THE CHILD IN THE ADOPTION PROCESS 07 PREPARATION OF THE CHILD For the child, adoption will represent a severance: a severance from his or her friends and from the familiar faces at the institution where he or she was living or from the foster family with which he or she was living, a severance from his or her native country and a sometimes abrupt severance from his or her family of origin. As a result, adoption can be brutal for the child. However, this can be prevented with proper preparation, calming the child with the understanding of what is happening to him or her. This phase is essential for all children, including younger ones. However, when the country of origin clearly does not possess the necessary resources, this fundamental step is frequently absent, particularly in cases involving older children. This step is all the more important in these cases so that the child can embrace the proposed adoption project and so that possible family and social adaptation difficulties can be addressed beforehand. An attentive reading of the child’s file (if it is complete) will make it possible to assess the time periods between the various steps of the process, and thereby verify whether the child underwent any preparation, or could have undertaken preparation under good conditions. If the child is mature enough, this issue must be discussed with him or her (see point 2).
The systematic use of the ‘life story book’ must be encouraged as a recognised tool that may accompany the child in his or her adoption process.16 The child to be adopted must be properly prepared, based on his or her age and abilities, for the new life that awaits.
‘To promote the child’s sense of self-identity, a life story book comprising appropriate information, pictures, personal objects and mementoes regarding each step of the child’s life should be maintained with the child’s participation and made available to the child throughout his/her life’, United Nations Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, §100.
MANIFESTO FOR ETHICAL INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION