the online class JSBG2
older children internationally:
making a decision and coping with
As a human being,
the interaction with your newly adopted older child will likely include
moments of insecurity, disappointment in yourselves and how you may
handle an "adoption moment." You don't have time to focus
on whether or not your child likes you before needing to assume your
role as parent and impose expectations and limits. The truth be told,
like every other child, birth or adopted, they will have moments where
they don't like your rules, expectations or consequences; and what's
more, they don't even like you! Adopting and parenting an older child
requires a headlong plunge into parenting as you are also learning about,
and bonding, to your child. You cannot allow your approval rating to
interfere with the need to assume your role as parent.
One of the
ways of inviting and reinforcing your child's sense of belonging in
your family is to use "claiming" language and activities.
Stating an expectation in terms of "In our family, we do chores
together on Saturday
In our family, we ask before we borrow one
In our family, the parents are in charge."
Likewise, it is important to use language and references that reinforce
their position in the family. "This is our daughter, Nadezhda
brother asked if you could go to the store with him
This is something
we do as a family and you are a part of our family
Including the children in family
rituals and celebrations or building new ones are means of "claiming"
them as a family member.
Natasha is 10 and this is her
first Christmas with her adopted family. One of the family traditions
is for the children to take turns each year placing the angel on the
top of the Christmas tree. A decade of Santa pictures are displayed
on the piano. Natasha's brother and sister agree that this year she
should place the angel on the tree. After taking her turn, Natasha
asked if she could have her picture taken with Santa. Her parents
told her, of course she could, and they briefly planned a visit to
the mall. A few seconds later, the family was taken aback as Natasha
began to cry. She said it was probably the last year that Santa would
let her sit on his lap because she was getting too old. Natasha's
tears were for the years she had not been a part of the traditions
and the fear that she had few years left. The family hugged her, placed
her name on the angel's box noting the next year that it would be
her turn, reinforcing her future with them. They also discussed a
part of the Christmas tradition she would assume as hers. Because
of her artistic talent and organization, she assumed the task of setting
up the miniature Christmas village.
Identifying likes and dislikes,
talents, interests, favorite colors, skills and activities are all ways
to learn about your child, indicate an interest and an appreciation
for their uniqueness and bond and connect. Most of these children have
not had the kind of attention and feedback that is so critical to developing
a sense of self and a sense of belonging.