Thursday, February 4, 2016

The changing adoption...

Adoption isn't what it used to be! There have been substantial societal changes that have permanently altered adoptive family relationships and adoptive family boundaries.What am I talking about? Well, for example, consider how any of the following currently impact adoptive family life in a way that is different from just five or ten years ago:

- the impact of trying to keep families together longer resulting  in the child experiencing increased numbers of caregivers and longer exposure to violence, abuse and neglect
- the impact of more and harsher drugs on fetal brain development resulting in severe and permanent brain differences
- the ability of birth family to secretly contact and influence the children through social media
- the decreasing supports for parents

These are just the tip of the iceberg. I'm sure you can name a hundred more.

I'm not spending any time thinking about or writing about whether these changes are negative or positive. They are what they are and life never goes back to how it was. Adoptive families have always been great at adapting and that's what we have to do now - we have to adapt to what we live with now. 

What I am going to spend time thinking and writing about is how to get the adoption industry to catch up with modern adoptive family life. I want to talk about major change in pre-adoption training so that prospective adoptive parents understand the ways in which in their lives will change not just from having a new child in their family, but from all the changes I've listed above. I want to help parents and professionals understand the adoptive family life cannot be the same as other types of family life - yes, the parents will love the child as their own and will do all it takes to provide what is needed - but they will be hampered in this if the adoption professionals aren't honest about the high level of ongoing needs that the children will present and if everyone pretends that the birth family won't have continued contact with the child, whether its formal or done in secret on facebook or snapchat.

I would like this blog to be a place of discussion for parents and professionals who want to honest dialogue about the new realities of adoptive family life and how we can best support the families in ways that work now, not in ways that worked ten years ago. 

So, here we go... I hope you'll join me. 

Hey, remember, you are entitled to a better day!


  1. These points you made are all very real (and negative). I wonder though, how many people would jump into the adoption arena and volunteer to take in kids for x amount of years (depending on childs age at adoption) only to hand them back over to the bio family the second they turned 18 or whatever age they could get away with inserting themselves back into the childs life. My experience tells me not many (including me). It was always stressed in adoption classes that these are YOUR children, and you must treat them exactly like they are YOURS - well, a no-brainer for my family because we really bought into that and in every sense of the word, we were FAMILY. Then (also in my own experience) they grow up (some easily, some very, very difficultly) and voila! bio family take over. My kids bio family told them that now that they were reunited, they shouldn't have anything more to do with us. One of the three took that to heart, one other plays us against each other, and the third pretends to us she wants nothing to do with them (and yet, has so many things to report back to us about what's going on with the other two within said family that there must be a whole lot of contact). No matter how much we love them and want to keep things amicable, it isn't anymore. We ask for nothing from the kids, no expectations anymore of holidays and special times together. Bio family wants them out of our lives but they don't want to parent them in any capacity. They want to be their friends, they want to party with them and tell them the way "it really was". I am sick about the whole thing. I'm sure this would have happened much sooner if I had allowed FB and cell phones for my kids in high school. As it was, their emotional maturity to use these tools properly was severely compromised by parental neglect and abuse and I simply couldn't micromanage these things for them, so they didn't get them.

    1. You have brought up a very common experience for most adoptive parents and it's part of what I so strongly believe that potential adopters need to be taught and it needs public discussion. My heart is with you (I know that sounds sappy, but I really mean it).

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  2. Dang it, the site just glitched and ate my post. Too tired to reconstruct it. Maybe tomorrow. g'night all.