The key to understanding and successfully parenting an abandoned baby/child is educating yourself of what your baby/child has learned.
Adopting is an overwhelming, joyous and life changing experience; however adopting an abandoned child that deserves a second chance will be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. However, doing so should not be taken lightly and deserves education, awareness and understanding.
A typical abandoned child has been placed on a doorstep; side of road or left in a public building. Luckily, the baby/child survives and they are moved into a life of institutionalism until they are permanently adopted.
As you make this decision, what can you do to prepare yourself for this imminent arrival? Better yet, are you equipped to raise a child ridden with institutionalism and attachment disorders? Can you be honest within yourself to realize it is too foreign to understand and that you should not adopt an abandoned baby? These children that have not been equipped with a "normal" start in life with their maternal bond in tact do not come unscathed.
The agencies gloss over the details (which are usually limited in an abandoned baby case), and as they paint a life of roses and optimism (and ask for their fees), they promote the physical attributes of the child. However, what about the emotional attributes of the child? They have educated you on the effects of adoption; however abandonment is a completely different and separate trauma.
Vital questions to ask yourself before you consider adopting an abandoned baby/child:
1. How would I feel if my biological mother/father abandoned me on a doorstep?
2. How would I feel if I laid alone in an unfamiliar orphanage with no bonding for the first 4,5,6, 12 months of my life?
3. What would I have learned by these traumatic experiences? How would this trauma shape and forever change my personality?
4. Did the child suffer from malnutrition; abuse; severe neglect? How would I feel and react?
5. How would I feel once I taught myself to cope within the orphanage and then I was uprooted by strangers adopting me into their home?
6. How would I feel if these strangers expected me to act perfect, bond and seamlessly become a permanent family member?
7. Do I have knowledge of the effects of institutionalism?
8. Do I have knowledge of attachment disorders?
9. Am I familiar with adoption?
10. Am I aware of the complexity of the issues that will arise?
11. Do I have a support system? (Other parents who have adopted an abandoned child).
12. Am I able to communicate honestly and positively with my child when they ask questions about their abandonment?
13. Can I support my child in their need to search for their biological roots?
14. Can I accept that since my child has no history they may have health issues arrise?
15. Can I accept that my child may have developmental delays?
These questions may seem daunting and foreign; however adopting an abandoned child with little or no tools will prove even more daunting and foreign. The key to understanding your abandoned child/baby is analyzing what they have learned following their abandonment.
Although todays orphanages do their best to create a positive experience for the baby/child, it is still agreed that an orphanage is not an appropriate and healthy place for any person to begin their life. In those closed walls, lets examine what the baby/child learns. As the baby/child lays in the orphanage, perhaps not having every cry and need met, they internalize rage. They cry at first and develop strong coping skills and learn they can not rely upon their caregivers. Within time, their coping skills round their personalities - they are in survival mode. What is survival mode? Well, this is something many parents of abandoned parents
Reach out to other adoptive parents of abandoned children and get their advice. Additionally, reach out to abandoned adults and learn from them. www.keallfoundation.com
Since abandonment is rare, adoption agencies are not equipped enough to provide you with tools. This opportunity of self exploration will serve you well and will provide you a chance to learn, grow and make the wisest decision yet.
Janet Keall was abandoned shortly after birth on a doorstep in 1977 and is now the President and Founder of The Keall Foundation. http://www.keallfoundation.com
The Keall Foundation is dedicated to enriching the lives of abandoned individuals worldwide. Janet Keall, founder and president of the Keall Foundation, created the Foundation in 2005 in support of the vision that every abandoned individual and adoptive parent deserves a platform of communication to enrich their lives, heal their wounds and create awareness through the connection with other abandoned individuals and adoptive parents. The Keall Foundation focuses on increasing awareness, researching statistics and individual outcomes while supporting the online community to connect, support and heal the abandoned.
You may contact Janet directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org