Adoption can be one of the most beautiful acts of kindness one human being can do for another. The adoptive parent / child relationship can become seamless. However, it can also be a tragedy. For an adoptive parent who is not prepared, it can be a nightmare, and even more tragic for the child. It is astonishing how many adoptive parents really believe that love is all it takes, and will even vocalize this to others. It takes more than love with a biological child, so why would it be any different for an adopted child?
There are so many variables for creating a connected family. Adoption professionals do home studies including interviews, evaluate the parents, evaluate the biological children, conduct parent training, yet parents and children still struggle to connect. Factors like prenatal care, genetics, childhood trauma, loss and resiliency affect the child. For adoptive parents it may be loss, their own childhood experience, and the lack of being open to the special needs of a child. As biological children are different, adopted children are just as different. To one adoptee, adoption is another day in the park, for others it is a constant reminder of the loss of their biological family.
The key to being prepared is to have the best resources available. In my opinion, the most effective program that has been created is Trust Based Relational Intervention. When I began researching this program, one important factor was immediately obvious. TBRI is child centered. Understanding, accepting, and meeting the needs of the child are tantamount to creating a healthy family. The need to become a parent, or to bless the life of an orphan is important, however the priority should be to meet the needs of the child first.
TBRI was created by Drs. Karyn Purvis and David Cross from Texas Christian University. It is researched based, compassionate, and empowering. As an older child adoptee (one year or older at the time of adoption), if my parents used the philosophies and strategies of TBRI, it would have changed my life! They did the best they could with the information (or lack of information) they had, but that is why I am such an advocate for TBRI. There would not be so many angry adoptees (yes, there are thousands) if TBRI had been available earlier. However, that is why I am a champion for it today!