In the March
12, 2006 issue of our Newsletter we asked you, our readers
- experienced internationally adopting parents and professionals, to
give us your opinion on what are the "must have" qualities,
essential for those who think about adopting internationally, especially
when considering older institutionalized children.
Now we want to thank all the participants for
the passionate, sincere and detailed answers we received: once again
we were amazed with the energy and dedication to your children poring
through your messages. Thank you all for being there and doing what
you do for the children.
Not surprisingly, the "must have" characteristics
described by you reflect the personality of those, who succeeded in
international adoption and have one underlying quality: these parents
are 'driven by what is better for their children' and want 'to
be part of the "solution" and do something for the greater
Here is a short list compiled from your messages: "must
have" qualities for the aspiring adoptive parents.
Clear understanding of what you are getting into and why you are adopting.
to the child: You
have to be willing and capable of loving a needy and difficult child
unconditionally. You have to be willing to let go of the day before
and open your heart again the next day and reach out to your child.
You also have to be able to love without fully liking your child. Meaning,
you need to show love and compassion, even though you don't like your
You must prepare emotionally for the
fact that your adopted child will take longer to express/display affection
to the parents, much longer that one hopes/fantasizes. You need to understand
that your child will do very well and then regress, and it is not all
black and white. Nothing is fully spelled out for you.
to create a support system: You must
have some support people whom you can contact to talk about frustrations
and fears. In the beginning stages of getting the child settled in the
US it's very easy to the parents to feel they have made a mistake --
or this child is not for them.
You need to have faith, passion and
determination to succeed (stubbornness) and belief that you will (optimism).
Unwillingness to settle for basic answers, investigatory
skills to ferret out non-traditional solutions to complex problems (thinking
"out of the box"). Do research, have independent evaluations
done, and then insist that your child get what he/she needs.
want and will to parent: Some single
mothers look into adoption as a way to fill a void in their lives and
they treat their newly adopted child (usually a daughter) as a companion.
They tend to treat the child as their equal, their sidekick, rather
than their child. This can be detrimental to the one who has not experienced
a true parental bond or does not understand parental authority. You
need to develop a parent/child relationship with this child.
You can't be a very laid back parent, who discovers
undesirable behavioral characteristics in the child, but doesn't address
them. Such parents accept that the child has undesirable behaviors,
but aren't willing to do what it takes in the home to address them.
It is the parents' job to help the children overcome their issues and
to develop their child's character so they feel their child will be
able to function in the society of their family first and then in public
society. Many parents complain about the child's issues, go to weekly
therapy sessions, etc...but all the therapy in the world will not change
the child's behaviors unless the parents do something to make consistent
changes in the child's home and environment.
respect: The understanding that what
we can do and are doing is amazing no matter how inadequate or frustrated
we feel at the moment.
of humor and a little money don't hurt.