International Adoption Info

Newsletter #102 for Internationally Adopting Parents
January 22, 2009
PAL Center Inc.

The right book at the right time

Patty Cogen

Disclaimer: No one of the 3 sponsors of this Newsletter has any financial interest in the promotion of the book "Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child" by P. Cogen. We do it strictly on the basis of its merit and with a deep belief that it may indeed help the adoption community at large.

From the editor

Q. Can the age of an internationally adopted child be changed after 10 years of being in the US? Reviewing video of our daughter made us think she was really not 4-1/2 when we adopted her, but more like 2-1/2 . The dentist reviewed her records and said her teeth would indicate she is a younger child. Also she is almost 15-1/2 and just started her menstrual cycle. Perhaps her "development delay" is because she is so much younger.

A. Your question is mostly legal, not a psychological one. In general, I can tell you that it is unusual to change the child’s legal age after ten years living in the family: typically it happens within the first year or two. Because it is a legal matter, the judge will ask for the other evidence as well: dentist’s testimony is needed, but may be not sufficient. There are other procedures , such as bone radiology exam, etc.

The nature of your daughter's developmental delay can be assessed only through a comprehensive psychological evaluation. Your case is a difficult one, but in many ways typical: the children with institutional background indeed have what is known as “mixed maturity” – different aspects of their personality may not be in accordance with their chronological age.

B. Gindis. Ph.D.

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International Adoption Articles Directory

New Articles

Slowing Down to Speed Up

Nicole Beurkens
Slowing Down to Speed Up
Think back to when you were a child, and summer vacation seemed to stretch on forever. Was that because our lives weren’t packed with things to do from the time we got up until the time we went to bed? Was it because we had the whole day just to play, have fun, and be creative? No schedules, no responsibilities, no worries all seem to have played a part in the “time” we then had...
When you find yourself thinking, “I can’t even sit and watch a 30 minute TV show without doing something else at the same time,” you need to stop and assess the pace of your life.
Mark Peterson
How can I talk to my child about alcohol?
Drug abuse used to be considered a moral failing, with addicts written off as willful and incorrigible. Today, teen drug abuse is more likely to be seen as a physiological disorder, a disease that can be treated and eventually conquered. Approaches to treatment for drug abuse vary, but people in treatment all learn how to change their behavior and reduce their cravings.

Internet Digest

Unknown author
A Dog's Purpose?
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up: ''I know why.''

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. He said: ''People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?'' The six-year-old continued, ''Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.''

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
  • Take naps.
  • Stretch before rising.
  • Run, romp, and play daily.
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
  • When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
  • Be loyal.
  • Never pretend to be something you're not.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
  • Enjoy every moment of every day!
From Shine Blog
Teaching internationally/interracially adopted children about their heritage
Many people have misunderstood me when I asked this in the past, so let me clarify --this is NOT about hiding your adopted child's background and trying to make him into a [insert whatever race you are] child. I get that you have to teach kids a little about where they came from so that they don't feel ashamed of it. I'm asking about parents who go in the other direction and insist on teaching even if the child is not interested.
From the message of an adoption agency representative
(Unfortunately we do not know who the author is and can't therefore give her/him a credit for these observations and the stamina to go on and help families find their children anyway).
  • If your website is too nice, you are spending too much of the clients' money on the website. If it is not nice enough, you are not professional.
  • If you answer emails or return phone calls too quickly, you are desperate for families, and that means you must have not enough families for a reason. If you don't answer quick enough, you are not a good agency.
  • If you do too many adoptions, you are child trafficking, if you don't do enough, you are not experienced.
  • If you are too sweet, you are insincere, if you are a bit short on the phone, you are mean and threatening.
  • If you have too many programs, you are just jumping from one hot spot to another, if you have too few, you are too much of a risk for families.

People can say anything they want about you in the internet but you cannot say anything about what the families have done due to confidentiality.


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