners.org/). Their "With Eyes Wide Open" was particularly memorable but they have several courses worth looking into. They focus more from the perspective of what to expect your child to experience and behave once they arrive home. This was also eye opening to think about what they are giving up to come live with a family. It also helps the parents realize some of the things they are giving up when they adopt and guide the parents to be prepared to Handel both their own losses and the child's losses. This was invaluable for our first adoption as we were well prepared to deal with the challenges we all faced.
Both programs are exceptional in their own way. I highly recommend both. If you'd like to discuss advantages for your situation, email me at myfamilyfoundme at gmail.com.
We so appreciate what we have learned from our children and the blessings and challenges they bring with them.
Point to consider: If we are not stretching, we are not growing.