How to Use This Blog

A Wayfarer is a person who is traveling, a particular place, a circumstance, a stage of life, etc. Let's walk the road of adoption together. The journey is so much better with company!
Much of this information is useful for any adoption, but this blog is designed to be a
I hope this blog will be helpful to you in your adoption whether you are considering, waiting or home. I started this blog when we were adopting and found there was next to nothing on the web in any orderly manner. I set about to collect information for myself and then for others. Now, there are more sites for resources, but still not much that brings it all together. I hope this blog will serve as a sort of clearing house for Ethiopian Adoption Information. Please feel free to contribute your knowledge through commenting.
You can search by topic in three ways. 1. Go to the "key word" tabs on top and open pages of links in those topics. 2. Use the "labels list" in the side bar or 3. use the "search bar" above the labels list. You can also browse the blog by month and year in the Posts section or in any of the above as well. The sidebar links are to sites outside of this blog. While I feel they provide good information, I can not vouch for each site with an approval rating. Use your own discernment for each. If you have more to add to the topic, please add it in the comment section of that page or post.
And, please link to The Wayfarer Adoption Blog by putting my button on
your blog so others can use this resource too. Please link to this blog when ever you can and whenever you re-post things (or images) you have found here. Thanks!
The solid tabs are links to my other blogs for books and family. Check them out if you are interested.
Welcome to the journey!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ethiopian Christmas. Ganna

Hi all, I just wanted to pass this SUPER GREAT opportunity on to you
all. Something I have been waiting for. I think we will go!

Dear Jill and Dave
Thank you for your email. Yes the event (Ethiopian Christmas celebration) is January 8, From 3-6:30 P.M.
The event is free and we will serve home made Ethiopian food, games
and music for the kids and story telling. The church Address is 15150
E. Evans Ave. Aurora CO. 80014. Soon we will post a detailed info on
our website This is Rekik's number (7204952943)she
is one of the event coordinators. Give her a call if you have


Christmas begins on January 7th Genna, the birth of Christ and ends with the Timkat procession and celebration, the wise men visiting Jesus. It is widely believed that one of the wise men was Ethiopian.
Here are some great sites for learning more!
this is the best one Blessing the Children
Christmas Joy
World of Christmas
How to have an Ethiopian Christmas
Celebrating and Ethiopian Christmas
Christmas traditions around the world
Abesha board discussion

Alexander doll still at Walmart

The Madame Alexander doll I posted about before is once again at Walmart for Christmas. The dolls are redesigned and looking fabulous. They have accessories and clothing as well. This African American doll has curly hair! Get her while she lasts!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ethiopian Guest House and what they do to help Ethiopia

I recently saw this video about the Ethiopia Guest House and what they do to give back to Ethiopia. If we were going back.......... and we hope to visit again one day, this would be a great place to stay. This is a place worth checking out. See the video at the top video section of the blog. See their web page here. Ethiopian Guest Home.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2010

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I just wanted to let you know that our 2010 Christmas letter is ready for reading. I know, too modern for some. But, really this is way more economical and much less time consuming. So, send me yours electronically too! I care about you, not how you send it. :) Have a blessed Christmas full of peace and joy and hope.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A different kind of Christmas Gift

Looking for something different?
There are many ideas out there.

You have probably heard of giving a goat for Christmas.
Here are some of those programs:

What about giving water for Christmas?
You can do that through
  • SIM                      SIM also has other projects you can donate to in specific countries. 
  • Compassion International                Compassion also has other projects you can donate too, food programs, sponsor a child, give a pig, etc.  

 Sponsor a Child
 There are tons of ministries and projects through whom you can sponsor a child. Check out the charities links and labels on this blog to learn more. Or look at the right side bar, Everyone Can Make a Difference.

More gift ideas

Hey, more gift ideas here. I was looking for a certain t-shirt, which I did not find yet.... but did come across some other shirts and items that would be great gifts that have meaning!

  • Every Child Ministries has this t shirt for sale on Squiddo through Cafe Press. You have to scroll down to find the shirts if you are interested. 

  • Hope for Africa and several other Africa design shirts are available at this site.  Zazzle

  • Compassion International funds many humanitarian projects throughout Africa and the world. They sell CauseWear to promote the ministries and projects and to raise money for the efforts. See CauseWear by Compassion International. Click any of the items on the left side bar to see more products.

  •  A dolls heart sells handmade dolls from around the world. They are your typical cloth dolls and on their heart they have embroidered their country flag and name from what I understand.  The site donates all proceeded to various orphan care ministries around the world. They rotate featuring those they sponsor on the site. Go check it out.

    NEW Ethiopian doll at Target

    There is a new doll being sold at Target, Toys R Us and on Amazon. Rahel from Ethiopia!!!!!! What a smart doll maker to come up with this. Ethiopia is the number one country for international adoptions and with the adoptions comes the parents to market to . Well, I would buy one! She is part of a collection of dolls from around the world. They also include Asia and Hispanic dolls among others. $24
    Interactive site for these dolls 
    See her here. Rahel.

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    World Aids Day 2010

    Today there is a focus on how AIDS has effected the world, what can be done to help and how severe is the situation. Many of us who have adopted children from Africa have had to face the AIDS epidemic first hand. Some of our kids are AIDS orphans, some are HIV +. Anti viral drugs are available and help those who can access them lead a relatively normal life. Education and awareness help prevent the spread. In Africa it is largely a heterosexual disease, directly effecting the nuclear family.

    Here are two great resources that talk about the issues and what is being done.
    SIM Hope for AIDS
    SIM newsletter 
    Tom Davis' Red Letters blog World AIDS day
    Compassion International Many lies one truth
    World Aids Day site . Want to learn more?

    Go check it out. If you are moved to DO something, each of these has options for you.

    Today I thank God my sons are alive and healthy. I think of their birth parents who died of AIDS. I pray for those who still have their birth parents and pray for wisdom in life choices for the men and women, protection for the women and children who don't get a choice.

    Monday, November 29, 2010

    comfort items for your carry on bag, international flight packing list

    I just returned from Australia. This is my fourth LONG flight trip in my life and I just can not seem to get it together for the comfort items needed for such a long flight. I have now created a list. So, thought I would share since many of you are about to take a long flight. :)

    For more on packing lists and things for kids see the packing list post here.

    But, now here is a list for comfort items.
    • Empty water bottle, they will fill for you and it is really nice to get a sip whenever you want it. Kids too.
    • whisp tooth brushes, these are those little one time use things you can put in your purse or lunch box. make sure everyone has one for there and home again. Invaluable.
    • mini travel deodorant *
    • body or facial wipes (baby wipes do the same for face, body and personal use)
    • mini purell **
    • mini lotion **
    • mini tissues
    • extra pair of underwear for there and home again
    • comb or the fold up one with a mirror
    • chap stick *
    • breath mints or gum -sugar free-, also good for take off and landing
    • energy bars for those in between flights with no snacks and the airport delays and lay overs and when the meal time is just off with your body schedule and you just can not wait. DO NOT take nuts, many countries do not allow the transfer of "seeds" and nuts falls into that category.
    • pencil and paper for those little notes you just might forget
    • u shaped neck pillow or something like that.
    • carabeaners (metal clip) to clip pillow to bag during transfers
    • your own ear buds the ones on the plane are not great. 
    • that flimsy cardboard/foam nail file (no clippers or mini pocket knives)
    Of course if you have got a baby, toddler or preschooler you will also want:
    wipes, bottle, diaper, extra outfit x2. toys and activities are recommended on my regular list. :)
      The items with a ** need to be put in a quart sized zip lock bag and scanned through security separately.  I have not had any problem with any of these. The  items with * are not a required item to be packed separately, but one security person did suggest that I include them in the bag, just in case..... whatever, not hard to do.

