Over the past year, I have read several books and articles on raising adopted children. I have researched the topic extensively for the purpose of transitioning our two new children into our family.
After all of this research, I decided I needed a summary of everything I read. I went back through my research and took a lot of notes and then organized the notes into one complete summary. The summary is 34 pages long. It covers many areas associated with bringing your child home, such as what behaviors to expect and how best to approach these behaviors. It also covers some concerns that you may have down the road. I have broken all of the information down into small sections that are easy to read and refer to at any time. If need be, I can go back to my books to obtain more detailed information on any given area. I want to share my summary with other adopted families. Periodically, I will post a section of my summary on this blog.
Keep in mind that this information may not be applicable to all adoptive families and most of it pertains to children adopted from orphanages.
My first post is a description of what is meant by "Family Age". Family Age is the length of time
your child has been a member of your family. The concept of family age suggests you select parenting strategies that match your child's behavior based on her "family age" rather than her chronological age. So your child may have came home when she was 4 years old. She is now 6 years old and you are experiencing some new issues in her behavior. You should base your parenting of the new behaviors on her family age of 2 years rather than her actual age of 6 years. The reasoning behind this view is simple. Life in an orphanage is nothing like life in a family. Your child did not know or understand what happens in a family when she arrived home. She had no family skills and is still learning family skills. She has only experienced family life for two years, not 6 years. A child that has been a part of your family for 6 years has had time to develop far more family skills than a child that has only been in your family for two years, especially if she has lived in an orphanage.
If your child has some behaviors that appear to be typical of a much younger child, keep in mind your child's family age. Structure your parenting strategies to suit her family age. Both you and your child will benefit greatly from implementing this one concept.