Outlasting The “Honeymoon Period” When Adopting An Older Child

Anyone who has taken the required training, when pursuing the adoption of an older child, will tell you that they heard a lot of references to the “honeymoon period” during their training.  So what is this honeymoon period anyway?  How long does it last, and what happens when it is over?

As most of you know, older children who are adopted either from U.S. foster care or from an overseas orphanage were in those settings after experiencing severe trauma in the form of physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or significant neglect, as well as multiple losses in their young lives.  As a result, these children learned from those experiences that adults do not keep them safe, and that they really can’t rely on anyone but themselves to meet their needs.  When these children are placed with a family for adoption, based on their life experiences, they do not have any reason to think that these new parents will be any different from every other adult who has been in their lives up to that point.  Therefore, when they first meet, visit with, and are initially placed with their new adoptive family they are usually on their best behavior, while they are carefully assessing these new people and their new surroundings.  They watch closely for any sign that either someone may hurt them in some way, or else they will “get rid of them”, just as they have experienced every other adult having done to them.

Tags: Adopting an Older Child,AdoptionWorks,Adoption,Foster Care,Adoption Issues,Permanency
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