We need support, friendship, love
Even if we’re temporarily withdrawn and
spending a lot of time at home cocooning
with our new addition, we value our friendships. Please continue to check up on us and
to e-mail, text, call, or stop by. If you were in
our life before, we still want you in our life
and in the lives of our children!
Adopted children may need to be
parented differently than biological
We are not spoiling them. We aren’t making
excuses for poor behavior. Rather, we are
parenting a child whose background may
be very dissimilar to anything we’ve experienced. A child who has a fear of abandonment shouldn’t be sent to another room alone
for a time-out. The types of consequences
that work for other children might not work
for a child who doesn’t have the same sense of
value of her possessions and who doesn’t understand what it means to have privileges. As
parents, we must be flexible to help meet the
individual needs of our child, even if it means
that we do things a little differently.
Please don’t feed my kids.
For children who have known hunger, food
means love. We want them to learn to love us,
their parents and siblings, before they bond
with extended family, neighbors, and friends.
I know that they stare longingly at anything
edible. I know that our two-year-old puts his
head on the table and looks at you with puppy
dog eyes. But, since we were not there to meet
his early needs (breast or bottle feeding, com-
forting him when he was sick, changing dia-
pers, kissing boo boos), we need to make up
for it by meeting as many of his physical and
emotional needs as possible now.
Many children who were adopted also have
food insecurities. Some eat until they vomit
and then start eating again. Others hoard
food, needing the comfort of knowing that
there is some saved for later. It is best to leave
all feeding to the parents unless specifically
This request encompasses any sort of
“treat.” Attachment and bonding are challenging enough without having friends and
family slip our children candy, shower them
with gifts, offer seconds at meals, or stretch
family rules. We’re already working our tails
off to get them to like us, so please don’t try to
get them to like you the most.
We may also discourage physical
contact at first.
Please do not insist on holding our children,
hugging them, or having them sit on your
lap. Many children who have lived in orphanages and institutions have learned to fight for
adult attention, and can give the false impression of being confident and well-adjusted. It
is very important that, initially, the parents
are the only adults who help fulfill these children’s need for physical affection. This also
teaches healthy boundaries, since no child,
adopted or biological, should feel obligated
to have physical contact with someone he or
she doesn’t know well.
Support and thoughtful gifts are
Many of us won’t specifically ask for help or
tell you what we need. However, I don’t know
any adoptive mom who would turn down an
offer to tidy/clean her house during those
first few weeks at home with a new child.
Likewise, coffee and chocolate are always
welcome, and may be just what we need to
get through the challenging adjustment!
If you would like to give a gift to our new
child, please consider something small that
the family can enjoy together, such as a frozen
meal, a gift card to the movies, or art supplies
Children are programmed to want and
expect love. When we provide it we are
not heroes, we are simply meeting one
of their very basic needs.