“Not the flesh of my flesh, nor the bone of my bone, but miraculously my own. Never forget for a single moment, you didn’t grow under my heart, but in it.”
― Fleur Heyliger
Imagine a situation in which you are to trust the people you have just met, eat with them, sleep with them, confide in them, live with them and spend life with them. It is not easy, is it? This is the exact situation while adopting a child. More than the adoptive parents, it is difficult for the adoptee to adjust to the new surroundings. If the condition isn’t handled well after adopting a child, the child may never bond with the adoptive parents and the family bonding may fall apart.
Here are things that can be taken care of after adopting a child to ensure that the family bonding strengthens every day and the transition is as smooth as it could be.
Tell the Real Story of Adoption to Strengthen Family Bonding
After adopting a child, the transition as huge as the change of home, life and the arrival of new people in life may be too much. It has been observed that children who are adopted before they complete 12 months, develop as good a bond with the parents as a biological child. But, after that age, family bonding becomes difficult. In fact, scientists have confirmed that in most cases, the older the child, the lesser is the depth of the bond that he develops with the parents.
If the child is older than a year, he should be told the real story of his adoption, instead of trying to obscure it from him. The child remembers the foster home and he knows he doesn’t belong there. He knows that the new home wasn’t his home from the start, so he doesn’t get the sense of belonging there too. When he doesn’t know his own identity, his own story, he suffers from a lack of image and the family bonding suffers as a result.
Reassurance and Constant Explanation: Integral after Adopting a Child
An adoptee may develop Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), which happens because of the lack of nurturing received in foster homes. In this disorder, the child does not feel comfortable with the caretakers, and hence, the family bonding weakens.
Children suffering from RAD may suffer from one or more of the following.
- Behavioral issues
- Self-esteem issues
- Fear of Abandonment
The child feels aggression towards his biological parents and the most common problem that he faces is that he develops a fear of abandonment. Constant reassurance may be needed after adopting a child in such cases.
The child needs to feel that the new parents are not going to let him go, ever. He also needs a lot of explanation, even at very small matters. When he knows the reason behind every action of his parents, it builds confidence in him. Gradually, he starts trusting, which is a major and most important step in the relationship of an adoptee and adoptive parents to strengthen family bonding.
“I believe one of the most sacrificial acts of love adoptive parents can do is to give up their preconceptions and agenda about what their child’s view “should” be and be open to hear the conflicting emotions and thoughts their child often experiences.”
― Sherrie Eldridge
The genetic heritage and the environment in which an adoptee grows up is different. Behavioral genetics studies how both affect the adoptees’ cognitive and psychological traits. You can read more about behavioural genetics here.
It has been found that both these traits have at least some genetic contribution. Studies have concluded that after adopting a child, the environmental transmission has little effect on his cognitive skills at later stages of life. As he matures, the adoptee’s cognitive skills are more like their biological parents’.
It is normal for the parents to expect the adoptee to behave like the family they are adopted to. But, the parents need to understand that they may not turn out to be like them. After adopting a child, they need to understand and appreciate the difference. When the child’s differences are cherished in his new family, there are more chances that he would adapt well and bond with his new parents to strengthen family bonding.
An adoptee is always at war with himself. He struggles to understand where he belongs. Proper care must be taken after adopting a child, not only to ensure family bonding and a strong attachment to the parents, but also to make sure that the child gets a home and feel loved, something we all need to feel. We all need a home to call our own. The situation is a bit complicated in the case of adoption, but there is nothing that can’t be solved with love and patience.
Do you have any more things that should be taken care of after adopting a child to strengthen and maintain family bonding? Drop in the comment section below.