Health & Fitness

Child adoption in the right frame of mind is beneficial

Child adoption can change the lives of parents for the better. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Child adoption can change the lives of parents for the better. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

I have recently adopted a child because I could not get one of my own on medical grounds. As a woman, do you think adopting will affect me in any way later?

The simple answer to your question is yes. It is possible that your life will be affected for the better because you have made the decision to adopt the child. The evidence available to science is that in the majority of cases, both the child and the adoptive parents (parent) do well, and for the wise decision you have made, congratulations.

Your question gives us a chance to discuss the subject that is growing in importance in our society for several reasons.

Indeed, the whole subject of child care is assuming great significance as our society continues to undergo rapid changes in the 21st Century. Adoption in particular is a subject of increasing interest.

The fact of rapid urbanisation and globalisation, have continued to play a big role in changing family dynamics. In this regard, it is believed that the number of children potentially available for legal adoption is rising. This is driven by teenage pregnancies that go to full term.

In addition to the benefits that you as the adoptive family will enjoy, there are others that are less often referred to but which, at a societal level, are worth thinking about, if only to encourage more people in your situation to adopt children.

It is a fact that a child adopted to a new home, undergoes a life-changing experience that in most cases ensures that the child grows up to achieve the better part of his potential, than if he was brought up by a 16-year-old mother.

Children adopted under the age of 12 months seem to obtain the best outcomes. You do not tell us how your adopted child is and would hope you took him/her at an early age. It is however true that, children can benefit from adoption at any age.

Follow-up studies of adopted and non-adopted children is clear on the benefits of adoption to those children in need.

Such children do well in school and outperform their non-adopted peers on most measures of social adjustment.

The evidence suggests that early adoption leads to good and secure bonds between the child, and new parents. In your case therefore, depending on the age at which the child came to your life, your relationship with the new member of the family is likely to be good.

As you and your child settle into a new life, it is important to examine yourself and your reaction to your new situation.

Some mothers in your situation continue to see themselves as failures and treat such adopted children as the evidence of their failure. If that be your position then you may need to seek help from an expert for the sake of both the child and yourself.

The story does not end there. Teenage mothers who give up their children for adoption are more likely to finish school and get a life out of poverty than those who cling to them. So, by adopting the child, you have helped another human being.

Another interesting fact about adoption is that adopted children catch up with their peers soon after they arrive in a good and loving home.

If the child you have adopted is, for example, below average height and weight, your caring and love for him will lead him to catch up with age mates.

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