- Every Waiting Child's Dream
"It Takes More Than Love"
WHO ARE CALIFORNIA'S WAITING
California's waiting children have one or more of the
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
are three years old or older; or
come from an adverse parental
background (e.g., drug addiction, mental or physical
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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