Aistenok, which means “baby stork” in Russian, is a Yekaterinburg-based non-governmental organization that works to prevent child abandonment. Childhood currently supports the project “Wise Parenting”, where one of the aims is to support foster and adoptive families in the Sverdlovsk region. Aistenok offers parent training, information and support to prospective and existing foster and adoptive families.
When I recently visited Aistenok, I had the opportunity to take part in one session of a parent training course for people who are thinking about becoming adoptive or foster parents. It was the fourth gathering of a group of twelve people and the topic for the evening was “the child’s adjustment in the family”. The training session was held by one of Aistenok’s psychologists. How long does it take for a child from a children’s home to adjust to a new home, a new family? It takes time. It can take a year, two years, three years or more. A lot depends on the age of the child, on how long the child has been in institutional care. The psychologist described the different phases the child usually goes through during the adjustment period. And during the three-hour session we also learned that there are many ways to make the child’s transition easier. Spend time with the child. Do not try to do too much too soon. The child might grieve for the past, however bad it may have been. Help the child deal with the changes.
Photo: Jerker Andersson