Reimagining Adoption

Nov 18 - You got mail: Next steps on getting your referral

Category: Submission by a parent, Chennai

Your waitlist has shrunk below 30 and you could receive a referral any time. Your excitement is growing, your patience running thin and with each passing day there are butterflies in your stomach! And bingo! You indeed get that magical mail from CARA referring you a child. These are the Top 10 things for you to consider upon getting your referral:

  1. Browse through the child profile and the Health Record of the child referred. Unless there is something glaring that catches your attention, ACCEPT the referral before it goes away, as you have only 48 hours to resreve the child. You may still have second thoughts. You may still need more informaiton. But take the first step.

  2. Having accepted the referral, carefully go through the Medical examination Report (MER) of the child. Jot down the additional details required. Do not seek unsolicited opinion from very many people. It is likely to confuse and you. Only reach out to CARA, professional counsellors or the Adoption Agency. Call up the Adoption Agency involved, immediately fix up your appointment to visit them and apprise them of any additional informaition that you may require in completing the process.

  3. Refer the medical report only to select few and trusted medical practitioners, even within the family. The health of the child may not be comparable to that of a child born within a fmaily. And this is where even family doctors are likely to go wrong. They may advise whole lot of medication or tests to ascertain the health of the child, who may otherwise be prefcetly healthy. Most children in institutions could lack in nutrition, development milestone or even their apperance. Their heath picks up dramatically upon getting home environment. Only highlight areas of real concern, like a missing HIV test, unsigned report etc to relevant stakeholders

  4. As per procedure, you need to complete Foster Care formaities within 20 days of accepting the profile. Do not wait till last minute. Paperwork in certain agencies can take long. Plan for the full 20 day period with the agency, including travel time. Take only limited and bare essential family members with you to the agency. In case the Adoption Agency is not responding to your messages, please keep CARA informed at all times, so that they are in the know of things and can guide you appropriately.

  5. Do not get concerned if you feel the child looks different from the photo uploaded in the profile. Looks of very young children change even a few weeks apart, plus it is extremely difficult to photograph infants and young children. Most children pick up on health and mannerism soon as they are home. Visit the Agency with minimum pre conceived expectations, and keep an open mind in connecting with the child.

  6. Limit yourself to only those medical tests that were mandated but not conducted by Agency, or where the results are ambiguous. Exposing the child to repeated tests can actually affect her health drastically and traumatise a young child.

  7. In the event you observe any abnormality or unexpected bahaviour either of agency staff, the child or surroundings, bring it to immediate notice to the management and CARA. Your prompt action can safeguard your seniority, in case there was a real issue that the agency should be owning up.

  8. Keep your family informed on the progress, as you get closer to bringing your child home. Your family is a huge support system and quite often not initiated into the adoption process. They may also learn about the process through you.

  9. Set aside quality time to bond with the child, especially if the child is over 2 years or more. Take some time off from work and usual routine, even if you do not get adoption leave. These are very critical days, and your presence with the child will help her gain trust with you and develop mutual understanding.

  10. Chances are many of your neighbours, kith and kin or colleagues may not have a previous experience with adoption. Do not shy before them in sharing your story about adoption. Sensitize them to Positive Adoption Language. Your comfort and honesty in dealing with adoption in front of family, friends, acquaintances and peers will go a long way in assimilating the experience of adoption, and the self confidence of your child.

Observe your child closely for first six months and seek counselling, therapy or medical intervention if you notice any unusual behaviour. Join an adoption support group to assure you of your responses. Go slow on your expectation with regard to academics and social performance. Allow the child to settle down, develop own personality and blossom with inherent potential. tell your child about his/her adoption commemorating the day he/she came home, their initial habits, likes / dislikes and make a scrap book for them to cherish later in life. Read lot of story books with your child, including those on adoption. Develop a healthy perception of adoption, even before you share the fact of adoption with your child. It ensures that as and when the child gets to know of her adoption, she relates to it with an open and positive mindset. One final tip - do not readily link any deviations imemdiately with adoption. Parenting comes with a lot of uncertainties. Love and Trust will see through most situations - for the rest, seek information and professional advice.

Back to Unmasking Adoption