      Ok anyone else want to add?

      Thursday, November 25, 2010

      International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Nov 25

      Today is Thanksgiving in the USA. Everywhere else it is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. OK, I love Thanksgiving and I think we could combine the two--yes. All the men watching football could be inundated by advertisements void of the maltreatment of women.......... and others promoting kindness and consideration to all, and the elimination of violence against women and children. Our homes could be places that are safe for us and for others who need a safe haven.  I am in Australia and if I can find the poster again I am going to photograph it. It is awesome! Basically it states that it is time for men and boys to come together in support of their mothers and sisters and wives, It is great, It takes us all, start now with those around you, promote in your sphere and do something with your resources to eliminate violence against women, in your home town and in your country and in the countries that hold your heart across the seas. Wear your white ribbon  and tell others what it is for, Start the trend! Nov, 25th Thanksgiving AND the international day for the elimination of violence against women.
      Good Day,

      International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

      Written by Anthea Basson, NIO   
      Thursday, 25 November 2010

      As we observe the 2010 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, let us acknowledge the widespread and growing efforts to address this important issue. No longer are women’s organizations alone. From Latin America to the United States, from Asia to Africa, men and boys, young and old, musicians, celebrities and sports personalities, the media, public and private organizations, and ordinary citizens are doing more to protect women and girls and promote their empowerment and rights.
      The social mobilization platform “Say NO-UNiTE” has recorded almost 1 million activities implemented by civil society and individuals worldwide.  In August this year at the fifth World Youth Conference in Mexico, young activists from around the world were clear in their message:  “It’s time to end violence against women and girls!”  Member States, too, are engaged.  As of November 2010, my database on the extent, nature and consequences of violence against women, which also logs policies and programmes for combating the pandemic, has registered more than 100 reports from governments.
      This year’s observance highlights the role the business community can play – from developing projects to providing direct financial support to organizations working to end violence and embracing the principles of corporate social responsibility.  The “Women’s Empowerment Principles”, an initiative of the UN Global Compact and UNIFEM, recognise the costs to business of violence against women and are now supported by more 120 leading companies.  A growing number of media outlets are bringing light to bear on so-called “honour-killings”, trafficking of girls and sexual violence in conflict, and are raising awareness about the benefits to society of empowering women.  Yet much more needs to be done.  In homes, schools and the office, in refugee camps and conflict situations, the corporate sector can help us to prevent the many forms of violence that women and girls continue to face.
      My UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, and the Network of Men Leaders I launched last year, have generated welcome momentum and engagement.  The word is spreading: violence against women and girls has no place in any society, and impunity for perpetrators must no longer be tolerated.  On this International Day, I urge all – Governments, civil society, the corporate sector, individuals – to take responsibility for eradicating violence against women and girls.

      Tuesday, November 16, 2010

      Free Rice

      My daughter found this game today in her computer class at school. Free Rice. It is a web site where you play vocabulary games and win RICE grains. As you win them, a coordinating amount of food is donated through World Food Programme. Check it out.

      Thursday, November 4, 2010

      Christmas is coming!

      Christmas is coming.  Here are some ideas for adoption supportive gifts. Some are for adoptive families and others support adoptive families and the idea of adoption. In addition to these please click on the side bar labels tag for PRODUCTS. There are ton of great little companies and products out there. If you know of more please put them in the comments of this post so we can all go check them out! Share, share, share!

      little books about your family by My Creations here
      J Woods Jewelry makes the most fabulous stuff with your kids photos on it. WOW! I love it. This is just an awesome and very special gift for anyone you love. Mother, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, daughter. See it here.

      Scrapbook My Adoption is a site where you can create an adoption book. This is an easy idea for those who want to do one but find themselves not really into scrapbooking, with out time for it, or just need an easy way to get it done. Check them out.

      New book!!!!! In On It: What adoptive parents would like you to know about adoption. YES! Finally a book for all of you wanting to help your family fall in love with the idea of adoption and fill an important roll in your family. What they should know, what is different about adoption vs. birthing a child, how to interact, tactful things to say, etc...... Maybe this is just what you have been looking for. What a great way to announce your adoption to the grandparents. In On It.

      Mandy Moon site has some unique gifts on the theme of adoption and multiculturalism. Creative gifts for those you love with a theme you love.

      Deirdre and Company is another place for some really unique and cool jewelry. This can be for anyone, there is stuff on the adoption theme. There is stuff for moms, and other women in your life. Neat stuff. I like it a lot. Hop on over to see the shop.

      Junkposse has a wonderful selection of unique and utterly beautiful and unique jewelry items. Many with the theme of adoption and lots for mom, gram, sis and daughter. All lovely and handmade. This is an adoptive family. I have a necklace made by her and I love it. Good quality and good service. The box it came in was such a treat as well. See Junkposse.

      Another Etsy seller. Sara's Treasure Box.
      She has some cute adoption pendants. I love this one:

      TheRHouse is another Etsy site selling adoption jewelry and t shirts. Pretty cool and I think they do custom mommy necklaces. Hmmmm......... I like the hand stamped idea and look.

      Here is a link to another blog which has a great post on this topic and TONS of links to sites which sell gifts with a purpose. Visit Kat.
      Adoption Exchange has a page of gift ideas that give back or support adoption. While there is some overlap there are some other ideas too. Check it out here
      Well, have fun!

      Monday, November 1, 2010

      Jewelry for sale to fund humanitarian trip to Ethiopia

      Looking for a way to support some work in Ethiopia and buy fun jewelry. Maybe Christmas shopping? Birthday? You are a good friend..... thank you........ etc. :)
      Check out Somewhere in Colorado. The crafter is raising money to go to Ethiopia to do some work at an orphanage. Check it out here.  Here is a very very small sampling of the jewelry you will find.

      National Adoption Day and Month

      November is National Adoption Awareness Month and celebrations are happening in every state. It is likely there is one near you. Or you can make one up yourself with some friends and family. Go here to find out about events near you and how to get involved.
      All the information about National Adoption Day can be found on the web site by that name. Here. has some great articles about National Adoption Day.
      Go here to read about it.
      Day by Day activities to celebrate can be found here.
      Some ideas include:
      share your families story on line or in an article somewhere.
      celebrate families created through adoption with a gathering.
      share in your child's classroom about the gift of adoption.
      buy a book about adoption for your school library or child's classroom library.
      work on your life books together
      work on a project to raise money and awareness for an orphan care project and adoption.
      celebrate your child's birth culture.
      watch an adoption themed movie.

