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!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Adopting as Seasoned Parents

I get the opportunity to field questions from all sorts of pre adoptive parents. I am so fortunate to be able to do this, I love it.  There are lots of happy and hard things to consider when you are starting out on the adoption adventure.  It is important to consider both, maybe because happy is so easy to consider, it is more important to consider the hard things.  This is important because we all want to have a success story and we can not have one without addressing the hard parts of our child's life and the hard parts of adoption. With transparency and open honesty comes healing and success. This is true for all of life. Here are some of my thoughts for those of you who are adopting as seasoned parents:

The Plus Side :
  • because you already have children you know what normal and abnormal child development looks like
  • This may help you pick up subtle cues of attachment issues and head them off right away. 
  • because you are a seasoned parent adding one more aspect, such as adoption parenting, may be no big deal.
  • many parents have learned to be flexible by this time.
  • you likely already know how to "read" a child for clues to how to best parent them.
  • you have a routine and can incorporate your new child into that existing model with some alterations
  • you may have more realistic expectations of children and family life
  • you have a community structure in place already, child care, medical care, maybe even adoption support or counseling. You at least know other families who you could ask.
  • you know this child will be different and can watch them for what sort of care they need. 
  • you may already have intentional parenting down, this fits right in. 

Things to think about:
  • Because you have other children in the home...............
you will not be able to devote all your energy to your newly adopted child (ren)
there will be division with siblings bio vs adopted (sometimes happens at various times)
you may be tempted to compare your new children with your bio children
you may be set in one mode of parenting and changing modes to include adoption parenting may be a bit stressful.
you can not form a home life structure that is tailor made to your adopted child's needs
  • intentionality--something many parents with a bio infant don't think of until later, and now you have to think about it. This could be good for your other children as well, if it has not been your habit. 
  • Parents often compare their children to when they were a child. While there seems to be a fondness in this it can actually hinder the individual development of the child as him or herself, especially an adopted child. 
  • There are times when parents wonder if they have just ruined their bio children's lives by this adoption even though this is usually a passing and unnecessary thought, it comes up along with the accompanying guilt. 
  • you are not able to be single focused on that new child and their attachment and development. It is more work, you have to deal with everyone else too. 
  • because of the business of a household you may not pick up on the subtle cues of attachment issues your child is displaying.
  • The reasons you adopted could play a factor in difficulty.
  • unrealistic expectations of family life and siblings cooperation and love
  • seasoned parents may be less flexible as they are already set in their parenting style and family structure. 
  • often there is one child in the family already who has significant needs and will continue to take a lot of time and energy.
  • Read all you can about adoption parenting The Connected Child and attachment/bonding. 
  • See if Love and Logic or Beyond Consequences could enhance your parenting style.
  • be sure you are in an adoption group with others who can help you out when it is hard and give you good resources.
  • share the joy of adoption with the children already in the home and prepare them for the hard things and lack of attention they will get for a few months. Plan for their activities to stay as normal as possible with the help of friends and family and for them to get attention from other safe and familiar friends and family.
  • Decide on some basics of intentionality if you do not already do that
  • know that you are a stranger to your new child and prepare nurturing activities to become fondly familiar. Grieve their loss and prepare to help them grieve.
  • Be comfortable with the possibility that your adopted child could need significantly different education, activities, etc. than your bio kids.
  • know signs of normal and abnormal behavior and signs of attachment and attachment issues. (I am talking about subtle cues and signs not the extreme ones, you get that in training).
  • If you are adopting an older child, get familiar with the issues that could entail.
  • plan to be home with your child as the main care giver for as close to a year as you can get.
  • Be able to make educational and social choices that will give your adopted child individuality and not compare them or put them in unnecessary competition with other siblings. Separate grades, sports, etc. if needed.
  • If you are adopting trans-racially, love may be color blind, but the world is not. Prepare for that, and prepare your family.

See post for Adopting as First Time Parents for the flip side of this post. :)

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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.
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