Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dos and Dont's for Family and Friends

As we are getting closer to bringing Lily home, I have been doing a lot of reading about attachment. I came across this article and thought it would be good to share.


Do

1. Offer household help (running errands, preparing meals that can go right from the freezer to the oven, etc.) so the mother can spend more time holding the child.

2. Trust the mother's instincts. Even a first time mother may notice subtle symptoms that well-meaning family and friends attribute to "normal" behavior.

3. Accept that attachment issues are difficult for anyone outside of the mother to see and understand.

4. Be supportive even if you think everything looks fine to you.

5. Allow the parents to be the center of the baby's world. One grandfather, when greeting his grandson, immediately turns him back to his mom and says positive statements about his good mommy.

6. Tell the baby every time you see him what a good/loving/safe mommy he has.

7. When the parents need someone to care for the baby for a night out, offer to babysit in the child's home. (After the child has been home for a substantial period of time.)

8. As hard as it may be for you, abide by the requests of the parents. Even if the baby looks like he really wants to be with Grandma, for example, he needs to have a strong attachment to his parents first. Something as simple as passing the baby from one person to another or allowing others, even grandparents, to hold a baby who is not "attached" can make the attachment process that much longer and harder. Some parents have had to refrain from seeing certain family members or friends because they did not respect the parents' requests.

9. Accept that parenting children who are at-risk for or who suffer from attachment issues goes against traditional parenting methods and beliefs. Parenting methods that work for many children can be detrimental to a child with attachment issues.

10. Remember that there is often a honeymoon period after the child arrives. Many babies do not show signs of grief, distress, or anxiety until months after they come home. If the parents are taking precautions, they are smart and should be commended and supported!


Don't

1. Assume an infant is too young to suffer from emotional issues related to attachment. Babies are not immune.

2. Underestimate a new mother's instincts that something isn't right.

3. Judge the mother's parenting abilities. What looks like spoiling or coddling may be exactly what the child needs to overcome a serious attachment disorder. Parenting methods that work for many children can be detrimental to a child with attachment issues.

4. Make excuses for the child's behaviors or try to make the mother feel better by calling certain behaviors "normal". For example, many children who suffer from attachment issues may be labeled strong-willed by well-meaning family members. While being strong-willed can be seen as a positive personality trait, this type of behavior in an attachment-impaired child may signify problems.

5. Accuse the mother of being overly sensitive or neurotic. She is in a position to see subtle symptoms as no one else can.

6. Take it personally if asked to step back so the parents can help their child heal and form a healthy and secure attachment. You may be asked not to hold the baby for more than a minute. This is not meant to hurt you. It is meant to help prove to the baby who his mommy and daddy are. Up until now the child's experience has been that mommies are replaceable. Allowing people to hold the baby before he has accepted his forever mommy and daddy are can be detrimental to the attachment process.

7. Put your own timeframes on how long attachment should take. One mother was hurt when she was chastised by a relative who couldn't understand...after all, the baby had been home six months. It could take weeks, months, even years. Every child is different.

8. Offer traditional parenting advice. Some well-meaning family members will tell a new mother not to pick the baby up every time he cries because it will spoil him. A child who is at-risk or who suffers from attachment issues must be picked up every single time he cries. He needs consistent reinforcement that this mommy/daddy will always take care of him and always keep him safe.

9. Fall into the appearance trap. Some babies/toddlers with attachment issues can put on a great show to those outside of the mother/father. What you see is not always a true picture of the child. Even babies as young as 6-months-old are capable of “putting on a good face” in public.

10. Lose hope. With the right kind of parenting and therapy, a child with attachment issues can learn to trust and have healthy relationships. But it does take a lot of work and a good understanding of what these children need.

We have received SO much support in the process and we thank everyone for that! Please keep this list in mind as you continue to support us. I know we all want the best for Lily!

Adopted..the movie

Last night, Nate and I went to see Adopted the movie. It was put on by Bethany as one of their adoption trainings. This movie is very thought provoking and at times hard to watch. It follows 2 different families.

First, it follows a S.Korea adoptee in her journey to process her adoption and her place in the world. A lot of things she said resonated with me in terms of being an Asian American in a predominately Caucasian community. Being teased for being Asian was a part of my childhood as teasing is part of most kids' childhood. This was not something I talked to my parents about much and in retrospect, I wish I had. I hope that when Lily comes home and starts dealing with these same issues, I can be open and honest, helping her through this struggle. As a parent, I need to realize that this struggle of identity *will* happen. We will need to be proactive in terms of talking to Lily about her birth family and validating her struggles. We also need to learn more about what it means to be a multi-racial family and what that looks like day to day.

Second, it follows a family adopting from China as they go and bring her home. There was much joy and happiness of course. But, in between the sorrow and tension of the other family, it seemed almost inappropriate. Obviously they should be entitled to their joy - we plan on being joyful when we meet Lily for the first time. But, as adoptive parents we need to remember that the day we meet is still part of the trauma of their lives and they are being taken from everything they know and love.

Sometimes when we think of all these issues, it can seem overwhelming and we wonder if we will do anything right for Lily. The quote that really gets me is this "You only got her because she was abandoned. And she knows that at a younger age then you can imagine.". It breaks my heart that Lily was abandoned. But what gives us comfort is that we have been praying for Lily, her birthmother and all the things she will have to endure since we started this process years ago. We know that God has placed her in our life and we will do the best we can with His help!

Here is the trailer for the movie. You can also to go YouTube and see many excerpts from movie.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Great place for deals!

I discovered a website that posts our local deals and I now use it weekly! I used to use Savings Angel but I just couldn't justify the cost and the whole "pyramid" thing bothered me. Sarah's Deals is free and not only does she post grocery deals but she also posts about clothing deals, freebies, and how to use some of those great grocery deals you overstocked on. She is also on Facebook and it is nice to get little snipets of the deals throughout the day. Check her out!

http://sarahsdeals.blogspot.com

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Grand-Rapids-MI/Sarahs-Deals/103791508035?ref=ts

Friday, January 8, 2010

Finally some paperwork movement!

We had a few hurdles but we finally got our I800 approval! Our officer verbally confirmed it and will mail it on Monday. This paperwork says Lily can be adopted by us! We still won't expect our Travel approval for another 6-8 weeks meaning we won't travel until March sometime. But, it is one step closer and for that I am glad.

There is still alot of paperwork steps so still continue to pray for the right people to receive our paperwork and for quick turnaround.
*US immigration sends it to the National Visa Center (NVC) (takes about 10 days).
*NVC cables the US consulate of our approval (takes another 5-10 days)
*US consulate in China gets some paperwork from our agency and takes about 2 weeks to do their approval.
*Our agency representative in China picks up the consulate approval and bring it to the CCAA (China's adoption center)\
*CCAA double checks on Lily to make sure she is still eligible for adoption and her medical condition does not change.
*CCAA issues our Travel Approval

Once I find out we have been cabled, then I am going to ask for an update and hopefully we will get new measurements and some new pictures!