It is a story that moves us to tears. An American couple travels across the world to rescue a child from the hopelessness of a foreign orphanage, bringing their new son or daughter to a life of love and family. But does this transition always go smoothly?
Adoptive parents hope their child will easily fit into the family and quickly become emotionally connected to the parents or siblings. But child psychologists and adoption experts say this connection is the most difficult aspect of international adoption.
In countries where international adoptions are common-China, Russia, or Romania-orphanages commonly represent the available children to their new parents as healthy kids who just need a little love. In many cases, this is a gross misrepresentation. Children who spend time in institutionalized care may have experienced trauma, and therefore may not attach easily to their new family. Parents anxious to bring these children into their homes and their hearts struggle seriously with this issue. Although these children will eventually adapt in a healthy fashion, the road to emotional health and harmony can be a rocky one.
Becoming a Family tackles this intricate issue head on. It provides parents with effective strategies for ensuring that their adopted child adjusts as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Practical and accessible, this book will help parents identify severe problems before the adoption, significantly reduce the risk of future difficulty, improve the damage already done to the child's otherwise normal, healthy development, and dramatically help enfold the child into a family ready to give love, security, and a new life.
Lark Eshleman, Ph.D., is the founder and director of the Institute for Children and Families. A psychotherapist, Dr. Eshleman has trained orphanage workers in Croatia to work with children before they are adopted. A frequent speaker and writer on emotional trauma, she lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania.