The keys to psychologically managing an adoption

In adoption, as in all transcendent life decisions, it is important to prepare both legally and emotionally.

Adoption, from a legal point of view, is constituted by a court decision, seeks the best interests of the child, brings about the realization of the right to parental authority and determines the disappearance of legal ties between the adopted child. and the biological family. From an emotional point of view, this means welcoming a child from a different environment as a child, with all rights and obligations., With a culture and customs different from ours.

Adoption generates, on the one hand, new emotional ties and, on the other hand, the development of new roles and functions on the part of the parents and the child. This article aims to offer some recommendations that facilitate reflection on the meaning of adoption and preparation for the child’s arrival in the family.

    Key ideas for psychologically managing an adoption process

    As a desire for adoption is ingrained, what is captured is the story of a coming together of different people who have feelings and moods derived from their history and personal experiences.

    adoption is a long journey of learning and managing emotions, both for the child who joins a family and for adults that begin in the role of the parents of a “person” who carries a burden of which they are often unaware.

    This path requires that future parents are aware of their own feelings, the feelings of the couple, the family and social response and what is essential to correct the shortcomings of the adopted child. Let us not forget that: “an adopted child is an abandoned child”.

    Abandonment is a rupture of the bond which will leave an injury to the child and generate an unsecured grip.. After a period of time with their adoptive family, the percentages of secure affection increase as a close and positive relationship generates security and therefore the ability to re-establish emotional bonds.

    It is important to know that for adoption to be successful parents, as the main figures of affection and restorers of children’s wounds, must feel strong and be convinced of their ability as protective and loving characters. This strength and capacity comes through working on the emotions that invade him and the child, in each of the phases, by using their internal resources or by contacting professionals who provide them with tools and guidelines.

    The importance of managing emotions when adopting

    Let no one feel guilty if at some point his strength fails or if he feels discouraged and lost; it is the fruit of the roller coaster that is at the origin of the emotions. It is important to know that in the next curve, happiness and joy will explode. From the moment they decide to adopt a child, this whirlwind of emotions will accompany them all their lives.

    Adoptive parents begin the path to fatherhood in a different way than biological, and this involves different experiences and emotions., For each other, at each of the stages leading to the building of a family.

      The stages of adoption

      If the stages are similar (waiting, assignment part, meeting, trial in case of intercountry adoption, adaptation and integration and consolidation in the family) the experiences of each of them and the associated emotions differ greatly from one form of paternity to the last. ‘other.

      1. Waiting phase

      Once the decision to found a family by adoption has been taken and the adoption application has been submitted, the journey begins with the waiting phase: it is a long phase, during which once the legal formalities have been completed and the documentation drawn up, time passes very slowly. Unlike biological parents who know that at nine months they will meet their child, adoptive parents do not know how long they will be able to and this causes them uncertainty, impatience and hopeless despair.

      2. Assignment

      At an indefinite moment, we enter the second stage: the mission. Parents receive a call informing them that their child is expecting themThey explain to them the characteristics and background of the child and ask them if they want to know. It is a very intense and confusing time. On the one hand, the long-awaited desire for a meeting and on the other hand, the fear that the expectations created will not be met.

      It is inevitable to create an image of the “angel” they will meet and to wonder how he will react when he sees them (he will reject me, he will accept me, he will think, how he will feel, because they left him, that he will have lived …). They ask a lot of unanswered questions which generate a lot of excitement, nervousness, fear, anxiety and insecurity in the face of the unknown, which are overcome by the absolute desire to know the child and to start walking as parents.

      3. Meeting

      The first meeting is the most awaited stage, where the greatest desire of future parents comes true.: Get to know your child. Arriving at the center where the child is located, parents react in several ways: some cry, others laugh, others collapse, or have reactions that define panic (parents are terrified of not being up to the “person” they will soon meet).

      The child, on the other hand, feels anxious and helpless: “I’m going to have parents, I don’t know what it is, or what will happen to me, I don’t know them and it makes me very nervous. ” At first, parents are complete strangers; feelings of mutual strangeness and distrust of the child towards the parents will arise. It is necessary to relax, to transmit serenity and to respect the behavior of the child so that he also relaxes and you can interact. The easiest way to access the child is to play.

      Usually after a reasonable amount of time the child will agree to play with you and at that point the relationship will begin to build that will last a lifetime and forge the bond. When this happens, happiness overwhelms parents and child and is the harbinger of success.

      4. Adaptation

      Then we will enter the stage of adaptation, the goal is mutual knowledge and to build the relationship that will generate trust and will lead to adoption.

      Although this period can be very different between domestic and international adoptions due to the difference in the legal process, the main emotion is joy, which arises from the bottom of our hearts and brings us peace of mind., The well-being and the love that pushes us to explore the environment and to deepen the knowledge of the other.

      Once the relevant entities decide that the adoption is favorable, parent and child are ready to embark on a common adventure which will be formalized, starting the real adventure of building a family.

      This stage begins the day the child is taken into care at the center where he has spent the last months or years of his life. It is a very strong emotional blow for the child which generates helplessness and a lot of anxiety and usually results in heartbroken tears in the face of fear, anger, anger or disconnection from the environment, in the background another loss.

      Parents face this situation differently, they feel a deep emotion charged with tenderness, love, joy, accompanied by a certain anguish. Giving up everything and putting yourself in the situation of the child, which gives the impression that they have just taken him away, allows him to better understand him and to help him overcome his pain. Understand the relational style he has experienced, the emotional ties he has maintainedNon-individualized group relationships, not feeling exclusive, not knowing what a parent is …, will facilitate your first steps in the family environment.

      5. Family consolidation

      Once outside the center, it is the moment of truth, it is the beginning of the family journey. In arriving at home, the child can be curious and explore the environment by touching everything or, on the contrary, be inhibited and not move.

      From this moment, the child will have to face many changes.: The mode of relationship (from the institutional to the family), the situation of abundance (affection, relationship, play), cultural change (climate, language, food, environment) and sometimes ethnic difference.

      The child feels disorientation, restlessness and expectation. It does not rely on new conditions to be permanent. He must understand that this time is different and they will not give up on him. You need to understand what is happening to you, get used to your new situation, and learn what it means to live with your family.. Therefore, it is important that before starting their school life, they spend a long time at home to strengthen the emotional bonds with the family environment.

      As a parent, watching the child, listening to him, seeing what he is expressing and what are his shortcomings, seeking to cover his needs and showing him that you are there to protect him, to care for him and to to love him, you will be able to consolidate his family integration. This involves “accompanying your child in his growth and taking care of his training as a human being by protecting him and giving him the affection, values ​​and norms that would place him in social life” (Meltzer , 1989).

      It should be remembered that “as parents, adoptive parents must perform the same functions as biological parents, but with a plus that comes from the adopted child. The most for adoptive parents is to repair the damage and after-effects resulting from the whole. child’s antecedents ”(Miravent and Ricart (2005)).

      Parents and extended family are involved in this repair processIn order for the child to feel more part of the family, the family must be encouraged to have an integrative attitude and a sense of belonging. As the child feels safe in the home environment, they will dare to explore other environments and begin to walk on their own, search for their origins, develop their identity and grow into a happy adult.

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