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The moment the adopted child is placed with his or her new parents is an unforgettable emotional event for families. As in the delivery room, the addition of a child to a family is one of the peak experiences of human life. An international adoption may follow months or years of waiting, often after the painful losses of infertility and the many anxieties and uncertainties related to bureaucratic hurdles. Parents have just arrived in a new and unfamiliar culture, and may be jet-lagged and exhausted. In some cases, parents will have already met their child on a previous trip, as required in some countries. Usually, however, this is the first moment the parent beholds the child. Fantasies, expectations, and dreams suddenly confront the reality of the actual child.

The transition is a critical period in the creation of a new family unit. The experiences of parents and children vary dramatically during this time. The transition may be defined as the interval from meeting the child until settling into a routine at home (often weeks or several months after adoption). The pediatrician will be called upon to provide advice throughout this transition. In this course, several important aspects of the transition will be reviewed, including travel, transition behaviors, sleep, food, toileting, and institutional behaviors, with an emphasis on minimizing stressors for both the child and the parent(s).


From THE HANDBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION MEDICINE by Laurie C. Miller. © 2004 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Used by Permission.


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