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Recognize the Warning Signs

Nervousness around adults
Aggression toward adults or other children
Sudden, dramatic changes in personality or activities
Frequent or unexplained bruises or injuries
Low self-esteem

If you see these signs in any children you know, offer your help.

 

 

Adoption - Every Waiting Child's Dream
"It Takes More Than Love"

WHO ARE CALIFORNIA'S WAITING CHILDREN?

California's waiting children have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • are members of a sibling group to be adopted by one family;

  • have a special ethnic background, race, color, or language;

  • have a mental, physical, medical or emotional disability;

  • are three years old or older; or

  • come from an adverse parental background (e.g., drug addiction, mental or physical illness).


WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY "IT TAKES MORE THAN LOVE"?

Adoptive parents must be prepared to provide more than love when it comes to parenting a waiting child. Families quickly learn that love alone is not enough to meet the challenges of adopting. To be successful, adoptive parents must be patient, tolerant, flexible, energetic, competent, responsible individuals with a good sense of humor. They must, in addition, either possess or be willing to develop special abilities.

This information is designed to help you decide if your family is ready to care for one of California's waiting children. You will find a description of the special abilities needed to become a successful adoptive parent. Read them carefully. You will probably discover that your family possesses some, but not all, of these abilities. That's where we come in. One of our social workers is ready to assist you and your family to develop these abilities and prepare for the placement of a waiting child.

SUCCESSFUL ADOPTIVE FAMILIES HAVE THE ABILITY TO:

MAKE A COMMITMENT
It is crucial that adoptive parents understand that adoption is a lifelong process. They must have a firm resolve to raise a child no matter how difficult things become. Children in adoptive homes will test this commitment over and over. To be successful, your commitment to the child must be unwavering.

HELP CHILDREN REBUILD THEIR SELF-ESTEEM AND CONFIDENCE
Children in adoptive homes often blame themselves for the separation from their biological parents. This can lead them to feel that they are bad, defective and unlovable. Adoptive families must be able to help these children overcome their feelings of low self-worth.

COMMUNICATE OPENLY
Waiting children often come from families where communication was confusing and distorted. Successful adoptive families express their feelings and thoughts openly and clearly, which helps their adoptive children do the same.

SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Successful adoptive parents are realistic about their child's strengths and limitations. By their example, they set reasonable expectations and are able to find happiness in, and acknowledge, small increments of improvement. This help build competence, pride and increased self-esteem.

ACCEPT THE CONCEPT OF "OTHER PARENT"
Adopted children often retain strong emotional attachments to their biological parents, former foster parents or other caretakers. Successful adoptive parents help their adoptive children grieve the loss of these significant people by encouraging them to express their feelings and memories about those who previously parented them.

OFFER STABILITY
Most children waiting for adoption have experienced chaos and trauma in their lives. Successful adoptive parents have found that a structured, stable, predictable and organized environment offers a sense of security and protection to the child.

ANTICIPATE THE EFFECTS OF A NEW MEMBER ON THE FAMILY
Most families have their own unique ways of functioning. When an adopted child joins with the family, the usual ways of functioning are changed for all family members. Adoptive families must be flexible and prepared to make difficult adjustments.

LEARN NEW PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS
Children waiting for adoption often force families to deal with situations they have never faced before. Successful adoptive families have a tolerence for conflict that is supported by their problem-solving skills. Conflicts and disappointments presented by the child are dealt with directly and at the time they occur. Rules are negotiable and enforced in a caring, consistent manner.

CONSIDER DISCIPLINE OTHER THAN THROUGH PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT
Children waiting for adoption often enter the child welfare system having experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse. For these children, physical discipline if often a replay of past abuse. Successful adoptive families learn and use methods of discipline that do not include physical punishment.

ACCEPT DIFFERENCES
Adoptive parents who expect a child to be just like them often have a difficult time parenting. Children waiting for adoption usually come from backgrounds that are very different than that of their adoptive family. The ability to accept differences and cherish a child as a unique individual is crucial.

USE COMMUNITY RESOURCES AND SUPPORT SYSTEMS
Adoptive families often need help and support from each other, an extended family, friends and professionals such as doctors and counselors. Successful adoptive families are not cut off from their community and have a strong support system that they can rely on.

How About It?

Do you and your family either possess these abilities or feel ready to develop them? If so, we would be delighted to meet with you.

Please call the San Bernardino County Adoption Service at:

(909) 891-3300 or 1-800-722-4477

or write to:

County Adoption Service
825 E. Hospitality Lane
San Bernardino, CA 92415








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