Sunday, May 20, 2007

Straight talk about our issues in adoption

Are you adopting or thinking about it? People always want to know two things: were our kids healthy when we got them and have they had any behavioral issues? (Sadly I think a lot of people are afraid to adopt/foster a child because of the potential for these things.) SO I'm going to share about what our experience has been. Every experience is different but I think ours is probably pretty typical.

Okay so the health. Our boys were totally healthy by third-world standards. When we got them, both boys had lice and giardia (common parasite.) This meant using lice shampoo and shaving their heads (but not before I got lice too and freaked out and chopped off a bunch of my hair, ugh). Giardia meant changing lots and lots of horrible, stinky, MESSY diapers (quite an adventure on a 30 hour flight home), collecting lots of stool samples, and finally getting them treated for it (oral medicine.) But not before both Kevin and I caught it. Yuck! Biniam had two ear infections when we got him as well. Antibiotics did the trick for getting rid of those. Biniam also had some developmental delay, as he wasn't walking yet. He's totally caught up to Yosef though (on his own, we didn't get him help or anything) and developmentally they're right on track!

Behavior issues? For the first several weeks Yosef would cry mournfully in his sleep. It was the saddest thing. Biniam would also be upset at night, so we'd stick them in bed with us to comfort them. This went away after awhile. (I HIGHLY recommend utilizing attachment-parenting methods for adopted children, like "baby wearing" and co-sleeping, lots of touching, etc). Biniam had some psychological issues with food. If he saw food he'd scream and cry at the top of his lungs until you gave him some--even if he'd just eaten and was full. This could be really frustrating and draining, as he'd see me start making breakfast and become totally inconsolable until it was ready for him to eat. This lasted until oh, about a couple of months ago. (So over a year from when we got him.) He still has some quirks when it comes to food, like if i have something for the boys to share and break it in half, he gets really upset, as if he's not getting enough or something. But he has come SUCH a long way.

Overall that's been our experience. If you're adopting a child from a third-world country, expect that they will have lice and parasites, and remember that bonding and attachment take time. Read up on attachment and get your child in to the doctor within a few days of coming home for a checkup. Basically, going into this with your eyes wide open is key. Whatever you do, DON'T expect things to be picture-perfect, but that God will be faithful.

Now when I look back on those early months with our sons I'm amazed at how far they've come. I also remember the joy we shared in those times and how God sustained us, because it was difficult.


Kristen Borland said...

great post. it so important to keep your "eyes wide open" but to also have hope. thanks for both!

and i remember witnessing the stool collection. oh yeah, good times.

Brianna Heldt said...

Oh you were over that one day, I remember that! I was still in my pj's when you got here. Ah, yes, good times. :)

erika said...

Your blog is actually what hooked me on to (I was going to say blogging, but I guess I only read blogs.) But I've been hooked reading about Biniam and Yosef's adoption. I have long thought of adopting. And it might not ever be what God has planned, but I'm coming to terms with the idea that God will have ways for me to be involved. Just learning about the process has been a great blessing. Thanks for letting us hear about your lives.

Lesley said...

I check your blog all the time too.
I have to say that these are almost identical issues that we have had with our two adpted from Ethiopia too. (They are 1 and 2 year old sibs)
We had the unbelievable gross diapers, the lice, the food issues (actually still have that to some extent) and the need for tons of hugs and cuddles. Also, with us, the 2 yr old needs EXACTLY the same as the 1 yr old which can get frutrating if you are giving a quick hug as you pass by.."me hug too, me too" is always the cry!
And yes, tiring and exhausting and difficult.
BUT incredible and fun and amazing and awesome too :)
Thanks for your blog, I love it!

lisa said...

thanks for the insight!

Becky said...

You go girl.. no sugar coating here! I love the honesty, kids aren't perfect. It's hard to believe how far they've come. Bin especially is so much stronger!

Brenda said...

Thanks for the insightful and inspiring post. And thanks for giving these sweet boys a wonderful home! They are truly blessed to call you mom!

Mike and Rachel said...

good real post.

Swerl said...

Thanks for the wisdom. I appreciate your honest advice!

Allison Brown said...

Thanks for telling us all about your experiences, the good and the very difficult. I'm so glad you're real about all of it. And I love hearing about all of your family's experiences.

Tempting Weddings said...

wow, i woudl surely freak out about the lice and i dont even knwo what ther other one is...ughghgh, but then you look, and labor is hard, i think i woudl rather get lice than go thru labor again, surely. hahah. I am adopted and all my brothers were, only one was my moms out of a family of 5 chidlren, so it is a HUGE blessing. When your kids run free and have each other to play with , yru rweard wil be ten fold. Nothing is better than a house full of children, nothing. and i am really glad too, you got the car! whho god is faithful.


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