Unit 1. Introduction: what will I learn in this course?

  • Meet the authors of the course material and your instructor
  • Brief outline of the course, its teaching methods and reading requirements

Part l. Thinking about adoption

Unit 2. Making a decision to adopt internationally

  • Examining your motivation and expectations for adoption of an older child
  • Taking an inventory: personal resources
  • Analyzing your own family history and dynamics prior to the adoption
  • What challenges a parent most: the child that rejects nurturing
  • Complex factors parents cannot change
  • A parent's responsibility to a child
  • Families that do well with post-institutional children
  • What a parent can change

Unit 3. Children from orphanages

A. The impact of neglect, deprivation, and trauma of dysfunctional family and institutional life on child's development

  • Ordinary parenting is not enough
  • Problems with sensory integration
  • The stress-shaped brain
  • Fetal alcohol poisoning effects
  • Sexual issues
  • Regulation challenges

B. The consequences: developmental delays in cognitive, language, and academic domains

  • Language delay
  • Lack of academic readiness for age-appropriate school placement
  • Cumulative Cognitive Deficit

C. The consequences: behavioral issues

  • Being neglected and out of control
  • Orphanage behavior patterns

D. The consequences: emotional issues

  • Emotional fragility
  • Difficulties with attachment

Part II. After adoption: Helping your child settle in

Unit 4. What is international adoption like for a child?

  • Dropped in the middle of nowhere
  • The world turned up-side-down
  • Forced immersion
  • The four questions every child wants answered - immediately and repeatedly
  • Behavior as communication
  • Coping with the new reality via delayed reactions
  • Coping behaviors - recovery from immersion
  • Parental responses to a child's coping behaviors
  • Child's feelings behind different coping behaviors
  • Overstimulation
  • Risky behavior

Unit 5. Building the family together and resolving emotional issues

  • People who don't have children are the only ones who can be perfect parents
  • Family dynamics
  • Grief and loss
  • Dealing with cultural differences and institutional background of the child
  • Developing a concept of home and family with the child
  • "Claiming" your child
  • Helping your child learn to rely upon you
  • Dealing with separation anxiety
  • Working on developing mutual trust and understanding
  • Teaching moments
  • Connecting the dots
  • Defining the bottom line
  • Making no assumptions they see the obvious
  • Developing a "feeling language"
  • Maintaining expectation of accountability
  • Defining natural and logical consequence
  • Providing opportunities to redeem themselves
  • Giving something for free
  • Finding ways to reconnect
  • Identifying self-defeating or sabotaging behavior
  • Not letting them fall too far
  • Important conclusions

Unit 6. Understanding and building attachment

  • How do I know if my child has an attachment problem?
  • Parent recognition - teaching your child to recognize you as special and different from others
  • Parent proximity - teaching your child to stay close to you, checking in with you
  • Co-regulation - teaching your child to use you to soothe and calm under stress
  • Shared attention - teaching your child to pay attention to you and make eye contact
  • Having fun together - releasing the feel-good chemicals for both of you
  • Repair of disconnection - reconnecting with your child when "togetherness" is lost

Unit 7. Managing behavior and building new skills

  • Taking care of activities of daily living
  • Childproofing your home
  • Setting the limits and introducing the structure
  • Avoiding over-stimulation
  • Managing child's anger and resolving conflicts
  • Building self-control and ability to delay gratification
  • Changing institutional behavior patterns
  • Dealing with child's fear of men
  • Dealing with separation anxiety
  • Dealing with "Fight or Flight" reactions
  • Dealing with "testing the limits" behavior
  • Dealing with defiant behavior
  • Dealing with lying and stealing
  • Dealing with aggressive behavior
  • Dealing with an over-stimulated child

Unit 8. Addressing educational issues

  • The causes of rapid loss of the native language by international adoptees
  • The therapeutic value and negative consequences of rapid loss of the first language
  • The dynamics of English language acquisition by internationally adopted children
  • The pattern of English language learning
  • Language issues of children adopted at an early age and still having language-based problems
  • Pros and cons of preserving the native language
  • The child’s school placement
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) program: opportunities and limitations

Part III. Parental skills: Updating your parental techniques and reaching out for help

Unit 9. Parental survival skills

  • Managing relations: a story of a family
  • Dealing with your own anger
  • Adjusting expectations
  • Post adoption depression: taking care of yourself

Unit 10. Professional medical and psychological help for your child

A. The role of medical and psychological assessment

B. Dealing with challenging behaviors

  • Case study 1: Nine months Jenny (Warm Rock)
  • Case study 2: Sixteen months Lorna (Stunned Rag Doll)
  • Case study 3: Twenty four months Jessie (Dizzy Performer)
  • Case study 4: Thirty months Franny (Dizzy Performer)
  • Case study 5: Thirty six months Robbie (Royal Boss)
  • Case study 6: Forty eight months Yao (Unwilling Guest)
  • Case study 7: Using words to describe feelings (Warm Rock)
  • Case study 8: Separation anxiety and school refusal
  • Case study 9: An oppositional six year old (Royal Boss)
  • Case study 10: Depressed seven year old (Warm Rock)
  • Case study 11: An eight year old who runs away from parents (Dizzy Performer)
  • Case study 12: The nine year old bully (An Older Version of the Royal Boss)
  • Case study 13: Stealing and lying ten year old (Unwilling Guest)

C. Guidelines for seeking help for your child