Many families in Joplin have adopted children from overseas institutions, while others have adopted through the state foster care system. Often these children have difficulty adjusting to their new homes, which can cause unique challenges for their parents. Different factors can contribute to adjustment issues, including age at adoption, inadequate pre-natal care, nutritional deficits, and psychological trauma experienced prior to adoption. Fortunately, there are many resources parents can turn to for assistance in making their child’s transition more pleasant and to help equip children with the tools they need for success later in life.
Books are often a source of invaluable information for parents. The Connected Child is a book written by the staff at the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University. This book explores the importance of helping the newly adopted child feel secure in his new surroundings. The authors discuss effective ways to discipline as well as ways to help a child better express himself to his parents. Another book, Attaching in Adoption, written by Deborah D. Gray, discusses the reasons behind attachment disorder issues with adopted children and offers practical advice for overcoming these obstacles.
Local pediatricians and child psychiatrists are also valuable resources for adoptive parents. Dr. Kimra Ross has worked with children from both domestic and international adoptions, and is thus well acquainted with the various issues relative to these situations, including developmental delays and nutritional deficits. Dr. Charles Graves, a child psychiatrist in Joplin, also has extensive experience working with adopted children, especially those working to overcome psychological trauma or profound neglect.
Parenting an adopted child is not very different from parenting a biological child, but sometimes there are unique challenges the adopted child faces due to cultural differences or lack of quality pre-natal care and early childhood experiences. By utilizing the various resources available to them, parents can help their child be better prepared for school, social situations, and life in general.