An Opportunity for Conversation
For the past several weeks, there has been daily news reports of the furor related to the adoption of a child from Russia. Along with the news reports, many media personalities are speaking about adoption. As adoptive parents, you know that there are stories behind the stories and that many of the sound bites are presenting misinformation.
The Adoption Staff at CCDIOBR views this as a great opportunity for your families and your adoption journey. Here are some ways to make the most of the media blitz using it as an opportunity to engage your kids. Make it a “dinner table conversation” to normalize and educate about adoption as well as debunk the myths and misinformation. The most important characteristics of the conversation should be honesty and empathy for how reports and conversations about adoption impact your family.
Conversations and understanding will be impacted by your child’s age and developmental stage. Don’t assume your child is not aware or thinking about this even if they are not talking about it! It is important for parents to take the lead rather than hoping it is not impacting your child. Begin by asking a question such as:
- Have you heard anything about adoption?
- What have you heard?
- What did you think about what you heard?
- How did you feel about it?
As you are asking the questions, give your own answers based on your child’s age and stage. Tell them what you have heard and what you think or feel about it including how you feel for each party to the adoption – the parents and the child.
If your children have heard about the child being sent back to Russia, ask them how they feel about this. Tell your child you can imagine that it would make them question how you (their parents) may respond to difficult situations. Reassure the child that you would not do this. Talk to them about the permanency and commitment of your family and that you will always be his/her parent(s). Remind the child of how you as parents respond to misbehavior or conflict.
In addition to the opportunity for families and their adoption journeys, this is an opportunity for the Adoption Program at CCDIOBR. For a number of years now, Catholic Charities has required an intensive group preparation and training program for prospective adoptive parents. This training includes topics such as the themes of adoption, respect for birth history, understanding the experiences of a child available for adoption, the impact of institutionalization on a child, and parenting preparation, including parenting techniques that foster attachment.
Catholic Charities has a staff of credentialed and competent adoption social work practitioners with many years of experience in all types of adoptions. The Domestic Adoption Program has historically taken the lead in current adoption practices and the International Adoption Program has recently become Hague Accredited.
For further information about the response of adoption practitioners to the concerns about Russian adoption, you may go to this website: http://www.jcics.org/Russia.htm
Please feel free to email the International Adoption Social Workers with questions or for more information:
Paula C. Davis, LCSW firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara B. Thompson, LCSW email@example.com