Thursday, June 22, 2006
Adoption Child Care Advice
I know that I said I was going to finish up with my “Passed On Adoption Child Care Advice” and then I didn’t. So here is all the rest that I have. I have separated them into sections. I know some of you are saying to yourself: “Please don’t give me advice. I will figure out intuitively what to do to care for my child because I will know my child and we will figure it out together. Every child is different.” This is absolutely true. However, sometimes people are frustrated because they tried to go with their gut and it didn’t work. Two examples are

1- A friend of mine who adopted a boy and a girl from Russia said to me that she had not read any adoption books or gone to any seminars or talked to anyone about adoption before she adopted. When she got her kids home she didn’t have any trouble with her son, but her daughter had attachment issues. Although she didn’t know they were attachment issues, she thought they were behavior issues. So, who did she go to for help? Her mother of course. Her mother told her all of the things you should do for a biological child, which in many instances (in regards to attachment) is exactly the opposite of what you should do for an adopted child, but neither of them knew this. So for at least two years she struggled with this child, doing all of the stuff that “mom” said to do. It was only until she finally decided to read about adopted kids that she discovered that she had been doing everything wrong (ex. letting her cry it out alone, constant time outs alone, no attachment activities, etc.)

2- Someone recently wrote in to one of the adoption threads talking about the frustrations of keeping her adopted toddler potty trained. She was told that her 2 year old was totally dry at the orphanage and so expected her child to be totally potty trained at home. Her daughter didn’t act potty trained at home at all. This caused a huge amount of stress and unnecessary parent- child struggles. (Please see untoilet training 101) The responses to this post were so excellent. The threads are really a great resource.

When I hear about these types of situations I always wonder why they didn’t read up on this stuff before the problems. I am glad that both of these moms found help eventually, but why wait? If you learn the possible needs of an adopted child before going into it you will be so much better off. I think that could save a lot of headaches. I am not saying that one size fits all, or that this is the answer necessarily, but this “advice” is something to consider. Certainly this “advice” is not comprehensive, so please read books, talk to experienced parents and ask questions. I know I am preaching to the choir here, but my thought is that if any of this helps even one person than it is worth posting.

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Blogger -Jenny said...
sometimes I do feel like I don't really want to read up on adoption. I haven't read anything to date, except blogs (which actuallyy have tons of advice/info) but I just sometimes feel like I want to figure it out myself. THEN I realize this is not the same circumstances everyone else is in and I want to make sure I do everything well 1/2 right so I will eventually read books, I guess probably when I actually get a referral.

Blogger Kay B said...

I agree with you. Knowledge is power. I don't think you can ever totally be 'prepared' for adoption, or parenting even, and there are a lot of things that you DO learn along the way. But, boy it can be so much easier along the way if you are educated about the situation and possible underlying causes.

Thanks for posting all the great tips hints and book reviews. I am currently reading "Attaching in Adoption" I know it is very clinical and may not be for everyone, but I really like understanding the nitty gritty about what lies beneath the adopted child's thinking and behavior.

Kay B

Blogger Margaret said...
I had an older child, so it was different. But I can say that "advice" from others flows freely. And, other than other adoptive parents, most people can't give the right advice. It's a new world with an adopted child. There are things that have to be different.

One day that comes to mind is Peanut's second day at camp. He kept running back into bed in order to avoid going. Finally I had to carry him downstairs and and he hit me over and over and over with all of his strength. I know he was a little guy - but it hurts to get hit in the head multiple times. I don't know how I kept speaking soothingly and stayed calm while getting whacked in the head but I did. In the end it worked. Peanut is a wonderful kid, but he gave me a run for my money.

I think education about your child's potential unique needs is paramount. But every kid IS different.

Blogger jeneflower said...
You are right Margaret, a lot of what I have written is geared to younger children because that is what I am expecting. I think adopting an older child can be a whole different thing. There are plenty of books and information on adopting older children, but I haven't read them. Some basic principles are the same though. I am in total agreement that every child is different.

Blogger Lauri said...
I read all I could on attachment issues and often family will say
" oh thats typical of any toddler"- but they dont see that when she tries to be ultra independent that she is not trusting me to meet those needs. She then needs more attachment activities.. only by reading was I able to even recognize some of these issues.

If anything Im very surpised at how well Olivia has adjusted, I was prepared for the worst. I know that by starting with attachment excercies on day one that it has helped her.

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