      How did this all get started?
      In 1976, the governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, announced an Adoption Week for his state. Later that same year President Gerald Ford proclaimed that Adoption Week would be celebrated nationally. President Reagan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week in 1984. In 1995, President Clinton, proclaimed November as National Adoption Month.
      The celebration usually includes National Adoption Day with courthouses throughout the nation participating and hundreds of adoptions being finalized simultaneously.
      National Adoption Month is a time to celebrate family and to make others aware of the need for adoption here in the US through the foster care system. Many families also adopt internationally and this is a good time to also highlight that need, however the official focus is domestic adoptions. States, communities, and agencies hold events during the month to bring the need for families into public view.

      For information on celebrating see Celebrating National Adoption Month with day by day activities for ideas.

      This information was gathered from

      Monday, October 25, 2010

      A word to the wise on groups, blogs and your privacy

      This was just brought up on one of the groups I am on. It is not the first time and certainly not the last. Pre-adoptive parents join these groups to get information and support. They feel a sense of safety with these on line friends. Parents create blogs and post events in their adoption along with some very personal stuff. They want to share with others they love and care about like family and friends. They want to be helpful to adoptive parents coming along behind them looking for resources and answers. They want to get answers and encouragement when things are hard or frustrating. Good intentions. Good perspective. Good purpose. Sadly not all the members of these groups and followers of blogs are "friends" and not all are even adoptive or pre-adoptive parents. The truth is that there are some agencies who are unscrupulous and have "their people" on group sites and surfing blogs and facebook (etc) in order to look for "problems" with their families and to "defend" or control information regarding their own agency. They also use this as a recruiting tool. Many times they are in "spy" mode. That is to say they are not using their real name or are pretending to be an adoptive or pre adoptive parent. Some agencies are more notorious for this. Some agency reps are not in spy mode and are up front about their presence, this just seems more honest to me. Many groups do not allow anyone who works for an agency to be a member. Lots of people keep their blogs private before the adoption is final and many still after. Agency specific networks are often maintained by staff of the particular agency. Some are parent led but still have staff members as moderators. Some staff members are adoptive parents themselves and are on these boards or have helped to create them.  Others don't allow their own staff on the parent boards at all. Not all agencies are unscrupulous and not all will sneak around to learn stuff about you. Not all agencies have such a bad rep underground that they feel the need to control deceptively.  In fact, I think most don't. With all this in mind it is very important to be aware of this when posting. And, be careful which agency you do end up choosing. Unfortunate, but real.

      researching adoption agencies
      choosing an agency
      questions to ask an adoption agency
      how to choose an agency questionnaire 

      Tuesday, October 19, 2010

      Sunday, October 17, 2010


      Hi all,
      I just looked at the maps and stats for my blog. There are tons of you all over the world. That is sooooo cool. Way beyond my wildest dreams.
      Anyway, noticed that some of you are in Australia. I am going to Australia later this year. What do you recommend? We will be in Brisbane for a conference.

      spam again

      Ok, thought I had cured the spam issue. not so. Still working on it. Sorry.

      Friday, October 15, 2010

      sorry for the spam

      I am sorry for the spam. If you follow this blog and get posts sent to you.... you have noted that my blog has been hacked. Hoping I have fixed it. Thanks to a reader for alerting me.

      Wednesday, October 13, 2010

      Adopting from Ethiopia?  I guess you are in good company as this article suggests you are joining thousands of prospective parents in your adoption journey

      Looks like Ethiopia is soon to be the number one country, even ahead of China, in international adoptions. I am glad to see that this article also notes the strong efforts of Ethiopia in improving the orphan care in country as well as ethical standards in adoption. That is good PR.
      Check it out.

      Tuesday, October 5, 2010

      Ten Questions for Parents Preparing to Adopt or Foster
      Posted: 05 Oct 2010 07:40 AM PDT
      This comes from Empowered to Connect (Karyn Purvis).
      We (Empowered to Connect) are often asked what questions parents should consider as they make decisions and prepare to adopt or foster. Below is a list of ten questions that we believe will help parents better assess the journey that lies ahead. You can also download and print a pdf version of these questions.

      Ten Questions for Parents Preparing to Adopt or Foster

      We believe it is critically important that parents who are preparing to adopt or foster a child must be honest and realistic about the journey and the challenges that lie ahead. Just as Jesus in Luke 14 challenged those who would follow him to ‘count the cost,’ so too parents who respond to God’s call to adopt or foster must be willing to count the cost of the adoption journey and prepare to “lay down their lives” to love their child and help him or her become all that God intends.
      The following questions are designed to help parents (and parents-to-be) begin to honestly assess the journey ahead…and what it will require. We encourage you to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider these questions. They are not meant to scare you or in any way discourage you from continuing on this amazing path. Instead, our desire is simply that these questions will point you toward the hope and help that you need to form a strong and lasting connection with your child as you faithfully follow God’s call in your life.

      1. Are you willing to acknowledge and fully embrace your child’s history, including that which you know and that which you will likely never know?
      2. Are you willing to accept that your child has been affected by his/her history, possibly in profound ways, and as a result that you will need to parent your child in a way that exhibits true compassion and promotes connection and healing?
      3. Are you willing to parent differently than how you were parented, how you have parented in the past, or how your friends parent their children? Are you willing to “un-learn” certain parenting strategies and approaches that may not be effective with your child, even if you have used these strategies and approaches successfully with your other children in the past?
      4. Are you willing to educate yourself, your parents, family and friends on an ongoing basis in order to promote understanding of your child’s needs and how best to meet those needs?
      5. Are you willing to be misunderstood, criticized and even judged by others who do not understand your child’s history, the impacts of that history and how you have been called to love and connect with your child in order to help him/her heal and become all that God intends?
      6. Are you prepared to advocate for your child’s needs, including at school, church, in extracurricular settings and otherwise, in order to create predictability and promote environments that enable your child to feel safe and allow him/her to succeed?
      7. Are you willing to sacrifice your own convenience, expectations and desires in order to connect with your child and help him/her heal, even if that process is measured in years, not months?
      8. Are you willing to fully embrace your child’s holistic needs, including his/her physical, emotional, relational and spiritual needs?
      9. Are you willing to seek ongoing support and maintain long-term connections with others who understand your journey and the challenges that you face? Are you willing to intentionally seek and accept help when you encounter challenges with your child that you are not equipped to adequately deal with?
      10. Are you willing to acknowledge that you as a parent bring a great deal to the equation when it comes to how your child will attach and connect? Are you willing to honestly examine (on an ongoing basis) your motivations and expectations relating to your adoption journey? Are you willing to look at your own past (including your past losses and trauma, both big and small) and consider how your past may impact your interactions with your child? Are you willing to consistently examine your role as parent as you experience challenges and difficulties along the journey?

      As you read through the above questions, you may have concluded that some of the questions didn’t apply to you and your situation? That may be the case to some extent, as every adoption and foster care experience is unique. However, we encourage you to spend some time reading and talking with other experienced adoptive and foster parents about what you should realistically expect as you travel this journey. We find that parents sometimes start with less than accurate assumptions about how the adoption or foster care journey will unfold, and as a result they are more likely to form unrealistic expectations. We believe that these questions are helpful and instructive for all parents considering or pursuing adoption and foster care, and we hope that as you work through them they will lead you toward greater insight and understanding.

