The day some parents receive the news that they will have an assignment, that they have been chosen to adopt a child, they will be nervous. They may have been told their age, whether it is a boy or a girl, but nothing more. In the following days there will be an official meeting where they will be presented with the information about their new son or daughter and they will receive a lot of information, which will be coupled with a plethora of official language and reports. Little by little they will process the information, get excited, worry, rejoice and also despair.
What role does the pediatrician play in the adoption process?
With this mixture of feelings, emotions and expectation, the parents will arrive at the pediatric specialist’s office, almost looking for permission to say yes to this child that they already feel is partly theirs. However, the role of the specialist is to remind them that it is not yet.
In the same way, even if the parents seek to be told that everything is fine, it is not and never will be. The wound or life history will show its face throughout the child’s life, more or less subtly, perhaps in the form of small personality traits.
During the visit with the pediatrician, medical issues will be discussed, what is known about the child: how the neglect he or she has suffered and the fact of living in an institution, for example, have impaired his or her neurodevelopment, his or her body.
However, we will also talk about the strengths, the extra effort that raising this child will mean for the parents. This makes it necessary to also talk about the parents, or the parent, individually: about how they have arrived at that moment, about the struggle, the waiting, the illusion and, if appropriate, about what could not be.
Importance of the pre-adoptive process
All of this is considered a pre-adoptive process, rather than a pre-adoptive visit. This first visit will normally lead to others to assess new information but, above all, to accompany.
The most normal thing is that in this process everything goes well and the parents can go to meet and look for their son or daughter, in cases of international adoption, or receive him or her, in cases of national adoption. But there are times when this is not the case. Sometimes the parents simply do not see each other; they want to but do not see each other. Or new information appears and the specialist again explains what effort it may involve, at the couple’s level, and it is seen that they do not. This is a very tough situation that can arise and where it is important to be honest with yourself and your partner.
Adopting is not easy. It is a precious adventure, and for the children to be able to have a family is a right, a necessity. But if you are not prepared, perhaps you are not the father or mother that the child needs at that moment.
All this will be discussed in the pre-adoptive process. Months later, when you accept the assignment, you will get into the subject: bottles, baby food, bedtime routines, first aid, etc. Everything that can help and authorize them as parents of a child who has already been in this world for some time. Prepares the trip or welcome, in case of domestic adoption, of everything that will make the adaptation time more enjoyable.