If you are involved in a
kinship adoption, you already have a few benefits that will help the adoption be a success.
In the majority of kinship adoptions, there is an emotional bond already
in place. There is probably already a foundation of trust in place and
you probably already “know” the child you are adopting. At
least portions of their life will stay familiar and the adjustment period
should be a little bit smoother for everyone involved. But there will
still be challenges. If you want to be the best adoptive parent you can
be, consider these suggestions.
Being a good adoptive parent (kinship or not) requires the development
of certain skills.
Know Your Family: Each individual and family unit has its own strengths
and its own needs. Know the strengths so you can build on them. Know the
needs of the family unit as a whole. One negative opinion on kinship adoption
can have an effect, so make sure to address the need to generate a complete
understanding of the situation early.
Practice Effective Communication: Use the communication skills that you
have and continuously develop additional communication skills to assist
you as you set out on a kinship adoption. One extremely helpful communication
skill that all adoptive parents (and parents in general) should attempt
to develop a talent for is active listening. Also strive to provide clear
messages, and use an appropriate tone of voice. Many adopted children
enter the adopted family with a low self esteem – they may feel
that their thoughts and feelings are less important and possibly unworthy
of being heard by those around them. This makes it even more vital that
adoptive parents learn to listen actively.
Know the Child/Children: Know the adopted child’s strengths. Know
their history: potential abuse, neglect, abandonment, etc. If you allow
yourself to know (and acknowledge) the child’s history, you’ll
be able to identify their strengths and any particular needs they may
have that you can provide for as their adoptive parent. It is also the
first step in identifying when there are needs that require more assistance
than you alone can provide. Always seek outside help, support, and/or
professional help when necessary. Doing so does not cast you, your child
or your family in a negative light; it actually just shows that you are
being a good parent.
Build on Strengths While Meeting Needs: Adopted children are each unique.
Once you have recognized their strengths, build on them. This will allow
you to meet their needs without accentuating the negative. Be vocal about
their strengths and mention them regularly. This will help them to build
up a positive image that will actually make it more likely that they will
turn to you when they need help.
Kinship adoption has many benefits, but the beneficial nature of this adoption
process does not negate all challenges. There will still be rough days.
There will still be moments when parenting seems overwhelming and impossibly
complicated. During these times, it is important to remember that all
children are unique and all parents are constantly learning and adjusting
to accommodate the specific children they have been blessed with. Give
yourself the opportunity to figure out the best responses, the best methods,
the best activities, etc.
If you are interested in hearing more about the kinship adoption process,
we would love to talk to you. Please get in touch with one of the experienced
Arizona Family Law Attorneys.