      Thursday, September 30, 2010

      Behavior: is it adoption or is it age?

      I just read a great article in Adoptive Families. (click here to read it). It is a common question for parents to wonder about their kids behavior. Is it adoption or is it age? Is my child extra whinny because she is 4 or because she is insecure about her family and belonging? Is my son aggressive because he feels left out of the sibling trio going to school or is it because he is adopted and reliving feelings of abandonment? Adoptive parents are often asking themselves this sort of question. Parenting adopted kids can be tricky with all the normal age and situational behaviors and adding in the ones touched by adoption. Well, this article addresses those concerns with professional and thoughtful answers. Go read it and be relieved. :)

      In our house lately there has been a bunch of "i feel left out" sort of manipulative and angry behaviors. K started school and N feels left out, the only kid, of four, at home. We do school at home, it is just not the same. The fact that he is the youngest is highlighted in bold and he is not happy about that and is not about to go down alone. His efforts to take everyone down in the "feel sorry for me" or "try to make myself feel bigger" efforts is getting to everyone. We have taken steps to make him feel special and loved and included but that fact is, he is still the youngest child, the only one NOT in school. He is gradually coming to accept this and maybe it is "his lot in life" but we hope he will enjoy his time with mommy all to himself and find the benefits of being the youngest sibling. Maybe, in time. But for now, we will be glad he is getting used to it, albeit rather gradually.

      Wednesday, September 29, 2010

      Colorado Springs get together

      If you live in the Colorado Springs area (or are visiting) you are invited to come to a get together for the Pikes Peak Africa Adopt Connection picnic. THIS Sunday October 3. We will meet at Fox Run Park in Black Forest (Northern El Paso County) around 12:30. Bring your own lunch. Contact me if you need more information.
      Please also consider joining our LOCAL group on Google.


      Friday, September 10, 2010


      I would like to mention that in trying to determine the age of our children it has been mentioned that we could check the dental progress. We talked to the dentist about this and our very good pediatric dentist let us know that in most cases you can get within a few years of the correct age with dental exam. This is because kids get and loose teeth at an imperfect rate. That is no kid is the same. They have a 3 year flex for normal.
      Well, I have also learned that in general people of African decent tend to get and loose teeth earlier than the European decent population. Asian decent persons tend to be later than the European decent population. Whether this holds true in your family is a matter of observation.

      I don't have any hard facts on this. In our experience the dentist told us the 6 year molars were developing in our 3 year old (accurate age). He is now 5 and no 6 year molars have erupted yet. He did loose a tooth on the bottom at age 5. His first!  For the kids we know this is certainly early, but not totally unusual. It happens for some kids to loose a lot of teeth in Kindergarten and others wait until first or second grade. Some loose them gradually.
      Teeth *usually* come out in the order they came in. I love that because it gives me a glimpse into his infancy that I missed out on.

      Flash cards and communication

      Communicating with your non English speaking child can be frustrating. We used a list of handy phrases in Amharic. See list here.
      We also used home made picture cards to show the action or need. We included: drink, eat, potty, sleep, dress, play, sick, happy, sad, hug, etc..... we did not use them as much as we used the Amharic phrases. First we used them together, but as we learned the phrases better we did not need the cards. We wrote the Amharic phrase on the cards so that we could say it. Some families have found the cards to be really helpful. You can make them yourself with clip art or you can buy some or download them on this site.

      I would mention that so called universal signs and signals still need to be learned and so some cards will not be self apparent. Some will, a picture of a child drinking is self apparent. But, a picture of a toilet may not be right away. Huh???? Well, most places the toilet is a pit in the ground. :) Does not look like our toilet.  So, some orientation will be needed but happens quickly. Do try to add the Amharic or Sidamic phrases so your child understands. 

      Thursday, September 9, 2010

      new site for ethnic dolls of all sorts

      WOW! A new site for ethnic dolls. This site has compiled and sells ethnic dolls made by Madame Alexander, Lee Middleton, Corolle, and other doll makers. There is a great selection and the prices are typical. Pop on over and check it out.

      Tuesday, September 7, 2010

      Adoption Exchange articles/ adoption booklet/getting started/while you wait/ choosing an agency

      I just got a great informative email from Adoption Exchange. It features articles for parents to be.
      I am linking to their pages here for your convenience.

      Steps to adoption
      read about it, join adoption groups in your area, talk to other adoptive parents, choosing an agency, what kind of adoption is right for you............... 
      Adoption booklet
      PDF full of great information in depth from the above article. 
      while you are waiting,
      things to learn about: read about potential issues, attend adoption classes and seminars, locate and contact schools and what they provide, health care providers, mental health providers, parent support groups, etc.
      choosing an agency tips for where to look for information, questions to ask and all about funding.

      Monday, September 6, 2010

      Resources for your email in box

      If you do not get the email magazine from the following resources I would HIGHLY suggest you sign up. You can get the links below.

      Adoptive Families
      This comes to your regular curb side mail box and is not free. But the online is just as informative and so far has been free for me. :) Secular and moderate.

      The Adoption Exchange
      has a wealth of informative and helpful articles. I reference them a lot here. It is great! Secular and moderate.

      Empowered to connect.
      Is the site of Dr. Karen Purvis of the Connected Child. You get a lot of really great articles and resources as well as updates on free video of conference talks on adoption and attachment. Great resource. Moderate to Christian, but for everyone.

      Rainbow Kids
      This is a site with tons of great resources for your family. Sign up to get their e magazine. Secular and very moderate.

      CASE Center for Adoption Support and Education
      This one has good information and resources. Secular and left leaning.

      National Adoption Day

      2010 National Adoption Day
      National Adoption Day is a collective effort to raise awareness for the 123,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families. An unprecedented number of courts and communities across the nation will come together to finalize thousands of adoptions of children and to celebrate all families who adopt. Their website, has been updated for 2010 and is ready for you to register your events. Applicable events to register are: a day of finalizing adoptions in family court; a press conference for local media; a party or picnic celebrating families who have adopted children from foster care; an adoption fair with information about adoption and local community resources.

      Please take a moment to register your event at:

      Wait No More
      Focus On The Family is hosting its 3rd “Wait No More” conference in Colorado on September 18, 2010 at Grace Chapel, 8505 S. Valley Highway, Englewood, CO 80112. You'll hear more about the children who are waiting, the process of adoption from foster care and ways to support adoptive families. In addition, agency and county representatives will be on site to answer questions and help you get started.

      For more information about this event, please visit their website I care about Orphans.

      This is a great web resource and has a lot of information on it and helpful post by parents.
      Just wanted to let you know about a new resource and partner. Adoption Experiences is a blog that is putting together people and experience to help each other. They have partnered/linked with The Wayfarer Ethiopian Adoption Resource Blog and are posting my posts over there as well. Hoping this will help more families out there. Go visit them. The Wayfarer on Adoption Experiences.

      You can also click their button to the right in the side bar.

