Monday, March 12, 2012

Tired of Waiting?

Another article sponsored by the Adopt America Network. Please check out their website.

Tired of Waiting?

In the adoption process there are several waiting periods, but the two most difficult are:

the time between the completion of training, paperwork, and homestudy and the match of their child, and;

the time between when the match is made and the child or children actually move into the home.

Here are some suggestions for you as you participate in each of those two stages:

From Homestudy Completion to Match:

The temptation before being matched is to spend time thinking about the house and how to prepare it. But the issue before being matched with a specific sibling group or child is preparing yourself as a person and as a parent-to-be. Here are some suggestions:

1. Read, read, read, read, read. Books, magazines, articles, online blogs and websites, anything that you can get your hands on about children in the system. A special focus should be given to attachment disorder and fetal alcohol issues as you will most likely face them.

2. Volunteer to do respite care or be involved with children in some way. A crisis nursery, a headstart program in a low-income neighborhood, a Big-Brother or Big-Sister program, or spending time with teens at a Residential Treatment Center can provide invaluable training and also will make you more matchable.

3. Spend time attending support groups, conferences, and other events where you can meet parents of adopted children. Talk to them about their experiences and get to know their children.

From Match to Placement: When you find out you will be welcoming a child into your home, use the waiting time to prepare for that specific child or sibling group. Ask your questions carefully so you can use your waiting time wisely.

...Again, read, read, read but this time more specifically. Focus on the issues of the children who are coming to your home.
...Decorate a room.
...Plan a schedule.
...Enroll the kids in school.
...Purchase bedding.
...Get insurance information.
...Alert your doctor/dentist.
...Identify their therapist or psychiatrist.
...Calendar their currently scheduled appointments.
...Begin a scrapbook for them.

There are many things that you can do to make the time go fast. It is important to think through how your schedule will change when a new child enters your home. You are not adding a child to your existing life; you are welcoming a child who will change the way you and your family functions. Decide early on what are foundational values and practices of your family’s life together so that you can maintain a sense of stability in the midst of necessary changes.

Kids in care find security in structure, whether they are able to identify this or not (and with some diagnoses “structure” may initially create some challenges). The clearer the structure – and do not mistake clarity for rigidity – the better. Thinking through each day will help not only you, but also your children to get a sense of what to expect each day and each week during their stay with you. This kind of structure alleviates anxiety and provides a more secure sense of calm.

Don’t waste your waiting times. Take full advantage of the extra time because it won’t be long before you feel like you never have a free minute!

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