Does your Adopted Child have a Developmental Delay?

Where is the instruction manual?

First thoughts when you start to see an atypical behavior in your adopted child – AHHHHHH.

Please for your own sake, take a deep breath. You don’t know if you child is suffering from the baggage that she had to bring with her along the way or if she is actually suffering from a developmental delay.

As long as your child isn’t harming himself or anyone in the family you can somewhat relax. I know that is difficult because this is now your child and you need to figure out how to help him.

Developmental Pediatrician:

  1. Talk to your pediatrician about your concerns. If your child is jumping down a flight of stairs continuously or if they are swinging off of the  chandeliers, I would even set up an appointment with a developmental pediatrician.
  2. Developmental pediatricians have the ability over several months with meeting with your child to determine if this is something  developmental or just a few things that need to be worked out at home.
  3. If your child is having difficulty keeping up with their milestones there are a few directions you can take depending on his age.

Early Intervention:

  1. If your little boy or girl cannot complete an age appropriate puzzle in the 0-3 range – first make sure they have seen a puzzle before (that was my mistake). If they have worked on the puzzle and cannot place the pieces appropriately or they are not crawling, talking, or walking on time, early intervention is your best option.
  2. Early Intervention will provide a free developmental assessment of your child, which may include a speech pathologist, an occupational therapist, a physical therapist and/or a social worker. The tests they conduct will allow you to know if your child is on the right path or needs a little more help in a certain area.

School Age Intervention:

  1. If your child is school age, contact the school district, the school principal and the school psychologist in writing and ask for a developmental evaluation. At the school, your  child will be evaluated by the same types of professionals that assess children in Early Intervention. You are also able to do this privately but this will cost you. 
  2. Once the school tests your child they will be able to tell you if your child needs a  504 plan, an I.E.P. or is functioning at grade level. I will go into what a 504 plan and an I.E.P. are at a different time; however, if your child needs some extra help – fight for the I.E.P.. 

Behavioral Therapy:

  1. Another idea that many adoption specialists recommend is working with a social worker, psychologist and/or a psychiatrist. These professionals can help with working on a plan, which will make the family more cohesive.  If the child needs medication or simply behavioral therapy these are the professionals you want to work with.

Remember:

If your child is suffering in some way, a solution to the issue is not overnight. Their life is not a race but a marathon to growth, happiness and success. 

Along with the worries, don’t forget to have fun along the way. Sometimes when you have many therapists coming and going you forget your child needs some down time and fun with you!

I would like to hear your stories on any types of intervention your child needed along the way. 

 

 

 

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Raising Awareness about Foster Care Adoption

According to NationalAdoptionDay.org there are 117,000 children in the American Foster Care system waiting to be adopted this year. National Adoption Day, which falls on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, was created to raise awareness about the many children waiting for forever homes.

Since the year 2000 about 70,000 children were placed into loving and caring families; making numerous children’s dreams answered. On National Adoption Day in the year 2017 over 5,000 children’s adoptions were finalized. (1)

However great this effort is, there are unfortunately children entering foster care each day, through no fault of their own. Many are placed in foster care due to abuse, neglect or abandonment.(2) Through the tragic disruption of their lives, these children are usually in desperate need of loving, caring arms to hold them and let them feel safe.

Even with constant endeavors such as this, regrettably over 20,000 young adults are placed out of foster care due to their age. (1) Children are only able to stay in foster care up until the ages between 18 and 21; leaving them vulnerable and sometimes unready for the world around them.

National Adoption Day was inspired by the former presiding judge of Los Angeles County’s Juvenile Court, Michael Nash. He voluntarily opened his court on Saturdays to finalize adoptions to reduce the backlog court cases. (2)

This holiday, which falls on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, was created in the year 2000 by  Dave Thomas Foundation and its partners, The Alliance for Children’s Rights and the Freddie Mac Foundation.   At that time these foundations encouraged seven cities to finalize and celebrate adoptions through foster care. (2)

The National Adoption Day Collaborative grew to include the Congressional Coalition  on Adoption Institute and Action for Children. Currently there are over 400 events in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam.(2)

I am adding my voice to raise awareness for all the children languishing in the foster care system. If we open our homes and our hearts, many more children can have the stability and love they need and are desperately seeking.

 

 

(1) NationalAdoptionDay.org

(2) https://www.davethomasfoundation.org/our-programs/national-adoption-day/

People Say the Oddest Things

The strange comments my family hears on a regular basis. This is how I want to reply today.

Let me hear your responses to these comments!

  • People just adopt kids of other races because the parents feel they need to stand out and parade themselves.

Yes. That’s why people do it (Not). Maybe they just wanted a family – duh.

