Books about Adoption

attaching in adoption

I started looking at adoption related picture books (baby board books, etc.) yesterday to purchase for our baby.

Most had negative reviews about one thing or another.  It made me realize again that there seem to be so many issues to take into consideration when talking with your child…some books didn’t do a good job handling race issues, others presented the birth mother in a simplistic fashion or not at all, etc.

It is good to be made aware of these issues, I don’t know if I would have thought much about these things on my own.  For now, I am ordering some books for myself, but nothing for the baby.

I ordered the books that got the best reviews.  Everywhere I look I see these books recommended (on Lifeline’s Facebook page, on Amazon, on adoption chat forums, from friends, etc.)

Here are the titles I bought today:

Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today’s Parents by Deborah Gray

Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections by Jean MacLeod

Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft by Mary Hopkins-Best

Do any of you readers have suggestions for books, whether for us as parents or for our children?  I would like some good adoption related books for our younger biological kids as well as for our adopted daughter to read.

In other news, I finished my Hague training yesterday and got my certificate. WOOT!!

David will be done as soon as he reads the last of his articles…maybe 15 articles or so.  The end of that part is in sight!  Yay!

Though it is a bit too early to celebrate, as we still have several of the Birmingham videos to watch before our meeting #3, and David will need to read The Connected Child and we will both need to read some materials about China before meeting #4.  So although we are making progress it does feel like there is still a LONG way to go to get through this part.

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Making it work…

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I woke up early this morning and read adoption stuff to David while he got ready for work.

He is so busy with work all day and the boys’ sports all evening that it is hard for him to find time to sit and read.  We decided that mornings would be a good time to knock some of this stuff out.

I hate getting up early, but am happy to do it if it means moving forward at a faster pace.  I sit beside him while he is getting ready for work and read aloud.

The good part is that in this fashion, David is close to finishing The Connected Child.  The negative part for me is that I am having to read The Connected Child again, since I already finished it over a month ago.  And it can be a heavy read at times…not something I really wanted to read again right away.  But it is worth it.

In addition to all the videos and Hague modules we have 33 articles to download and read.  I finished reading the last of my articles last night, yahoo!  It feels good to have that part done. Though I suspect I will be reading many of those articles a second time, too, as I will likely be reading them aloud to David.  He has some long car trips coming up and I can read aloud to him while he is driving.

We are “over the hump” for the Hague training, too, as we finished module 5 (of 9) today.  We also watched the Birmingham adoption clinic video about special needs last night and started talking about which needs we can consider. That session was very helpful, giving us an awful lot of information to help us figure out what needs we are open to.  Later, when we get a referral, I hope we can go back and watch part of that session again to get more information about what will be involved in caring for our child’s special needs.

I feel like we could move forward with adopting next year if we took on a need that is more manageable.  If we decide to do a more major need, that may be an indication to wait until after Jack’s graduation. It is giving us lots to think and pray about.

Part of me feels that we need to be more broad in what we can accept, to get a faster referral….yet I need to remember it is all in God’s sovereignty and we need to not go beyond what we truly feel we can handle.  We need to trust His timing with the referral and with what He is leading us to do.

I am so grateful that we are actually moving forward.  This training phase has been so hard for us.  Up until now we have been finding it hard to do more than 20 minutes at a time, if that.  We really want to move forward but our time is just so limited right now.  It feels good to have a plan that will help us move forward, even during this very busy fall season.

Two positive articles…

Béli_Vörös_Welcoming_the_Spring

We are in the middle of our home study at this point.  Two visits down, two to go.

We are doing our Hague required training, as well as the online training seminar that Lifeline requires.

At this point, we are knee deep in all the information about everything that can go wrong, all the problems to expect, learning about the effects of orphanage living on attachment and brain development, etc.  It can be very discouraging, and I have REALLY struggled with it.

It is good to read something positive!! A friend who adopted several years ago sent me a great article today:

Adopted Children by the Numbers

There was also another great article was in a Rainbow Kids weekly newsletter.  It was a brief profile of six happy adoptees, and the topic was that although you mainly hear about the angry, maladjusted adoptees, the reality is that the majority of adoptees conquer the struggles they began life with and go on to be very happy and well-adjusted.

