It is so important to be focused on what your child thinks and feels. Although we will never fully comprehend what our child is feeling unless we were adopted ourselves, we can still pay attention to the signs of sadness and frustration. Even when a child is adopted at birth, they immediately grieve. I know, I know. A baby? Grieving? But they won't remember! All they want is food! Quite the contrary. They won't be able to recall what happened that day, what their birthmom looked or sounded like, or how things played out, but infants can and will grieve. For 9 months they have been in a womb. They have heard their mother's voice. Felt her emotions. And now, all the sudden, she is nowhere around. Sherrie talks about how when she first was separated from her mother and brought home to her adoptive family, they couldn't get her to take a bottle. She just didn't want to eat. They couldn't find anything wrong with her, though. That's because she was grieving.
Not all infants will grieve outwardly the way she did, but they will grieve. There are some really good pointers in this chapter on understanding your child, but I'll just give you the ones that really struck me.
- Initiate Conversation with your child!
- Create a safe, nonjudgemental environment where your child can freely express his feelings and thoughts about his adoption and his birth family.
- Talk about your child's adoption from day one.
Now for the things your child wants you to know....