Archives for February 2020

Blending an Older Adopted Child With Extended Family Members

Helping an Adopted Child Feel Comfortable With the Extended Family

Roughly 135,000 children are adopted in the U.S. each year, and many of these kids are older than a year when they’re introduced to their new families. If you’re planning on adopting an older child, it’s important to take a few steps when integrating them with extended family members. An older adopted child could feel overwhelmed at first—especially if you have many relatives—but there are ways to ease the process.

Explain Who’s Who in Your Extended Family

The first step in integrating an adopted child is to explain to your youngster who’s who within your extended family. As with anything else you need to discuss with your child, the conversation must be on an age-appropriate level.

The easiest way of explaining who’s who within your extended family is to use visual aids, recent photos, or even videos of the key loved ones. With the help of visual aids, present the name of the relative as well as how the family member is related to you and the child.

You don’t want to overdo it initially in this regard. In other words, you will want to stick with more immediate extended family members. These can include a child’s aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents.

Don’t Overwhelm the Little One

While an initial inclination may be to have some sort of party to celebrate the arrival of the new addition to your family, if the child is over a couple years of age, consider a preliminary step. That initial step is to slowly introduce the new addition to your home to one, two, or three extended family members at a time.

Taking this gradual approach serves a couple of key objectives. First, your child will not be overwhelmed. Second, your youngster will have a better chance to get to know each individual family member through a gradual process.

Introduce Your Child to Others in a Familiar Setting

Another tactic to employ when working to integrate your adopted child into your family is to introduce the boy or girl to your relatives in a familiar setting. The most obvious location is your own home.

A young child will be easily distracted by being in an unfamiliar setting. Indeed, some youngsters end up distressed when brought to an unfamiliar location. This stress could compound if they have to meet new or unknown people in the process.

Explain Family Traditions to Your Young One

A useful tactic to integrate an adopted child over a couple of years of age into your extended family is to explain family traditions. For example, you should explain to your child what your family enjoys doing during the holiday season. This will not only familiarize your child with the practices, customs, and traditions of your extended family, but it also develops a sense of excitement on the part of the child for partaking in family events.

Follow Your Child’s Lead When Interacting With Extended Family Members

Finally, when it comes to integrating your newly adopted child with your extended family, follow your child’s lead. You don’t want to force your child to interact with an extended family member or deal with too much at one time.

If your child is tired, grumpy, or otherwise uninterested or apprehensive about interacting with family members, don’t force the issue. Forcing a younger child to interact with an extended family member when he or she is not up to it may backfire. This could lead to a persistent lack of interest or even distaste for family gatherings.

If you’re in need of a PA adoption lawyer, Donald Cofsky of Cofsky & Zeidman stands ready to assist. Mr. Cofsky has extensive experience representing people in all aspects of adoption cases. You can schedule an initial consultation by calling our Philadelphia office at (215) 563-2150. There is no charge for an initial consultation with the PA adoption lawyer from our firm.

Coronavirus Is Impacting the Timeline for International Adoptions

The Impact of Coronavirus on International Adoptions

In recent weeks, the spread of a novel virus from Wuhan province in China has sent shock waves throughout the global infrastructure. Not only has the fallout threatened to slow the shipment of goods and travelers’ movements to and from China, but international adoptions have also slowed as China reports a death toll that is now more than 1,000.

What Is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus refers to a group of viruses that come from animals. The first known patients who displayed symptoms of the current coronavirus shopped or worked at a seafood market in Wuhan, China. Since the initial cases emerged, health care professionals have observed that the virus can be transmitted from person to person as many more human cases now exist. At least 28 countries currently report cases of the virus while China reports tens of thousands of domestic cases. Scientists still have questions regarding how contagious the virus is; therefore, several countries now have travel bans in place to contain the infection rate.

Couples and individuals who are waiting to adopt a child from China are increasingly reporting delays in the process due to the emergence of the virus. If you are currently in the process of adopting a child from China, your PA adoption attorney can advise you of how the threat of coronavirus may impact your adoption timeline.

Why Are Adoptions Impacted By Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is affecting international adoptions from China in several ways. First, the United States has imposed a travel ban that limits the movement of people who wish to travel to and from China. This means adoptive parents are logistically unable to travel to meet their new adoptive children and bring them home. Additionally, limited communication from the Chinese government regarding the disease outbreak makes it very difficult for adoption agencies to communicate potential next steps to adoptive parents. Therefore, adoption attorneys and agencies are unable to advise adoptive parents regarding exactly how long they will need to wait before the process is once again able to move forward.

What Should Adoptive Parents Do for Now?

The simple answer is to be prepared for a situation that may change quickly. We advise parents to exercise patience as the timeline may lengthen substantially. It may help to think of the adoptive process as if it is similar to raising a biological child. Parents are not always in control of every circumstance that involves their biological child. They simply have to do everything that is within their means and leverage the help of professionals who are well-versed in the situation. For that reason, we advise adoptive parents to always seek out the legal knowledge and opinion of an attorney.

How Long Does the International Adoption Process Normally Take?

Every adoption varies from case to case. Nevertheless, prospective adoptive parents typically receive advice to expect the process to take 18 to 24 months. Parents at every stage in the process of adopting a child from China may be required to wait longer as the governments of the U.S., China, and the international health community respond to the virus outbreak.

Has This Ever Happened Before?

In 2003, there was an outbreak of the SARS virus in China. Similarly, the spread of SARS led to travel restrictions and a sudden onslaught of questions for adoptive parents, governments, and the international health community. At that time, the Chinese government suspended international adoptions. Nevertheless, the government resumed processing adoptions within a matter of months, and waiting parents eventually were able to travel to pick up their newly adopted children. The SARS outbreak came with lessons that may prove valuable during this current virus outbreak. Therefore, parents have reason to remain optimistic.

Who Can You Talk To?

If you have questions about how coronavirus may affect your adoption process, the adoption agency may have information about the estimated timeline as well as measures Chinese orphanages engage in to protect children from the virus. We also strongly advise you to consult your adoption attorney for additional insight. Information from overseas may be sparse at times. However, your attorney will serve as an excellent sounding board and immediate point of contact to help you address your concerns as you navigate the lengthy international adoption process.

If you have concerns about the impact of coronavirus on the international adoption process, speak with a PA adoption attorney at Cofsky & Zeidman. Call our Philadelphia office at (215) 563-2150 today.