As we enter this world, we do not always know what paths our lives will take, or which paths we will choose for ourselves. These paths could take us down dark valleys and through beautiful tall mountains and we learn along the way.
Toddler and older child adoption is sure to be a path of learning and adventure for your family. Gladney Pathways is a preparation program designed to prepare, educate and support you as you begin your journey into older child adoption. We want you to feel as equipped as possible and as supported as possible before your child comes into your home. Once your child comes home, Gladney's Post Adoption & Client Services Department will be available to your family for life. As you begin this journey with us down our Gladney Pathways, there are a few things we want you to know about what our team believes about toddler and older child adoption.
We believe we are all born into this world designed to trust and to attach to others. Therefore no matter the depth of the hurt in a child's history, given a chance with an insightful and nurturing adoptive parent, a child can learn to open their heart to trust and once again create a forever bond with a parent.
We believe each family has to be committed from the start to be a family forever. The parent-child relationship is the foundation, built with siblings against the world. No matter what behavior, what circumstance the day may bring, the heart of the child must be touched daily by each parent. Pathways will walk you down the path of how to touch the heart of your child each day. Thedecision for commitment is a difficult one, but one the child desperately relies on. Evaluating your motivation for adopting an older child is important. Considering other children in your home and if this child will enter your family out of birth order could be a special consideration. Older child adoption is unique and has a specialness all of its own. It is not for everyone and each parent should feel empowered to make this decision or not make this decision freely.
We believe a parent who is full of compassion for their child and equipped with tools and insight is best prepared for parenting. Pathways will help you learn there is a balance of nurture and structure needed for your child. Remembering where your child has come from and recognizing your child's feelings brings compassion. Mixing this compassion with the skills needed to help your child heal can be life changing for your child and for you as the parent. Seeing your child grow and learn can be wonderful. This can only happen through providing your child a safe place full of compassion and guidance. This tool box will take you down a pathway intended to equip you with the insight and knowledge needed to create this world for your child.
We believe family, community, and potentially, professional support is important in older child adoption. You may hear us say, as we walk down this path with you, that we want you to pull your child into you. However, we want you to reach out to others for support as much as possible. Surrounding yourself with support before the adoption can be a foundation for many years to come. Church groups or buddy families through Gladney Family Associations can be a vital asset to you and your child. You will need a sounding board and an open ear on the difficult days and someone to celebrate the triumphs with on the good days. Reach out and create a support system for yourself before you really need it.
Lastly and most importantly, we believe to be a successful parent of an older child, you have tonurture the whole child. You may be asking, "What does this mean?". It is impossible to really know the heart of a child if you cannot come into his world, translate his behaviors into needs and then meet those needs with all your might. By nurturing your child's attachment, sensory and nutritional needs, and boosting brain development, you will find a pathway into your child's heart. Finding the right balance of safety, structure, safe touch, and discipline can give your child a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow in your family and in their new world. We believe the parents are the only true healers for the child. True healing for your child will come at the end of this pathway. Let your child lead you and enjoy every step of the way.
Gladney Pathways was developed by Post Adoption & Client Services for you and your family. We want to walk each step along side of you. Whether this is your first time at parenting or this is your fourth child, there are sure to be surprises. Your child will come into your heart and home with a story. Within this story there will be happy tales and other tales of loss and hurt. The Pathways Tool Box is designed to be a guide for many years to come to help you down your path of older child adoption.
Contact Pathways Staff
Gladney Center for Adoption
Post Adoption & Client Services Department
6300 John Ryan Drive
Fort Worth, TX 76132-4122