One of the challenges of adopting a toddler or older child from foster care or international adoption is that you are actually adopting and ultimately parenting many different kids at different developmental levels all in the same child. Your four year old may be three in her physical development, two in her cognitive development, and nine months in her emotional development. Our challenge as an adoptive parent is to meet all these developmental need. Whew, talk about a parental balancing act.
We talked about how to strike this balance and help our children heal from past abuse and neglect on yesterday’s Creating a Family show in our interview with Dr. Bruce Perry, child psychiatrist, founder of Child Trauma Academy, and author of The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog. Dr. Perry is a leading expert on how trauma affects children and has been consulted on how to help children involved with the following high profile incidents involving traumatized children: the Branch Davidian siege in Waco (1993), the Columbine school shootings (1999), the September 11th terrorist attacks (2001), the earthquake in Haiti (2010), the tsunami in Tohoku Japan (2011) and the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings (2012).
Dr. Perry says the key is to help our child feel accepted and safe with us. He gives specific examples of how parents can build a safe and loving relationship with all the children within our child.
Did you find that your child was on significantly different levels of physical, cognitive, and social development? At what age was she adopted?