How to Use This Blog

A Wayfarer is a person who is traveling, a particular place, a circumstance, a stage of life, etc. Let's walk the road of adoption together. The journey is so much better with company!
Much of this information is useful for any adoption, but this blog is designed to be a
I hope this blog will be helpful to you in your adoption whether you are considering, waiting or home. I started this blog when we were adopting and found there was next to nothing on the web in any orderly manner. I set about to collect information for myself and then for others. Now, there are more sites for resources, but still not much that brings it all together. I hope this blog will serve as a sort of clearing house for Ethiopian Adoption Information. Please feel free to contribute your knowledge through commenting.
You can search by topic in three ways. 1. Go to the "key word" tabs on top and open pages of links in those topics. 2. Use the "labels list" in the side bar or 3. use the "search bar" above the labels list. You can also browse the blog by month and year in the Posts section or in any of the above as well. The sidebar links are to sites outside of this blog. While I feel they provide good information, I can not vouch for each site with an approval rating. Use your own discernment for each. If you have more to add to the topic, please add it in the comment section of that page or post.
And, please link to The Wayfarer Adoption Blog by putting my button on
your blog so others can use this resource too. Please link to this blog when ever you can and whenever you re-post things (or images) you have found here. Thanks!
The solid tabs are links to my other blogs for books and family. Check them out if you are interested.
Welcome to the journey!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

In response to the fear of adopting the older child --- what if's?

In response to the recent news flashes on Russian adoption..............
> I just want to say a few things from experience, research and experience of
friends and family. Please understand that I am not meaning to be graphic here,
but without understanding and education and tools for intervention - any of us
could become a statistic as well. I would not like to see that happen, so in the
effort to keep it realistic I am giving you some of my thoughts and findings on this.

1. First I want you all to know that I DO NOT FEEL THAT THERE IS ANY REASON TO FEAR adopting an older child. No, fear is not a good response. Understanding and education YES.

2. Yes, Eastern European children in institutions do tend to have more severe
issues, including RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder). Children from these institutions are often lacking stimulation and touch. This is a problem for development and attachment. There are many other factors.

3. We know that the situations and environment in Ethiopia are not the same as in Eastern Europe. Even China is different. I bet Vietnam and Guatemala are different too. But different does not mean that Ethiopia (or anywhere) is immune from similar issues, including RAD. Children are held in Ethiopia and experience a rich palette of sensory stimulation, sensory issues do not seem to be as prevalent. They hear talking and are spoken to, delays here are not as prevalent. Children generally have a high value placed on them. The family structure is important. That does not mean that they are treated with the respect and love we would associate with that value here. It is not western, first world standards, it is southern hemisphere, third world standards. It is just different. Keep in mind the effort to just survive let alone thrive.

4. Physical and sexual abuse is certainly found in Ethiopia for both boys and girls. Sexual
activity with peers happens, as well as abusively with non peers. You might not hear about this, but it is part of the culture. That does not mean every child experiences this, it does not mean yours has or will. It just means, be aware that it is out there in case your child has been effected by this. Educate yourself to deal with it for your sake and theirs.

5.  I KNOW that the issues we face adopting from Ethiopia are different than those adopting from Eastern Europe and even China, etc..... But, we are not without our potential problems. RAD comes to us from every continent. Abuse (even once, even a little) changes everything for a child's trust. Things may arise after time, things you never knew, things that are sad or horrific. Sometimes they don't remember them, but they act on them. Not that they are going to hurt anyone (sometimes it does happens) but they are hurting inside. Most of the time we never know what our child has seen or experienced in life before they come to us.

6. You as a parent are doing the best job you can when you learn all you can
and expect that you will have a child who has experienced some level of trauma
and you learn how to walk with them through it to healing. If you learn about
it, you can spot it, deal with it and help your child be an over-comer and not
succumb to RAD or other attachment issues or behaviors. It does not have to ruin
your life -or theirs, but it will change you forever as it will your child and the rest of your household. Saying "this won't happen to me" is not going to help you or your child. Maybe you won't experience this, but it is better to plan like you will and have the resources and not need them, than to not plan and be caught empty handed with a serious need. Parenting this child is different than parenting a biological child. There are ample resources to learn from. Take advantage of them.

7. There are great resources out there. Read all you can. Get familiar with a variety of books and therapy options. Get your plan of attachment action in place before you go. Get your back-up in place. Get your network in place. No matter what level of trauma your child comes to you with you are going to need a plan to succeed. And succeed you can!

8. If you are of a mind to read more articles on abuse, Try some of these:\

9. If you want to learn about attachment:
look it up on Amazon here
Older child adoption
posts on attachment
book list
google it

More than anything be encouraged, be empowered, do not despair or worry.

If you share my faith you can be reassured that if God is calling you do this, he has made a way. He will give you the strength to do any hard thing he is setting before you and you will be changed and he will be glorified. Not, that it will be easy or without pain or hardship, but he can take you through it and he can heal your child. It is called a faith-walk of trust. Go forth without fear.

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The content on The Wayfarer:Ethiopian Adoption Resource Blog is for informational purposes only. We are adoptive parents, but we are not professionals. The opinions and suggestions expressed here are not intended to replace professional evaluation or therapy, or to supersede your agency. We assume no responsibility in the decisions that families make for their children and families. There are many links on this blog. We believe these other sites have valuable information, but we do not necessarily share all of the opinions or positions represented by each site, nor have we fully researched every aspect of each link. Please keep this in mind when visiting the links from this page.
Thank You.

A Links Disclaimer

I post a lot of links. I do so because I feel that the particular page has good information and much to offer. I do not necessarily support all that each site has to say or promote. I trust you to sift the links for information you feel is worthwhile to you. Each person's story and situation are unique and different things will be useful or not useful to each one in different ways. Please use your own discretion when accessing links and information.