The article pointed out that we may already know many happy adoptees but we just don’t realize they were adopted.  Also, there was the encouragement that “It’s going to be O.K.  It is not a mistake to adopt.  Kids who really want to be in a family are waiting and hoping that you will be the answer to their hope and prayer. They shouldn’t have to suffer (and YES, they are suffering) because someone else is unhappy with their life. These waiting kids? They have no one to love them. You could be their someone.”

I think the Lord wanted me to read those.  I know Satan would have us quit before we even get started, but we truly believe the Lord would have us to move forward, even though we recognize there may be struggles. I know we have to read all the worst case scenario information, and be prepared for that.  We need to be willing to move on in spite of the fact that it may be very difficult.

But sometimes it feels overwhelming to read about everything that can go wrong.  Sometimes you really need the boost of focusing on all the things that can go RIGHT!

The issues we are working through now is what special needs we should be open to, as this will be a special needs adoption, and what our timeline should be.  We are once again  reconsidering our original timeline (we are currently on track for adopting late summer 2013).  Now we are wondering again if we should slow down and wait until the winter.

It will be Jack’s senior year and I may have a lot of pressure on me in the fall as we finalize college things, look for scholarships, etc.  I don’t know if I will have the time and energy to do what I need to do for him, homeschool our other 3 boys, care for our toddler daughter  (who will be turning 3 in the fall) and cope with all the immediate needs that our adopted child will have (surgeries, therapies, etc. depending on what the special need will be).

We need the Lord’s wisdom about how best to proceed.

Language Development of International Adoptees

Puigaudeau,_Ferdinand_du_-_Breton_Girls_with_Chinese_Lanterns

I am really enjoying the information from the Birmingham adoption clinic.

Tonight we watched a session I didn’t even want to do, as it was about educational issues concerning kids coming home at age 4 or older, so it doesn’t apply since we are committed to adopting a child under the age of 2…but we are required to do it anyway.

It turned out to be really good, though.  There is a lot of interesting information, and even things that I think could be useful to anyone.

Some info from this session that I found interesting was about language development.

The speaker said that unless the child has someone regularly in their life (a parent, for example) who speaks their language fluently, they cannot retain their own language, and that it is counterproductive to try, because they have so much else they need to be learning.

They said that a 3 to 4 year old will begin to lose their expressive language (ability to speak their native language) in 6 to 10 weeks, and their receptive language (ability to understand) in 10 to 14 weeks.

A younger child will lose it even more quickly. She said even a 7 to 9 year old will lose their expressive language in 4 to 6 months and receptive language in 9 to 12 months. A  6 yo will lose most of their language in 3 months, and all of it within 6 months.

She said we should not think of any of these kids as “bilingual”, as English is not going to be a “2nd” language for them…they don’t have parents speaking to them in their language, so they are not ESL and won’t benefit much from those type of interventions/programs.

I realized it is a common misperception that children adopted internationally will be bilingual, especially if they are older.

The speaker said that if the child had strong language skills in their first language, that will usually transition to their new language, too. She said that parents can get a false sense of security, though, because the kids start to communicate and converse at home, but there may still be holes in their learning that will show up when they get to school, particularly by 2nd and 3rd grade when concepts become more complex.

Of course, the younger they start learning English the more time you have to make up for any language deficits before they begin needing more complex language for school.

I find all of this stuff to be very interesting.  Although it initially felt like one more thing to do in order to complete our training, I have really appreciated the Birmingham adoption clinic seminar.

Moving along…

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Our first visit with the social worker went well!  Before we could schedule another meeting we had to write our autobiographies.

Of course, mine was about 3 times longer than David’s, lol.  He calls it my Magnum Opus, as it weighs in at 22 full pages.

I am sure the social worker isn’t looking forward to reading it, but my interview should go pretty quick.  She won’t have to ask me anything, it’s all in the autobio.  And I was really trying to keep it brief!

David’s, on the other hand, was only 8 pages long.  EIGHT PAGES?!  How can that be?  The questions alone took up 4 pages!

I’m thankful that we were able to finish them and schedule our next meeting for September 14th.  Our doctor visits are that day, too.

Now that our autobiographies are done, it is time to really buckle down and finish our training.  We won’t be able to schedule our final visits with the social worker until that phase is complete.