By Robin Hilborn, Family Helper editor

Before placement your child may have been described as normal and healthy. And, later on, it may have come as a shock to discover undiagnosed problems.

Dee Paddock, in her article "Survival Strategies for Dealing with Medical Conditions or Learning Disabilities Diagnosed in Your Adopted Child After Placement" (Jewish Children‘s Adoption Network, Spring 1998), outlines the steps adoptive parents need to pass through to "survive and thrive" when faced with unexpected challenges.

We need to acknowledge that our feelings of grief are normal responses to the threat of loss. Paddock notes that adoptive families are often created out of profound loss, and our vulnerability and reactivity to more loss is normal.

Paddock says parents who don't get the necessary support at this difficult time of diagnosis risk getting stuck in their anger or feel a need to blame someone for what's happened. She recommends this is the time to search out other adoptive families who have dealt with the issues you now face.

Adoptive parents need to move from helplessness and powerlessness to empowerment and participation in their child's progress. She suggests parents find professionals who "know adoption" to work with their children.

And finally she explains how there is no going back to the way you were, that the disability changes you, your child and your family. This new "normal" is the reality you must now deal with.
Dee A. Paddock, MA, MTS, NCC is a psychotherapist and speaker and runs a private practice, Families With A Difference, in Englewood CO. She adopted three children from Korea.



The challenge of school for the adoptee
School issues your child will face
Help your child deal with racism
When birds don't flock together
Should you tell the teacher?
You can give an adoption talk
Language development is key

Learning disabilities

What are learning disabilities?
Detect learning disabilities early
Cope with your child's LD
Brodzinsky on learning disabilities
Do adoptees need special ed classes?
Are LDs inherited?

Special needs

Accept your child's special needs
FAS: Friendly school environments
Helping students with FAS
ADHD and the school system
Manage your ADHD child in school
Strategy for the parent advocate
You may reproduce this item with the credit:
"From Family Helper," ________________________________________
First published in Family Helper No. 45, "Adoption Goes To School", ISBN 0-9733470-4-X. Adapted in part from Post-adoption Helper No. 7, "Adoptive Parents' Guide to Your Child in Primary School", edited by Jennifer Smart.