Family Helper > Post-adoption > Guide to Infants and Toddlers

Adoptive Parents'
Guide to Infants
and Toddlers

First edition, 2000
$12 / ISBN 0-9691868-9-4

By Jennifer Smart, BHScOT
Editor, Post-adoption Helper


How I enriched my children's early years
The Early Years study and adoptive families
Critical times for brain growth
Attachment problems
Risks of adopting an institutionalized child
Health issues in children from China
Medical evaluation of the adopted child
Medical tests for international adoptees
International adoption medical clinics

"The first years last forever"
Babies need sensitive caregivers
Building connection in your relationship
That post-adoption let-down ...
Development in the second year

Help her language grow
Problems with sensory integration
"The fuzzier the sweater, the more Emily pushed away"
Signs your child may have sensory problems
Proper feedback needed for success
Watch for signs of malnutrition
How malnutrition affects teeth
Smoking can harm the fetus
Adopting a drug-exposed child
Drug-exposed kids thrive in adoptive homes
How to tell a drug-exposed child
Adoption Healing ... Path to Recovery [excerpt]

How to order Adoptive Parents' Guide to Infants and Toddlers

Written for prospective adoptive parents, and recent adopters, this guide by occupational therapist Jennifer Smart covers medical, health and developmental issues affecting infants to two-year-olds. (For more, see the excerpt below.)

To order a copy, fill in this form and send, with your cheque, to: 220 Summerhill Rd., Southampton, Ont. N0H 2L0 Canada.

Please send me one copy of Adoptive Parents' Guide to Infants and Toddlers. I enclose a $12 cheque to "Robin Hilborn".
  Street address:

Price in Canada is Can$12. In the U.S., US$12. Elsewhere, US$18.
Robin Hilborn is publisher of the Post-adoption Helper series.

Adoptive Parents' Guide to Infants and Toddlers is also available (No. 9) at a discount ($9) when you order four or more titles from the Family Helper series. See the form at Family Helper, and choose the editions you'd like to order.


From the introduction to the Adoptive Parents' Guide to Infants and Toddlers
By Jennifer Smart, BHScOT

A precious time

This edition of Post-adoption Helper focusses on the first two years of life. For many adoptive parents some of that early, precious and important time has already passed in their child's life before they've arrived in their adoptive home. This issue looks at the risks for development that our children have faced in their short lives, how their previous conditions -- pre- and post-natally -- might affect them and what we can do to help them become the best they can be.

I've started with a short review of the McCain-Mustard Report ("What the Early Years Study means for adoptive families") since it covers the concerns our children face in a concise way, based on very up-to-date research.

With the first year being so critical, I have emphasized medical information, knowing what to look for, and where to get immediate help. I have reviewed some articles on International Adoption Clinics, why they are a good idea and how they can support your child's local doctor. Also I have provided information on a new international/domestic adoption clinic, the Canadian Adoption Clinic, in Mississauga, Ont.

My second section is on information, resources and suggestions on how to provide your infant and toddler with the environment and play-based activities to encourage their development. If you are able to nurture your child with the understanding of what might have been missing early on, then you are giving your child a timely second chance to learn and integrate these necessary sensory-motor skills. It will also allow you to see if your child is having difficulty in any areas, and what professional assessment/treatment (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language) might be needed.

My third section is on dealing with special needs which may present themselves. Some parents knowingly choose to parent a child with particular special needs. Others are taken by surprise -- they adopt an apparently healthy infant, only to realize later that genetics, prenatal exposures or early abuse have given their child lifelong challenges. Some parents adopt a child hoping "love will cure all", but later realize the challenges they have accepted require their love plus specialized intervention.

Sometimes our dreams are changed without our permission ... our decisions have suddenly taken us down unfamiliar paths. You will have lots of company in the adoption community, where facing the "unexpected" seems to be fairly normal! Parents who have "been there" offer practical support, and can help you find the way so your child can attain their wonderful potential. There are excellent resources available now including special interest groups, Internet listservs, and provincial and national organizations.

As a parent of two specially challenged children, both adopted as "healthy" infants, I want all adoptive parents to realize your children are truly gifts. They arrive, grow and blossom into the unique persons they were meant to be. They have their own unique talents which will flourish if we discover them and encourage them, despite all the other identified "disabilities." Their paths are probably much different than ours were when we were growing up. Their experiences will likely take them on life journeys we might not have originally planned for them!

Yet I have faith that all our children will find their place and contribute in their own personal way to a better world. I hope this issue will inspire you to see the blessings and have faith that each challenge will somehow work itself out.

How to order Adoptive Parents' Guide to Infants and Toddlers

Infertility Adoption Adoption Resource Central Post-adoption Family Tree
Contact: Robin Hilborn,
220 Summerhill Rd., Southampton, Ont. N0H 2L0 Canada
Copyright 2009 Robin Hilborn. All rights reserved
Updated   Apr. 13, 2009

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