      Wednesday, September 1, 2010

      Monday, August 30, 2010

      New Song and video on adoption

      Steven Curtis Chapman, Christian singer and song writer, and long time advocate of adoption has teamed up with Veggie Tales to give us this beautiful clip of what I hope is going to be a great new Veggie Tales movie. It features adoption!
      It's A Meaningful Life is scheduled to be out for Christmas and can be pre-ordered at Christan book stores and on line. Learn about the movie
      The song: You Were Meant To Be, by Steven Curtis Chapman. See it here.
      The video and song are beautiful and include families that have adopted internationally, and inter-racially.
      It is worth a look and sharing with those you know and love.
      Look here for all the details  of the partnership of ShowHope and Veggie Tales and this Christmas effort to raise money for orphans.

      Tuesday, August 17, 2010

      New Africa pendant available

       These hand crafted pendants are a unique way to show your love for Africa and your support of Ethiopian Adoptions. Tess, adoptive mom,  is making these to sell because she got so many compliments on hers.  Of course as an adoptive parent you know your money goes to a good cause too.

      The pewter pendant has a pressed pattern into it and a heart can be cut out anywere in Africa.  The copper one has a silver inlay that can say anything you want and in any font. This includes a heart cut out anywhere in Africa that you want.  The pewter is $15 ($10 each if you order more than 4). The copper is $15 without the silver inlay and $20 with the silver inlay($10 if you order more than 4 without silver and $15 each if you order more than 4 with silver).  My contact info is: Tess O'Day 260-609-3001.

      new blog for hair!

      There is a new blog for hair care for girls! Go check out Marlies Hair! Cute. Great ideas and product suggestions.

      Monday, August 16, 2010

      school, letter to teachers, ELL

      WOW! It is time for school already! I am getting my four kids ready for school. I have a 7th grader, a 5th grader, a Kindergartner and a Pre K. Well, I have written my 4th annual letter to the teacher regarding Asperger's and now I am getting ready to write the first of many annual letters to the teacher regarding adoption. So, I thought I would post about resources on that topic.

      Here are some sites that deal with school readiness for your recently adopted school age or pre school child.

      Helping your child answer odd and intrusive questions from peers, when you are not there to help:

      Language and getting ELL services:
      ELL  program to use at home?

      Some other sites that talk about school interaction and teacher letters. 
      if you need to inform teachers about attachment issues:

      more hand outs for teachers:

      In my opinion the following link is the ONE STOP for all adoption and school related information:
      Hoping this gives you somewhere to start and great resources for Back To School!

      Wednesday, July 28, 2010

      grief, acting out and anniversaries

      Well, I am once again reminded of the good advice so many parents and therapists give adoptive parents. Watch out for anniversaries. Why?  Well, the anniversary of the adoption and the anniversary of their arrival in the orphanage or any other significantly traumatic event is likely to trigger a reaction.  No, they don't know it, they are totally unaware.  But, if your son or daughter is suddenly acting a bit jittery, not sleeping well, extra needy, or just plain naughty with no apparent cause........ ask yourself if this is a significant anniversary time frame for them.  They likely just need a bit of extra attention, love and care and a good dose of security, attachment  and encouragement.

      I was just musing over the sudden and unexplained naughty and jittery (minor stuff, but more than usual) behavior of my boys and asked my Bible Study ladies to pray for us as there is just something up, but what.  Well, in saying it out loud I realized that we are a week away from the day we picked them up from the orphanage two years ago.  Joyful event for us, certainly traumatic for them.  Either way, a big huge change, a good change, for them also a scary change.  They did this last year, so why did I not expect it this year?  Silly me.  One of our sons also does this in January, which is the month he was taken to the orphanage.  I had a little chat with them about how they may be feeling and why and gave them more encouragement and reassuring.  They were pretty good the rest of the day.  They just need an overdose of love and affection twice a year and they are fine.  If I can just remember this next time!

      Wednesday, July 14, 2010

      Adopting TWO (or more) at one time.

      Pros for adopting ONE/Cons for adopting MORE than one
      Will get our full attention
      Financing one set of costs is all most people can manage
      Adjustment for family is not as extreme
      Bonding and attachment will be less strenuous (not that it won't be strenuous)
      Processing the grief of one is an armload in itself, two is a mountain
      Two is more expensive than one in daily cost of living

      Pros for MORE than one/Cons for ONE
      If you live in a very homogeneous area, it would be nice to have someone who is like you
      Siblings would always have each other
      Having a sibling would help them adjust to a new environment.
      If I am processing one's grief and attachment why not two (this is hard!)
      I want to adopt two eventually, why not just get it over with now, plus the fees will be reduced
      If you wait to adopt another child later they may not be close in age, you may loose heart and never do it, etc.
      instant family

      Our experience:
      We adopted our two boys at the same time, they were 3. We also have two daughters who are older and close in age to each other 20 mo, sibling adjustment is another post!). We are glad we did it, but we could not have picked a more difficult path, or been given more grace in doing it. If you are up the the challenge it is well worth it for all the reasons above and more. But, challenge it is. We are two years home and that is a lot different from 6 months or one year. You might have read other blogs or have friends who have adopted more than one at a time, wait until they have been home one or two years before considering their answer to your questions as full experience. They are still becoming family. With more than one, that is a longer journey.

      Our boys presented opposite everything so we got to see the variance in kids all at once. (Definition of terms: attachment = feeling of love. Bond = trusting parents to meet all needs). Son 1: transferred attachment within the first 3 months, then tested hard for another four months, bond took an entire year to establish. Son 2: no attachment to transfer. Teach attachment, struggle and work hard and terribly tired, combating fear and anger. Attachment took about a year, bond took an additional 10-12 months after that. We are in a good place with both of our sons at this time. We would not have survived so well if we had not done our homework beforehand. We read everything and had a game plan for any scenario and we used them all and had to come up with more and read more.

      There are two ways to go about the multiple child adoption.
      You can adopt siblings. That is the most common way. Social workers will tell you that because siblings already have a bond to one another they will not have to expend so much energy bonding to eachother and have more energy to bond to you. If you have other kids in the home then that is only half true because they still have to bond to them too. And you will have to consider if they have even been living together. Many are separated by living with different relatives or different child care facilities due to age or gender. That sibling bond can get in the way of forming a bond with the parents until you gain the trust of the most dominant sibling (usually the oldest). Sometimes that is not so hard, other times it is the hardest part of the entire attachment/ bonding thing. Siblings also share almost all the same history (sometimes there are different fathers).  That is a big plus and if there is an older sibling they remember for everyone and will have more for you to write down. However sometimes there are different life experiences due to gender or age. Siblings can be manipulative and controlling. But, really don't all kids try this. If you adopt just one and have another child at home you are still going to deal with this. For that matter, an only child will pull that one. It is the nature of children! It is also less expensive, adoption fees and validation and USCIS, etc. for siblings are just less.

