The important decisions in our lives, those that are and must be irreversible, changing our entire universe, can be counted on the fingers of our hands. We are ahead of them today, others tomorrow, and this is not always a smooth and trouble-free process. It is important that everyone receives the appropriate support, and that is what we provide at the For Our Children Foundation.
Tanya and Drago have been a family with a clearly defined comfort zone for a long time. After years of unsuccessful attempts to have a child and two in vitro procedures, the two decided to adopt. The family applies for adoption and takes the first step towards one of the most difficult but also the most wonderful decisions in their lives.
They meet senior psychologist Katerina Kovacheva on a course for preparation of prospective adoptive parents in the CPC “St. Sofia”. On it they receive information about the specifics of children who have experienced the trauma of abandonment. They also learn about the effects of institutional care on children. The topic of the child’s adaptation to his new family is also presented – step by step.
Literally a month before their permit expires, the proposal for a child comes. Tanya and Drago quickly decided to adopt 3-year-old Sonya. Even during the 1-month adjustment process, however, the family realized that they were in a hurry. Sonya still doesn’t speak and they both have a hard time understanding her. Instead of the child getting used to the two with each subsequent meeting, he becomes more and more restless and Tanya considers whether he and Drago have not made a hasty decision. Doubts arise as to whether they will cope, but they do not give up and persistently continue to meet with the girl. A few days before the family takes Sonya home, the future mother Tanya becomes more and more restless and in her anxiety decides to contact the psychologist Katerina Kovacheva.
She responds immediately and they meet the day before little Sonia goes to her new family’s home, and the meeting is emotional. Katerina Kovacheva quickly realizes that Tanya and Drago have decided to adopt without thinking about whether they can handle it. Gives Tanya specific guidelines on how to spend the first day at home with the child in peace. However, the tension in the family increases with each passing day, mainly because they do not understand the child who still cannot speak. Tanya has no parenting experience, and Drago has to work and cannot be her constant support. Instead of the long-awaited child bringing joy to their family, the tension prevails. In the first week, Tanya says that she is already considering leaving her husband and daughter, which coincides with Drago’s fears. They also consider parting ways with Sonya until she gets used to them.
Tanya begins to wonder if she is even ready to be a mother. Thus, between fear and despair, between anger and helplessness, pass the first weeks of family life. During non-weekly meetings with the couple, the psychologist’s first task is to assess whether there is a real risk of the parents separating or terminating the adoption. Katerina Kovacheva supports and encourages the emotional connection between Sonya and her adoptive parents. Together they plan the course of each day – what games to play, how to deal with crises, how to reduce tension. Involves Sonya’s foster family, the pediatrician, relatives and friends of the family in the process. In the course of the work, Katerina finds out that there are many specifics in Sonya’s story. The child was abandoned in a particularly traumatic way, has a number of fears and phobias, eating disorders, difficulties in speaking and attachment. That is why he started activities with him in support of his development. In parallel, work is being done to stimulate the parent-child relationship and increase parental confidence.
In just 3 months, Sonya has made incredible progress – she now eats a variety of home-cooked food, overcomes the fear of bathing and now considers it a fun activity. He pronounces many words correctly and understandably, which improves communication in the family and brings more confidence to parents. Tanya more and more often plays with the child and is calm. The two sing, dance and have fun, and crises are becoming rarer.
Recently, Sonya started saying “mom” and “dad”, a sure sign of attachment to them! And with that, the thoughts of separation from her parents fade with each passing day. Psychological support for the mother and the stimulation of the emotional parent-child relationship are long-term processes that psychologist Katerina Kovacheva continues to work on. Work continues with Sonya herself, because for her and her new parents, this is just the beginning. A beginning that, we are convinced, will lead to building a calm and secure atmosphere of trust and love in the family. And another child will grow up happy and loved in a family!
Adoption is one of the main alternatives for providing a safe and permanent family environment for children deprived of parental care.
At the end of last year, 1,635 children deprived of parental care were entered in the adoption register and were expecting their mother and father, 862 of whom were disabled. The total number of registered candidates – adoptive parents is 100 less – 1,561. Only 500 are nationally adopted children in 2019. That is why it is extremely important for us to educate and support families who have decided to give a new chance to a child without parents. 115 last year and 46 for the first six months of this year are candidate adoptive families who have passed the trainings organized by the foundation and prepared for their future parenthood. We continue to support them in the first months after the child enters their lives.