The great majority of children adopted from abroad thrive once they are in nurturing families. Lacking the early benefit of loving parents, the children usually have developmental delays at placement. This is particularly true of children who have been in institutions. Even good institutions cannot provide the nurturing that young children need.
Newly adopted children may also show signs of depression or have adjustment problems; these are usually mild and short-lived but sometimes serious and long term. The child's temperament, life experience, and age, along with the adoptive parents' temperament, adaptability, and sensitivity, all play a role in the ever-changing fabric of a child's development.
For over 70 years, Barker has been bringing together people who want to be parents with children from abroad who need loving and permanent homes.
Experience tells us that families who thrive are most likely to be ones in which the parents are open and accepting, people who can, without preconceived expectations, take pleasure in the miracle of watching a child grow and develop. People adopting from overseas will, in most cases, become minority families. Thus a family's openness to other cultures and races and interest in honestly educating their child about culture and race are important.
Barker tries to provide prospective parents with as much information as possible about the child they may adopt. The amount of information available varies widely depending on the country and the particular situation. After a child is referred, we help you understand the information provided and put you in touch with professionals who may be able to further assist you.
If there is an extended period between referral of a child and the time the family travels, the agency gets updated information on the child, which may include medical reports and pictures. Barker is committed to its families throughout the adoption process and for as long as families choose to participate in the wide variety of educational and support services it offers.
Wait times vary from country to country. In some countries, the major part of the wait elapses before the child is identified. In others, it comes after the child is identified. We can tell you how long waits have been in the past, and sometimes that is predictive of what they will be in the future. The Barker staff do our very best to keep the process moving and communicate with and guide families along the way.
Most countries require that parents travel, and Barker always recommends it. Traveling gives the parents a unique opportunity to see their child's birth environment and to begin to develop an appreciation for their child's heritage and culture. Few families who adopt internationally are world travelers. This is simply the beginning of the stretching that people do when they become parents. Moreover, the story of the trip to bring them home has endless fascination for children.
In all of our programs, there is excellent support and guidance for the trip. Staff pass along recommendations from other families about where to stay, and an adoption professional or guide meets parents in the country to help them through the process specific to that country. The length of the stay in the country varies depending on the legal procedure followed there. Typically, a stay is one to three weeks.
There are inevitable risks in any adoption. A basic understanding of the risks and complexities of international adoption before deciding to adopt in the long run makes it less stressful. In this respect, adoption is like all other major life events.
Information about a child can be incomplete or simply wrong. Governments can change their requirements or procedures without notice, and costs and time frames for placement can change. Parents need to be flexible because so much is outside of their control and outside the agency’s control.
Our first goal is to reduce risks whenever and wherever we can by working with sources whom we understand to be reputable. Our second goal is to forge productive, collaborative relationships with prospective parents, which enables us to work through problems if and when they should arise.