      Or you can adopt two unrelated children at the same time. Not so common, and lots of agencies will not allow you to do this. Ethiopia DOES allow this. Mainly agencies discourage this because they say it is harder to form a bond with two (but they don't apply this to siblings for some reason). Since this is what we DID DO, I will say that most of their issues are well founded, but also apply just as well with a sibling adoption. The benefit of non siblings is that the children do not already have a hierarchy nor a leader to block and usurp your authority. To me that is a big bonus. Of course this does not always occur, just like the horror stats for unrelated adoptions do not always occur (like in our case).  If the children come from the same child center then they may already have an attachment or bond to each other. They at least have feelings about each other. Siblings may not like one another but they know there is nothing to do about that. Unrelated kids may not like each other but they don't automatically think there is nothing to be done about that. Of course both scenarios will have manipulative and controlling behaviors and well, you have to work that out with siblings no matter how they become siblings. Everyone will see the opportunity and charge you fees for two, ok the paperwork is slightly more. Even after they are home and ARE siblings you still get to pay twice because they don't share the same blood line. Even though at this point it is not more paperwork.

      It comes down to what you feel is most important for your children and family and what you feel you and your current family (and marriage) can handle. Two is a tough road but it is soooooo worth it. By researching and reading all you can you are doing great thinking on this and you will make a good choice for you. The best thing I can say is if you choose to do two, do not be afraid. Trust that it is what you are called to and you can do it.

      Do your research, learn all you can, make your plan, bring  your kids home, work your plan, learn more, make more plans, work your new plans, repeat...... and one day you will wake up and find that you are really really truly feel like family and you are glad and you are not as tired as you have been. That is a good feeling.

      Resources for adopting more than one child at the same time:
      the above article covers: adopting unrelated children and siblings

      If you have done this and would like to share your blog, please post it in the comments.

      Birth family meetings

      Everyone has their own feelings on meeting birth family members. It could be really stressful, emotional or awkward. Stories I have heard run the gamete. Birth mothers and fathers ceremonially giving their children to the new parents, prayer, good wishes, letters for the child, etc..... all the way to it was awkward, and they demanded money. For most, the experience lands somewhere in the middle.

      Different agencies have different policies on meeting birth families.Some have you wait until after the US Embassy appointment, others after court only, others still, after you have picked up your child for the final time and will keep him or her with you indefinitely. Some don't even want you to meet them at all. You will have to abide by your agencies preferences. Ethiopia's official stance, as far as I can gather, is that it is ok to meet birth relative AFTER you have taken custody of the child and that there be NO money exchanged in any way.Of course no matter what your situation, it is really up to the birth family if they want to meet you. You can request or not request, but if they want to or do not want to meet, then that is what will happen. (per your agency rules).

      Meeting a family member can be beneficial for your history records for your child. They will inevitably want to know something about their personal history. We all want to give our children as much as we can and with Ethiopia, that is often very very little.

      In case you have the opportunity to meet a birth relative of your child you may like to have some questions ready for the occasion.I would suggest taking these with you at every outing. We asked to meet a birth relative. We assumed we would be given the yes or no and if yes a date and time. We did not expect that that person would be waiting for us when we picked up our children! I did not have my questions and was so flustered with everything new and different, and jet lag that I did not have my normal ability to think on the spot. Much of what I wanted to know is lost forever, if it was even knowable. Take your questions with you just in case! Identify your critical questions ahead of time in case your time is short or emotionally draining.

      Here are mine:

      Things I want to know about my sons:

      (Some of this you may know from your referral. Of course you can verify what you have been told)
      you can ask about translations of words, dates, meanings, etc. A lot of this can also be done on line after you are home. Get your criticals asked before you run out of emotional steam on both ends.

      Who gave it to him
      any thing significant about his birth or time of his birth
      date of birth at best guess
      place of birth
      what was the child like as an infant

      tribe of child's ancectors
      tribal markings or traditions still kept
      religion of family
      Family information and names, anything known
      Region he is from, city name where born
      what was his or her home like
      Family History social and medical
      Did he live with family or only in the orphanage
      what was his relationship with birth mother/father like
      how did mother and father meet
      married when and where, what was that like
      names of as many family members as possible, parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles
      are they still married/separated/divorced/death of one or both parent
      does the child know and have an idea about this situation
      cause of death
      why adoption
      hopes for the child to be shared with child
      happy or favorite stories to be shared with the child about family or self

      What age did  he come to the orphanage
      Under what circumstances did he arrive
      What was his physical condition when he came
      How long did it take him to adjust to the new situation, any new situation, new teachers, etc.

      Medical history of family
      Birth details
      Infancy, any information,
      Early childhood, any information
      home life details
      parents work

      Social history
      What does he like to eat
      To do
      Who is his friend
      Who is his favorite nanny/teacher
      What is he good at

      Is there any textures of food or clothing that bother him,
      Sounds or smells?

      Does he like soft or firm touch
      Does he like to be held
      Does he tend to go full force ahead or is he more cautious

      What is his sleep routine/habits/schedule
      What does he do to show displeasure or that he is upset
      Does he come to an adult when hurt or upset
      Does he tell stories, tell about experiences, ideas, etc
      How does he relate to other children his age
      To younger children
      To older children
      To adults
      To strangers
      To animals
      What is it that seems to be the thing that upsets him most
      Does he share his feelings
      Is he happy or sullen or contemplative
      Does he play alone or with others mostly
      how does he play with others

      What is his educational status
      Can he read
      Do math
      How much does he know in English
      What language does he speak mostly
      Is he obedient
      Is he compliant
      Can  he stand up for himself
      is he willful or stubborn

      Names of friends and caretakers

      Sunday, July 11, 2010

      Sickle Cell Anemia

      While Sickle Cell Anemia is not normally found in Eastern Africa, there has been more movement about the continent due to all the wars and refugees. So, you never know if you will come up against it. I am including it here just in case you need to know.

      From the Mayo Clinic

      Sickle cell anemia is an inherited form of anemia — a condition in which there aren't enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout your body.
      Normally, your red blood cells are flexible and round, moving easily through your blood vessels. In sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells become rigid, sticky and are shaped like sickles or crescent moons. These irregularly shaped cells can get stuck in small blood vessels, which can slow or block blood flow and oxygen to parts of the body.
      There's no cure for most people with sickle cell anemia. However, treatments can relieve pain and help prevent further problems associated with sickle cell anemia.

      Other on line resources:
      National Institute of Health
      Kids Health

      Celiac Symptoms

      It has recently come to my attention that some kids who are of African decent and birth may have symptoms of Celiac Disease. It is common for kids adopted from African countries to have allergies and dietary issues with milk products and gluten. So, in case you think the giardia or intesinal issues are comming back and back and are frustrated here are some sites where you can check out the symptoms of Celiac to see if that could be your little one's issue or not. Apparently the disease can be somewhat elusive to diagnose. My understanding is that the grain Injera is made from, Teff, is a gluten free grain. So...... who knows.

      Information from Heart Spring
      Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, and barley. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the small intestine. Specifically, tiny fingerlike protrusions, called villi, on the lining of the small intestine are lost. Nutrients from food are absorbed into the bloodstream through these villi. Without villi, a person becomes malnourished--regardless of the quantity of food eaten.
      Because the body's own immune system causes the damage, celiac disease is considered an autoimmune disorder. However, it is also classified as a disease of malabsorption because nutrients are not absorbed. Celiac disease is also known as celiac sprue, nontropical sprue, and gluten-sensitive enteropathy.
      Celiac disease is a genetic disease, meaning that it runs in families. Sometimes the disease is triggered--or becomes active for the first time--after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection, or severe emotional stress.

