Newsletter #10 for Internationally Adopting Parents
March 19, 2006
PAL Center Inc.

In this issue

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need to address.
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My daughter is post-institutionally adopted from Russia. She has been home for 4 years and is currently in kindergarten. Her behavior mirrors some of the same traits as that of ADD. Is a diagnosis of ADD therefore incorrect? Shouldn't she be diagnosed as Post-Institutional Behavior? Either way, would the same academic modifications be the best way to help her in school?

A. Given the age of adoption of your child (about 2 years old?), it's very unlikely that your daughter was able to acquire at that age any patterns of institutional behavior and retain them during the next 4 years in her American family. It's more likely, that her diagnosis of ADD is the real problem. Though ADD and post-institutional behavior, as you correctly pointed out, have similar presentation, they are very different internally. It's important to understand that the second one (post-institutional behavior) is not a medical condition, it's rather an acquired and reinforced by the institutional circumstances pattern of behavior, which was useful as a survival skill. Normally, in a healthy child these skills, even if they indeed were noted in the child on arrival, should diminish and disappear and new, more adequate for the family life skills be learned over the time.
B. Gindis, Ph.D.

You receive this newsletter as a former client of the Center for Cognitive-Developmental Assessment & Remediation, or a former student of the Bgcenter Online School, or a user of the International Adoption Articles Directory.


Latest Articles
from the

International Adoption Articles

Kelly Nault
What to do when kids go off their meds: brain-based learning strategies for ADD/ADHD

Brain-based learning strategies for helping hyperactive kids. Teacher resources and parenting tips to help control ADD when kids stop taking stimulant drugs. A likely scenario given the recent publicity about heart-related problems linked to Ritalin.


From the editor:
"Must have" qualities for parents
adopting children internationally

In the March 12, 2006 issue of our Newsletter we asked you, our readers - experienced internationally adopting parents and professionals, to give us your opinion on what are the "must have" qualities, essential for those who think about adopting internationally, especially when considering older institutionalized children.

Now we want to thank all the participants for the passionate, sincere and detailed answers we received: once again we were amazed with the energy and dedication to your children poring through your messages. Thank you all for being there and doing what you do for the children.

Not surprisingly, the "must have" characteristics described by you reflect the personality of those, who succeeded in international adoption and have one underlying quality: these parents are 'driven by what is better for their children' and want 'to be part of the "solution" and do something for the greater good.'

Here is a short list compiled from your messages: "must have" qualities for the aspiring adoptive parents.

Preparedness: Clear understanding of what you are getting into and why you are adopting.

Commitment to the child: You have to be willing and capable of loving a needy and difficult child unconditionally. You have to be willing to let go of the day before and open your heart again the next day and reach out to your child. You also have to be able to love without fully liking your child. Meaning, you need to show love and compassion, even though you don't like your child's behaviors.

Patience: You must prepare emotionally for the fact that your adopted child will take longer to express/display affection to the parents, much longer that one hopes/fantasizes. You need to understand that your child will do very well and then regress, and it is not all black and white. Nothing is fully spelled out for you.

Ability to create a support system: You must have some support people whom you can contact to talk about frustrations and fears. In the beginning stages of getting the child settled in the US it's very easy to the parents to feel they have made a mistake -- or this child is not for them.

Perseverance: You need to have faith, passion and determination to succeed (stubbornness) and belief that you will (optimism).

Advocacy: Unwillingness to settle for basic answers, investigatory skills to ferret out non-traditional solutions to complex problems (thinking "out of the box"). Do research, have independent evaluations done, and then insist that your child get what he/she needs.

The want and will to parent: Some single mothers look into adoption as a way to fill a void in their lives and they treat their newly adopted child (usually a daughter) as a companion. They tend to treat the child as their equal, their sidekick, rather than their child. This can be detrimental to the one who has not experienced a true parental bond or does not understand parental authority. You need to develop a parent/child relationship with this child.

Stamina: You can't be a very laid back parent, who discovers undesirable behavioral characteristics in the child, but doesn't address them. Such parents accept that the child has undesirable behaviors, but aren't willing to do what it takes in the home to address them. It is the parents' job to help the children overcome their issues and to develop their child's character so they feel their child will be able to function in the society of their family first and then in public society. Many parents complain about the child's issues, go to weekly therapy sessions, etc...but all the therapy in the world will not change the child's behaviors unless the parents do something to make consistent changes in the child's home and environment.

Self respect: The understanding that what we can do and are doing is amazing no matter how inadequate or frustrated we feel at the moment.

Sense of humor and a little money don't hurt.


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