Lecture addresses factors leading to successful international adoptions
Riverside, Calif. (Nov. 18, 2016)—“We try to help the parents feel empowered, because empowerment is the key in this whole process,” Dr. Gary Feldman told a California Baptist University audience, on the topic of international adoption. “The key issue is being prepared. The more prepared parents are about any possible condition, the better the outcome.”
Feldman, who specializes in international adoption medicine, spoke as part of the School of the Behavioral Science’s Culture and Justice Lecture Series on Nov. 17. He is the medical director of the Stramski Children’s Developmental Center at Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Long Beach. Feldman also provides services in the pre-adoptive and post-adoptive stages.
“Pro-active parenting is much better than reactive parenting because it puts you in control,” Feldman said. “If you’re a reactive parent, you essentially are defensive and you’re reacting. You’re not making progress. If you’re pro-active, you have a greater chance of making progress.”
Feldman sees his role, and other doctors like him, as helping parents seeking adoption to become successful parents. In order to do this, the adoptive parents need to know what the potential struggles the child may have and then become educated to make appropriate decisions, Feldman said.
Children adopted internationally can have issues with health, development or attachment. Prospective parents may not receive an accurate or complete medical history. That is why it is important for individuals considering international adoption to be educated about overall health issues.
Additionally, he advises parents that when they bring a child home, they make the transition as calm as possible. Even a bedroom full of Disney characters may be too much for a child who spent years in an orphanage, he said.
“The kids are coming from Mars to Earth,” Feldman said. “They don’t understand your language, they don’t understand your culture, so there is a lot of transition that has to take place.”