      Celiac disease affects people differently. Some people develop symptoms as children, others as adults. One factor thought to play a role in when and how celiac appears is whether and how long a person was breastfed--the longer one was breastfed, the later symptoms of celiac disease appear and the more atypical the symptoms. Other factors include the age at which one began eating foods containing gluten and how much gluten is eaten.
      Illustration of cross-section of small intestine with detail 
showing villi on the lining.Symptoms may or may not occur in the digestive system. For example, one person might have diarrhea and abdominal pain, while another person has irritability or depression. In fact, irritability is one of the most common symptoms in children.

      Something to think about anyway.

      symptoms from Celiac Spruce Association
      Wrong Diagnosis
      Celiac Disease Foundation
      Celiac Central
      Celiac Disease Center PFD

      Friday, July 9, 2010

      African American 18 inch doll

      Olivia is a new doll put out by Constructive Playthings. She is the newest in a series of cute 18 inch dolls and is African American with curly hair. Very cute doll. I notice she is on back order along with her wardrobe. My daughter has the first one they came out with and she is a great doll. Not quite as big around as the American Girl doll but they can still share all the same clothes. She is sturdy and has not had any mishaps with her construction. :) I think this a great doll to look into, and for the price! Well, you just can't beat that! Olivia with a 15 piece wardrobe -shown- (or any of the other dolls) are just 49.99. There are several clothing sets you can buy too. Three outfits for 34.99. Or you can go for the big set and get one doll with 12 outfits (and that includes shoes and hats and stocking!) for $144.99, that is a great deal! There are also bedroom sets, carry suitcase, horse sets, scooter set, etc. all for less than American Girl and yet very comparable and interchangeable. Check her out at Constructive Playthings.

      In case you are skeptical of the quality of these dolls..... check out GaliGirls These are the same dolls. I love that there are dolls with Jewish history! Now, if they could make an Ethiopian Falasha doll. That would be really cool. These dolls are $35. I think they are very cute and their vinyl faces, arms and legs are quite nice. 

      UPDATE: I did write to GaliGirls about a potential Ethiopian doll and I got a note back right away that they ARE working on an Ethiopian Story. When the economy improves they will publish it!!!!! Keep watching their web site and I will put it up here when it comes out too. For now the only doll they are planning on is this one. From the email: "dark skinned doll is geared more toward the girl of sephardi or ethiopian background - you can see her here:"
      I did suggest another sort of doll with the curly hair eventually. We will see. But for now you can look forward to the story and use whatever doll you feel is right for your family. 

      Tuesday, June 29, 2010

      DENVER area Ethiopian food take out availabe at Queen of Sheba

      Chaltu from Queen of Sheba Ethiopian restaurant in Denver, CO contacted me as to ways to serve the adoptive families in the area. They are providing a wonderful service right away, here is the note about it!

      Also, one of the first solutions that I am able to begin providing right away for families are prepared Ethiopian dishes that are packaged to take home in larger quantities so that you can have Ethiopian food without having to dine in at a restaurant. Right now these dishes are provided in 32 oz. containers unless a larger quantity is requested. The dishes that are currently being offered are as follows:
      1. Doro Wott (Spicy or Mild) - Chicken drumsticks or breasts seasoned in a medium spicy or mild sauce. Served with hard boiled eggs.
      2. Keye Yesiga Wott - Tender beef served in a medium spicy sauce with special seasonings.
      3. Yesiga Alecha - Same as #2 but in a mild sauce with special seasonings.
      4. Yebeg Wott (Spicy or Mild)  - Lamb served with an herbal seasoning of sauce with spices.
      5. Yatakelt Wott - Simmered mix of cabbage, potatoes, & carrots with special seasonings.
      6. Gomen - Cut mixed greens cooked only with a special blend of spices.
      7. Misser - Split red lentil stew cooked cooked in a medium spicy sauce with special seasonings.
      8. Atar Wott - Yellow or green split peas cooked in a mild sauce.
      9. Timatim Fitfit - Fresh Tomatoes diced with onions, jalepeno pepper, and herbal seasonings mixed with injera bread. Served cold.
      10. Azifa - Whole lentil salad mixed with onions, jalepno pepper, and herbal seasonings. Served cold.
      If you have questions please feel free to call me at the Queen of Sheba restaurant at 303-399-9442.
      Chaltu Kelly

      So, go order up some yummy food and take it home for your celebration, guests or family dinner. Yum!

      Tuesday, June 22, 2010

      Toddler/preschooler adoption boys and girls (and young boys specific challenges)

      If you are interested in adopting older kids, that is older than infant, over 2 years of age..... well, you have likely learned that there are more boys than girls available for adoption in Ethiopia, in every age group, but the largest number are over the age of 3 or 4. When given the choice people often believe a girl will give them less grief and will bond faster. Is this true? Well, I don't really know, but I do know that adopting any child is a risk and you need to be educated before you dive right in, and certainly before your child comes home. I would like to share with you some of my thoughts on bringing boys into our home. If you have boys, well, you already know what to expect. I will say this one thing, any normal boy behavior that is exaggerated is a BIG HUGE sign of attachment and bonding issues as well as grief.  No, they are not just more active or wily or rowdy or whatever you call it, they are having issues with attachment. For those of you who have only girls right now and are considering adding a boy, this is a new ball game! WOW! I thought I was prepared. Wrong. For those of you  for whom this will be your first child. Well, a boy is a wonderful thing, you just have to harness all that wildness into tame and that is a lot of work. You will do just fine.

      We adopted two preschool aged boys who were very close in age in 2008. Honestly, the whole process was very fast as they were waiting and older. 5 months sign with agency to home. We have two older daughters. At the time we adopted they were 9 and 10.

      Some other posts that may be useful depending on where you are at:
      Older child adoption post on blog
      Artificial twinning post on  blog

      From my reading and experience these are some things you should consider, in my opinion:

      Time for toddlers/preschoolers:
      *I would highly recommend getting Love and Logic or some sort of action/consequence logic based parenting book/program and knowing it well. Because you have no history with these children, and they are older, and established in behavior, you will need to rely heavily on a parenting technique you choose and be consistent with it. They are coming from chaos and will need a high level of order and consistency and nurture.
      *Are you willing and able to stay home with them for the first year they are home? This is critical for attachment and bonding that they have you as their only care giver for this time.
      *Example of what we are doing: 6 months home then 1/2 day preschool for 3 mornings a week (BIG HUGE Mistake!!) should have waited until a year home. After a year home  3 mornings of 1/2 day prek a week was ok with Serious mommy time on days home and afternoons home, when we missed this they acted up. We will do 1/2 day kinder. They will not have an entire day away from me until first grade. Due to insecure attachment our younger son will home school prek a second year before going to kinder to solidify the relationship while our oldest son is able to handle 1/2 day kinder all week in the fall.
      *At four or five and certainly if older,  it is likely that they have experienced the typical Ethiopian spankings. More like child abuse in my opinion. My boys have unnatural fears and reactions to any form of physical punishment due to this. Even a thump on the hand brings an out of proportion fear and even shaking. Once we realized this we were able to alter things greatly. Time in and thinking times and re-do's have been great. They have fostered trust and responsibility. 
      * Boys need a lot of attention, or, rather supervision!