  • You’re the next Angela Jolie.

Yes because my all of x number of children look like a gaggle and I look just like her (lol).

  • Are they biologically brothers and sisters?

What(!)? You are really going there? How none of your business is this.

  • Are you the nanny?

I don’t get paid enough to be their nanny.

  • Where are their parents?

Right here. Why do you ask?

  • You did a wonderful thing, there is a place in heaven for you.

No, it was pretty selfish. We wanted a family and here they are, my beautiful babies.

  • It must be hard for you to bond with them.

Was it hard for you to bond with your children, is that why you are asking me?

Side note:  (For new parents, it may take some time for bonding but that doesn’t equate with love. I loved them the minute they were placed in my arms.) (Also, some women who give birth have difficulty bonding.)

  • It is so sad that you do not have biological children.

No it isn’t. We love our children more than anything.

  • Adopt an Irish baby.

Really now? Why?

  • They must look like their father.

Nope.

  • They look just like you, is this your second marriage?

Why are you asking me if this is my second marriage? Are you on your second marriage?

  • They don’t look like their father.

You are right. Aren’t they beautiful!

  • Your children are the spitting image of you.

Hmm…is it the hair that gives it away. (Mine is light; their hair is much darker.)

  • Why do you and your kids look so different?

Why do you and your kids look so different.

  • They look like their grandpa.

Really, how can you tell?

  • Adoption comes from a sad place. You don’t have biological children and the children aren’t being raised by their biological parents.

You married didn’t you? Are you biologically related to your husband? No right, but you still love him (I hope). So what does biological really mean to you? What are you trying to imply? We are happy.

*At times, it is hard to know how to respond to these invasive questions and comments. Some people are just naturally curious, others are nosy or ignorant and still others may be in the process of adopting themselves.  We have to gauge our responses based on who the person is and how we feel the response should be. When the topic of conversation is so personal, it is never wrong to say what you are feeling. Many times I just say, I am not comfortable responding to that question. If it is a comment I sometimes pretend I didn’t hear it.

I would like to know some comments that other adoptive parents have heard. So email me, post here and let me know!

Have a wonderful day.

 

 

 

Umm…The Racist Comment

Ok here goes my first blog – and it isn’t a easy topic –  I apologize.

Internationally Adopted and/or Minority Adoption:

My son came home from school yesterday and said a girl made a racist comment about the color of his skin and about the country he is from. He refused to elaborate.

I basically heard from him : rude comment + skin color + birth country = racism. Got it.

But do I?

The verbal garbage that he heard was enough to make him feel less than or unworthy. He did not know how to navigate the nasty verbiage that was slammed in his face.

And I feel that is my fault. Mom Guilt (sigh)

I do try to teach my children about racism, differences in all shapes, sizes, colors and socioeconomic disparity.  I thought I worked really hard to explain how racism might affect them. How racism impacted me, my father and my siblings throughout our lifetime. Yet here I was listening to my son, who said he had no idea what to do about it.

Maybe my talks weren’t enough?

I have to do better as a parent to speak with my children about what to do when someone says or does something due to their ethnicity.

The Talk:

So I went back to my thoughts on the matter and expressed to him what I believed from the heart to be the truth (again) and how he can handle himself the next time it happens. Hard, yes because I do not know if I gave him the answers he was seeking.

He only gave me a nod.

I hope I was able to give him some comfort level that this person unjustly targeted a part of him that is beautiful and to me perfect – he is my son after all. I also told him he needs to immediately find a safe adult and explain how uncomfortable the situation made him feel.

I kept talking but I don’t know if he was listening.

Question:

How many of you moms have sat there in the same seat I am in now and thought, “I have to make them feel confident about all of those traits that I find so overwhelming wonderful but that others may target.”

Information Craze:

You hear it all now: racist crimes, racist police (not all just a few, the police help us) racist marches, racist groups.

And you wonder how much does your child absorb? It’s everywhere they turn and what is the impact on their self identity?

A Racist?

That got me thinking…

What does it mean to be racist, or make a racist comment or “joke?” Are those two things synonymous or interchangeable? Do we all do this subliminally without thinking about it? What can I do to change this? Is it possible or is it innate?

This is half of my family I am talking about here – not my immediate family – hallelujah. The elders cannot change the way they talk. I am considered a minority and the elders say racist things to me and don’t think anything is wrong with this.

Is it generational or is it behavior that starts in the home as children? Is it content influences like the radio, television and now the internet?

What I do know is what we say or do as parents might carry on through our children. We have a mighty job to think about!

And hopefully today my son has a better day and understands that this disgusting comment does not belong to him. It is not his burden to carry, it is hers.

Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks for joining me!

 

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton