Saturday, March 17, 2012

On the Couch and a Great Book

I was finally ON THE COUCH! Today I spoke at my adoption agency in the class called Adopting an Older Child, and I was not a member of the class, sitting on a hard wooden chair, but a member of the PARENT panel, parents who come, with their kids, and speak about our experiences. It's been five years and 3 months since my official journey began (starting with my first agency appointment, not counting the 10 months leading up to that point). This was a milestone for me that I've been looking forward to since the beginning.

My daughter and the two boys of the other mom who was also on the couch with me, behaved exceptionally well. One future mom commented on this, saying how she can't stand to be around most kids because they cry and whine and interrupt. The class facilitator said that what they are seeing is an example of securely attached kids and further explained that the parenting most kids get today is not conducive to secure, happy children. Kids are born with medical interventions that disrupt the normal gentle beginnings of bonding, they are then rushed off to daycare, herded through the day with dozens of other kids, rushed home, fed non-nutritous food, often in front of the TV, then left alone to whine and nag until they finally go to sleep at night, often way too late than is good, all while the parents react instead of act. Of course they are going to clamour for their parents' attention the minute the parents sit down because it's the only time they get with them.

I've just started reading a great book that is highly praised among families who have adopted older children. It's called "Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers" and it has a very good explanation of what happened in the last 50 years to the American family and childrearing culture. So far, I agree with everything I've read, especially after observing it first-hand as a childcare provider and being a childcare provider I can observe the changes in the children and know the limits of what I can provide for the children in my position of caregiver. I highly recommend this book!


Karen said...

We also did a panel with the agency, back when our daughter was home for about 1 year. It was us and a single parent of a boy from Guatemala. Our daughter was also very well behaved, but even though I'd like to think it was our attachment and parenting skills, our daughter has always been more cautious in new surroundings, and I think a lot of children who start off in orphanages probably are that way. I don't necessarily agree with the facilitator that most kids today do not get parenting conducive to raising happy, secure children. I think that does happen, and I've seen it happen. But I don't think that it's the majority. I do, however, think that adults who make a conscience decision to adopt, and wait a long time CAN be more attentive to their children because they cherish the moments of being a parent, whereas, sometimes when someone just becomes pregnant, they might not expect it or be prepared for it as often.
However, that coin has two sides. I think some PAPs have unrealistic expectations. In reading your post, I'm a bit concerned about the PAP who said, she "can't stand to be around most kids because they cry and whine and interrupt". WOW. That woman, IMHO has a rude awakening. And I would be much more concerned about that person's parenting skills and expectations than the parent who works full time and grows impatient with her child's desire for attention.
It's the parent who has unrealistic expectations of their child who usually snaps. This is where the facilitator should have intervened and said that most kids WILL whine and interrupt, and when you are working 40 plus hours a day, and sleep deprived, you'd better be prepared to find your place of zen. We need facilitators who prepare PAPs for the reality of parenthood, and unfortunately, I don't think enough agencies do that, and that is what gets APs having post adoption depression and possibly worse!

Diane said...

Hi K. Thank you for your comment on my blog. Our daughter is in Guangdong province in Zhongshan Orphanage. We, too, will stay on the island in Guangzhou. I believe we will be there early September as well.

We are praying about another one. We would love to adopt two children at the same time and are praying about the money. That really is the only thing that would hold us back. who is the one you're leaving behind? Where can I see her picture?

It's wonderful to meet you! :)

Catherine said...

Who is the author of the book?

K said...

The authors of the book are Gordon Neufeld, PhD, and Gabor Mate, MD. One originally went to the other for help with his child. The entire title is Hold On To Your Kids Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers.

Cassandra said...

I loved reading "Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers." One of your commentors mentioned PAPs having a long wait which results in a parent who is more attentive to their child. I hope that will be my experience. We've been working on the adoption process for just over two years and I have been reading and preparing this whole time. I'll admit to not understanding how parents can send their children off to school all day long, finally have them home on a break from school, and then state that they are SO happy that their children are going back to school! We've been working so hard to get our daughter home that I have a hard time imagining being happy to send her away from us.