Adopting a child will be one of the most fulfilling moments of your life. You know that you want to give him or her the best life possible, but adoption also comes with specific challenges. Many children experienced traumatic loss or separation before adoption.
The Child Welfare Information Gateway explains that parents need to provide a safe space for children.
Symptoms of grief
Children who suffered traumatic pasts may experience their grief in a variety of ways. How your child acts depends on his or her specific situation, age and stage of development. Children may express anxiety, guilt or depression. Others may act out and negatively affect their relationships with others.
Work through grief
The North American Council on Adoptable Children created a model to help work through negative emotions like grief. The 3-5-7 Model has three core components:
- Three tasks
- Five questions
- Seven skills
The three tasks include understanding their lives and reconciling losses, rebuilding relationships and understanding they can have more than one family and visualizing a permanent family.
Next, children need to answer five questions for themselves. The questions are:
- What happened to me?
- Who am I?
- Where am I going?
- How will I get there?
- When will I know I belong?
The skills refer to what parents and caregivers should learn. You should learn how to engage, listen, recognize behaviors that indicate grief, respond to those behaviors, and create opportunities to show yourself as safe and understand that the one who experienced the loss has to do the grief work.
As the adopted parent, you provide your child with a safe, understanding home. You need to meet your child where he or she comes from when grieving.