      Attachment and Grief toddler/older:
      You do not know and may never know the background of these children. If they have had a secure and healthy attachment to their birth mother through age 3 then they will likely have a healthy and secure attachment to transfer to you. You will have to earn it. This takes longer than with younger children. Once it is transferred you will enjoy a great relationship. We have one of these, it took about 1 year and is solid. If your child has only an insecure attachment/unhealthy or none at all, you will be starting from ground zero with this child. Not only will you have to earn them transferring their trust to you but you will have to teach them what a secure and healthy attachment looks like. This involves taking the child back through infancy steps of feeding, dressing and bottle, eye contact, high and intense nurture and dependence. We have one of these too. It is hard work, it is not fun and it is exhausting and sometimes downright discouraging. But, if you devote your all to it  you will succeed. We have come so far at a year and a half and expect that by 3 years we will have that secure and healthy attachment we are working toward with our son. And, he is NOT by any means a terrible child, not RAD (reactive attachment disorder), but he does not know what a healthy attachment is nor how to make one and he, at 3, had his way of living and not trusting down pat. The mind needs time to re form those malformed circuits and lots of re training. It is hard, but worth it. I have a bunch of stuff on attachment on the blog if you want to start there it will give you links and articles to start with.
      *Four year olds are perceptive and can remember things that gave them joy and things that hurt them deeply, but they can not articulate it nor can they deal with it. They do not know it has effected them and you have to tell them what they are feeling and why and how to manage those feelings.  Example: our boys have opposite ways of showing they are feeling insecure. With our younger son, he gets really friendly and silly, seeking attention from others, he is also manipulative to control others. We had an out of town visitor. The boys met him once before. The first day he was here the boys were unruly and disobedient and wild. Normal boy behavior on the excessive side. I took them to preschool and told the teacher today may be bad. I picked them up and our youngest had sat in the thinking chair nearly the entire morning. I altered our time together back to the intense and deliberate first year stuff and they are fine now. They needed reassurance that it was all ok. They were great at school the next day.
      * We use attachment terms with out boys on their level. This is how we do it: Strong boys can give and receive love, they give and get hugs and say I love you and receive I love you. Strong boys look right in the eyes when talking with someone. Strong boys tell the truth. Strong boys use their words to help not hurt. Strong boys use their hands/feet to help and not hurt. Strong boys are strong enough to obey. Strong boys control themselves not others. Etc.............If they show weak boy behaviors then they get to go practice strong boy behaviors. It works like a charm. They want nothing more than to be strong.

      Behavior and Boys:
      Do your reading on normal boy behavior. Basically what you will see with older/preschool/toddler boys is that attachment issues show up in exaggerated normal boy behavior. This makes it tricky to detect issues. It is important to detect and deal with it so that you do not have latent RAD come up when they hit age 9 or 10. Boys are a very different beast than girls. So, you will need to educate yourself on boy development up to age 4 or the supposed age of your child and a bit beyond, and know what is normal and not, etc... Go to play places and watch boys the age of your child to be. Tell parents there that you are adopting a 2-3-4-5-6 year old boy and in general they will answer any questions you may have and for the most part they will not spare you the dirty details of parenting a boy. Very helpful. If you attend a church you could volunteer for that age in the child care department for a few weeks. If you have girls only, it would be a really good idea to expose them to as many ill behaved boys of that age as possible before their brother(s) arrive. It is usually a big shocker for girls who have beforehand  had no brothers. Boys are full of wild energy and it CAN be directed and tamed. We have a book we love on raising boys. It is from a Christian perspective and I don't know where you fall with that so if it is not your cup of tea, just ignore this part. :) The book is called Wild Things. It is really great.

      Preschooler boys (and somewhat girls):
      *Preschoolers are moving OUT of the dependency and cuddly phase. You will have to force (playfully and gently :) this phase on them again with you as they need it for attachment. Their resistance to this may stem from a physiological rather than psychological stand point. So, be prepared for this and have your plan.
      *The bond with dad comes naturally and needs to be tempered until the bond with mom is secure. That is hard for dads. The boys resist mom because they were hurt by mom leaving or dying and the female caregivers at the orphanage may not have helped out with a generous dose of nurture, not too nurturing really, and they did not stick around either. Preschool age makes this harder as they are physiologically ready to identify with dad and are done with the cuddle mom phase. It has to be repeated and dad must wait. This is HARD and worth it. The bond with dad will not suffer at all by doing this, but the bond with mom and therefore the child's lifetime of bonding ability will suffer if it is not done. Some mom's have told me that their biological boys are so loving....... that is great, still waiting for mine. I think we missed that stage by adopting them older. But, the do love mom and I can see that in the fact that they are thoughtful and that is wonderful. They learn and that is gratifying. They help and that is rewarding. I love my boys and you will love yours too.

      Age of child:
      If the referral is stating that these kids are 4, they may well be 5 or 6. If you are expecting a 7 year old, he could be 9. A two year old could be four, etc. Be sure you are willing to deal with that. After they have been home about 4 months you should be able to assess their ages with a few tools including the Ages and Stages questionnaire your pediatrician will have or you can find it on line. It is unlikely that they would be younger. At referral ours were said to be 2. We determined that they were actually almost 4 and just 3 when we picked them up. That is not terribly off. They are 8 months apart in age. The referral birth estimates and the birth dates on the adoption birth certificates were not even close to the same and we have altered them again at our validation. Your home study needs to say you can take children up to the age they may be because the court may change their age from the referral dates.

      Boy competition:
      Boys are competitive by nature. Two children the same gender will be even more competitive. This has been a difficulty for us and we have had to firmly and artificially establish a hierarchy based on age and implement things to secure that. We are also holding back the younger one in school because it would be disastrous to have them in the same grade.  You will need to consider what you are willing to do to help them each find their own identity apart from each other.  They are not naturally brothers, and have not had the advantage of getting to know each other from the birth of the younger one. All this has to be learned and it is not easy, it is retraining the brain.  In general the first few months you will have to deal with the male posturing and competing for alpha. It is crazy that you would have to deal with this at this young age but you DO, it is ridiculously real. The competition does not end there though. There is the vying for attention, the bigger item, the more something, the parents attention, etc.  Ok, my girls did all this but NOTHING like the boys. Testosterone is like steroids for all this normal kid behavior.

      I am sure lots of you out there have boys and could add tons to this. Please feel free to do so in the comments!!!! The more information the better. If you have girls that would be a really helpful addition as this has a lot about boys and there are plenty of families looking for info on what a toddler/preschool age girl might be like.

      Other resources on toddlers and preschoolers:

      adopting a toddler
      Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft  book

      adoption-attachment and infants (applicable to toddlers)
      attachment check list by age
      Related Posts with Thumbnails

      Sponsor a Child


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