Ten tips for the first year of placement; here’s one –You are the one who has the responsibility of engaging your child positively. Do not use punitive techniques to try to build relationships. After all, no one wants to attach to a mean person. Instead, be strong, dependable, available, and kind. Veer away from advice that is strong, controlling, and mean in tone. Sensitive and kind parents gradually build empathy and security in their relationships with their children. That process takes time and the type of parenting that caused you to want to be a parent in the first place!
Maintain a sane schedule as you move into year two. Many parents decide that the first year is the marker until they can re-enter a “normal” schedule. Among family therapists there is national concern about the taxing schedule that Americans are considering “normal.” Resist this widespread but unhealthy pace. Continue to parent with margins of time that allow for sensitivity, with margins of emotional energy that allow for appreciation of those around you. Model a healthy, emotionally fulfilling lifestyle to your child
If all adopters followed the advice written about, what a better place adoption would be for adoptees – kinder, gentler, more child centred and with the likelihood of better outcomes for all. Of course those engaging in transnational adoption have many, many more vital aspects of the adoptee’s life to consider in addition. It seems many practise colour-blindness, believing it to be in some way preferable, more ‘correct’, than acknowledging the identity, race, colour, culture, language and losses of a child taken from their motherland. We hear so many stories of adopters insisting to adoptees that they are just like them! To ignore who the child is, who any person is, can be abusive, damaging and is building a foundation for later difficulties. It is not politically correct, liberal, open-minded, making the perpetrator appear to not be racist or in any way kind, accepting, encompassing, inclusive and is in fact the opposite – racist, excluding, refusing to acknowledge, embrace and celebrate difference. It is racism with a mask, insidious, devious and always offensive to observers.
How it is for adoptees and those who have to suffer it’s full effects is beyond the scope of this blog and it is written about frequently by those who live it, know it and understand it from within. Prospective adopters and adopters would do well to listen up, take the information to heart and make changes where they can. For some it is too late, the damage is done and is being done, daily, hidden behind the mask of good intentions, christian charity, orphan saving and liberal do-gooding.
It is impossible for white adopters to raise a child of colour as effectively as those who are from the same race in terms of learning to deal with racism, imparting cultural aspects which affect identity, language, cultural practices, heritage, religion, spiritual beliefs and so on. All of those things are crucial to a child’s development, their identity and the knowledge of who they are, all of which give a sound base and avoid the confusion, contradictions and painful clashes we see happening to adult adoptees raised white. No amount of culture clubs, camps, extra schooling and homeland visits will replace the heritage which is taken from adoptees. Our fellow adoptees tell many stories of painful encounters, difficult situations, awkward moments and the most tragic of disconnects due entirely to their removal from their motherland and to their adoption.
The popularity of transnational adoption raises two questions – should children be removed from their home country and should they be adopted transnationally? So many adoptees discover, or already knew, that they have living family, that they are not orphans and that no or few attempts have been made to connect them with their family once they have been parted from them, often due to difficult circumstances which are temporary. The tragedy of that disconnect which has been deliberately engineered, arranged, encouraged, paid for with large sums of money, is one of the most unethical and offensive aspects of transnational adoption. There are so many alternatives which are family centred, protect children from being deemed orphans and made adoptees and they require patience, diligence, effort and money but probably no more than required by attempts to adopt.
Adoptees like me who put forward these views are often chastised by practising adopters for whom adoption is still a fairly new event in their lives. They irritably get on a high horse to ask what is to be done with those children who are rotting in the gutter, starving in filth and abandoned to die. Of course no sane person with an ounce of compassion wants to see any child suffer. We could all do better in trying to find imaginative solutions, real answers and viable options for children and for parents and in supporting the work of others who are at the coal face of trying to prevent adoption, keep families together, stop poverty and child trafficking. More walking the walk while talking the talk which is still needed, necessary and vital for change and the saving or ‘orphans’ from adoption, the abolition of transnational adoption and the prevention of the abuses we see daily amongst our adult fellow adoptees and of the abuses we see and hear about of young adoptees made to live white would be a start.
“And as a transracial adoptee, I can say without hesitation, that growing up in a White family that was oblivious and ignorant to racial issues and identity was damaging to the core of who I am. I’m approaching my 40’s, and I still struggle with feeling like my race is a defect or is somehow less desirable, less beautiful, less meaningful than being White.” -Mila
Another moving post from n adoptee -Konomoshttp://rileysinuganda.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/guest-post-internationally-adopted.html
Every five seconds a child under ten dies from hunger, 57 000 people every day, a billion are severely malnourished, and this is happening on a planet that is overflowing with wealth and that could actually feed twelve billion people.