At the nub of such concerns is the reality that the nurturing role of an adoptive parent is tough. You are parenting in the present, and that means making sense of the past. If corruption exists in your child’s birth country or may have played a role in your son's adoption, it is your job to give him a truthful account of his past. Otherwise, the child will certainly find out another way, from his peers, other kids' parents, newspaper headlines that scream "Baby Buying" and "Money-Driven Adoption," Facebook, or YouTube. A child who knows the basics about adoption and trafficking, and his own journey to his family, is empowered by knowing. He is in charge of his story.Lots more good info in the article -- I've just given you a few points here -- so be sure to read the whole thing. You might also be interested in these resources at EMK Press: Telling About Trafficking, also by Macrae, and the Impact of Illegal Adoption on One Family by Julia Rollings.
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If facts are not known, parents can offer "what-ifs," possibilities involving the child's pre-adoption history. These aren’t fictional stories, but reasonable possibilities that may have affected our children, given what we know and can deduce about their circumstances from reading, researching, and the news. Describe the situation in the child's birth country, even if it involves closure, a slowdown, or trafficking. Discussions won't be fruitful until the child is about five years old, but it's good practice to start telling the story earlier, in an age-appropriate way. Here's how to open the dialogue:
1. Tune in together…and then discuss. You might watch kids' news programs on television with a younger child. Read and comment on newspapers with an older child. Current affairs shows can spark discussion. Go lightly. You might talk about how trafficked babies might feel, or what it feels like to work in bad factory conditions or have to work as a street beggar as a child.
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2. After talking or watching a TV program together, always "return" to the security of your home and family. End discussions with hugs, and be prepared for emotions as your child processes what she is learning. Kids around this time might like to see copies of their adoption paperwork or citizenship papers. These things reassure them that their adoption is secure.
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6. Listen to what your child says in response to your discussion-starters; her thoughts matter. Provide extra support if you know there are comments in local newspapers about intercountry adoption and "babies for sale." She may take it to heart, and need extra help.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Talking to Kids About Adoption Trafficking
Great and timely article at Adoptive Families mag by Sheena Macrae, whom you may know from EMK Press' Adoption Parenting, covering reasons to tell and tools for telling: