Parents often enter into adoption completely unprepared for handling any adopted baby development problems that might arise.
Although these problems aren't necessarily common, some adopted babies do experience them. However, understanding the signs of development problems and learning how to handle those problems will make this period in your life a little easier.
Signs of Development Problems
For many parents, their adopted baby may be their first child. If so, they may not understand the signs of adopted baby development problems until the problems have grown seemingly out of control.
Early intervention is the key to eradicating any development problem. Once you know what signs to look for, you'll know when to get help.
- Trust your instincts. One of the most important things you'll learn as a parent is to trust your instincts. If you feel that something isn't right, pay attention to that gut feeling and contact your pediatrician. If you still aren't satisfied, seek a second and even a third opinion. You are your child's advocate. Don't be afraid to look for help!
- Sudden changes. A child may be developing in a seemingly normal manner when all of the sudden, he or she stops or even regresses. While this may be as simple as a reaction to a recent move or some other event in your child's life, there may be other reasons. Speak to your doctor about your concerns. Better yet, keep a log of your child's developmental milestones so that you have something to show your doctor.
- Delayed physical ability. While some children will crawl and walk more quickly than others, children who have been institutionalized may suffer from developmental delays, and thus experience adopted baby development problems. Seek help for your child as soon as you become aware of this problem.
- Delayed verbal skills. Here again, children will develop verbally at various rates. However, if your child seems able to understand what you say but doesn't verbally respond, he or she may be suffering from adopted baby development problems as well.
Help for Adopted Baby Development Problems
Did you know children under three years of age must legally be provided rehabilitative services at a free or reduced rate if they have been determined to be developmentally delayed? These services typically include speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. The Federal 1986 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provides this right, and an overview of this law can be read here.
In order to make sure that your child is receiving the services that he or she needs, you may need a referral from your pediatrician. Depending upon your state, you may be able to find a hotline to call for help as well.
What to Expect
Depending upon the age and background of your child, your child may have developmental problems for any number of reasons.
- Psychological separation. Even newborns have been noted to have psychological separation anxiety, so this certainly isn't uncommon. For older children, however, the symptoms of this condition may be much worse. You may find that your child will need professional help to get past these issues.
- Attachment difficulties. Even toddlers can have problems forming an attachment with their adoptive parents. In many cases, the whole family may need to go into therapy for a while to deal with this problem.
- Aggressiveness. In some cases, a child may simply resort to anger and aggressive behavior as a means of expressing his or her confusion over the adoption. Again, therapy and time can help.
- Abandonment issues. A child who understands that he or she was left by his or her birth parent may deal with abandonment issues as well.
- Grief. Older children may not be able to under why they were given up for adoption, and they may experience a sort of grieving process as they work through this issue.
Finally, there is help for those children who suffer from adopted baby development problems.
- The National Adoption Center offers adoptive parents and their children many wonderful links throughout the site.
- Adopting.org offers post-adoption support groups and lots of great information as well.
- The Adoption Groups Website offers adoptive parents help in a variety of areas.