The Mis-Labeled Child

August 15th, 2013

Labels Who would have thought me a parent of an 11 year old with a style, attitude, mind, and personality all of her own very own. It’s amazing as I reflect on just how wonderfully unexpected it was for my husband and I to adopt an older child from foster care. I myself had joined every forum, read every book, and researched every webpage I could on adopting from foster care and after that was dead set on adopting a child between the ages of five no older than seven. We thought if we adopt too old of a child they wouldn’t be as teachable. We thought they wouldn’t want to be walked to class or hold our hands in public. They… [more]

Finding a Place to Belong

October 16th, 2012

yellow_house_2I’ve mostly seen adoption from the other side--from the perspective of the child. I’ll never forget the look in Boipelo’s eye when we told her. Boipelo, who had waited so long and so patiently. Boipelo who had asked almost every day for a year when she was getting her “new” family. Boipelo who dreamed about the princess bedroom her new parents would prepare for her. Boipelo, seven going on eight, who was classified as mentally retarded with no clear diagnosis. Boipelo who had seen her other children adopted into families before her. Boipelo who was deemed by almost everyone as “unadoptable.” Boipelo who waited. Amy laid a book before her. A book with wonderful pictures inside and a little story her adoptive family had… [more]

The Beginning

September 2nd, 2011

yellow_house_2Welcome to my blog post! I’m glad you are here, and I hope you visit often. To give you a little background on our situation, my husband and I have been married for 13+ years. We got married when we were both 30, and we never really thought we wanted children. We lived a good life, thinking only of ourselves, we lived in a big house on a lake and drove expensive cars, had a big boat and spent money like we would have it forever, traveling and partying with friends, we thought we had it all! We owned a business, and when the recession hit, we struggled, to put it mildly. About 3 years ago we had to file bankruptcy and… [more]

Time for Bonding

March 6th, 2011

bondingBonding and attachments are topics in adoption that get a lot of press—and I understand why.  Lately, I have been reflecting on the process of coming together with my children.  I have three kids who have all been adopted at different ages, and I know that connecting with them was different for each. I was in the delivery room when my son was born.  Someone put him in my arms and that was it.  I was there—invested completely—at an emotional, physical, cognitive, and psychic level.  No effort was required.  No thought processes activated.  It was magic. My two daughters were adopted internationally and were older when they came home.  One was seventeen months old and the other seven years.  With the “baby” it was… [more]

Getting Needs Met

February 7th, 2011

photoI just finished a book for my book club tonight—the book is Janusz Bardach’s Man is Wolf to Man: Surviving the Gulag. It is a powerful book about so many things, and I am really looking forward to our discussion. (An interesting note about Bardach is that after the war he came to the U.S. and worked as a plastic surgeon. He developed a surgical procedure for dealing with cleft palates, the Bardach palatoplasty, a procedure still in use today--so all of those international adoptees who undergo surgeries to fix their cleft palate can thank this man.) Before he was to come here, however, he lived in Poland, and during WWII he was sent to the Soviet gulag. His… [more]

The Stuff That Matters

February 3rd, 2011

828567_galeria_krakowskaLast November I was at an adoption support group meeting and one of the moms was doing respite care for a family who had adopted a ten-year-old from Ethiopia.  This little girl had not been in the United States for very long and both she and her new parents were struggling in their new lives together.  The girl was not violent, per se, but she was prone to fits of crying--almost to hysteria--so I was told. This little girl’s predicament reminded me so clearly of my own daughter’s adjustment period ten years ago.  During the first six months of her time here, she would periodically find herself so overwhelmed with her environment that she would collapse into a puddle of tears.  Of course… [more]

When is Your Birthday?

December 20th, 2010

birthday When my husband and I decided to adopt an older child living in the orphanage in India where we were adopting an infant, we were given a picture of a little girl with a beautiful face and large, permanent front teeth.  We were told that this little girl, who would eventually become our daughter, was six years old.  Looking at her face which seemed to already have grown into her large, white, Chiclet teeth, I had my doubts about her age.  We had further hints that she might be older when she began talking about her previous life.  I just didn't see how she would have so many memories of her first mom and their life together if she was four when… [more]

Teflon Families

December 14th, 2010

Teflon Protects Sometimes I think of families who have adopted older children as "Teflon Families".  (I certainly think of myself and my family that way.)  By that, I mean that often times older children who are brought into our homes will have a coat of armor, like Teflon, that makes getting through to their hearts extremely difficult.  Perhaps it is the pain and injury they experienced in their earlier lives that has caused them to develop a layer of protection.  This shield then keeps them from feeling the love and affection that their adoptive parents want to provide.  Children who have had a lot of negative life experiences tend to not be too fond of themselves, and they often times believe that they… [more]

Summer Is Coming

April 30th, 2010

1202718_longing_2 Summer is coming!  Last day of school!  Sleeping in and playing all day!   Yeah, won't everyone be happy now? Don't we wish!  As parents of older adopted children we know that a change in the "normal" routine can be very disturbing to our kids.  I learned this last year the hard way.  I had thought that the less demanding days would improve behavior as stress was decreased from having no school. It turns out that the change in routine was so upsetting that they had a really hard time transitioning into summer. I noted early during last years break that they were going through a sort of "mourning" with the "loss" of a beloved teacher.  Granted, the teachers were still alive and the kids… [more]

Unfair

March 17th, 2010

1217979_v-house"Unfair" is a word commonly used in our house.  It is unfair that one sissy  has a green headband, it is unfair that Meg has 4 American Girl dolls, it is unfair that your peach and I'm brown.  Sometimes unfair is a silly little thing, and sometimes it is not. This time my heart is screaming unfair.  The latest change in our house is unfair to my two biological kids, yet this change has also improved our home life dramatically. To back-track here.  Our home-life has been hell for the past few months, with some improvements here and there.  Basically after intense counseling two of our daughters may start medication very soon.  One with ADHD medication, as attachment disorder apparently mirrors ADHD and so… [more]