In addition to self-education, parents must do what they need to face the reality, not just the possibility, that their child may have emotional, behavioral, or physical issues that need time and attention. (It's too easy to say, "That won't happen to me.")
Adoption preparation should include reading, on-line and in-person discussions with other parents, and time spent with children at the age you're considering adopting. And, throughout the pre-adoption process, the role of the adoption agency is critical. You want an agency that does all they can to honestly prepare parents for ALL that can occur when parenting older adopted kids.
Things you don't want to hear:
· They just need love, good food, and stability in their life.
· We've never had a child placed through our agency that had RAD (reactive attachment disorder) or attachment issues.
· All of our available kids are happy, well-adjusted, and just need a good home.
· I don't know what you'd need a stipend for, he's the perfect child for you.
· None of the kids from China (Kazakhstan) have attachment issues because they're so well loved by their caregivers.
· All those indecipherable diagnoses on the medical reports...don't worry. They don't mean anything. Those things are written into the medical records of all children in orphanages.
· Don't worry about learning your child's native language. Kids learn English so fast you won't believe it. It's really not worth your time.
· Well, we have some medical info on the children you're interested in... but there are some gaps. I wouldn't worry too much though. These kids seem just great.
Things you do want to hear:
· We require all of our parents to attend a parenting preparation class.
· All of our parents are given two books that are required reading as part of the homestudy.
· We recommend for international adoptions that you learn as much of your child's language as possible. They learn English quickly, but until then your ability to communicate will aid in their adjustment to their new life.
· Older child adoption can be challenging. You need to know about adjustment, grief and loss, and more. We'll do everything to prepare you, but you need to realize that there will be challenges.
· We've gathered as much medical information on the children as possible. Please read it all over, ask us any questions, and if need be, we'll try and get answers to any additional questions you may have.
· After your children are home, we're available to help out with any of the issues that arise during the adjustment period.
Understandably, adoption agencies walk a fine line between preparing parents and not scaring them off. However, the better agencies know that by providing honest information and real scenarios, parents have the best opportunity to create a well-grounded, committed family unit