Will Russians Adopt Russian Children?


It will be interesting to see if the Russian government comes up with a plan to replace the foreign adopters, but there likely won’t be one since a good number of children adopted by Americans were special needs kids.  These kids simply are not adopted or taken in by foster families because the Russian government doesn’t provide the financial support families would need to care for these kids.  Special needs kids will likely spend their lives bouncing from one orphanage to another.

 

The foster care system has improved a lot since its beginning in Russia.  As was pointed out, many foster families initially took in kids to get the financial incentives offered by the government, then they quickly returned the kids to the orphanages.  While that still occurs, it is less common than it once was.  The main reason kids are returned now is the fact that these families are ill-prepared to take care of a kid with the emotional issues that nearly every kid living in an orphanage has.  Most were abused by their parents, then they were shipped off to an orphanage.  Few foster parents have the experience and training to deal with the fallout from such things.  So, they feel overwhelmed, and they eventually send the kid back to the orphanage.  Americans who adopt these kids tend to have the financial resources to get additional help and services when problems occur.  Most foster families simply don’t have the financial resources or access to any support network.

 

But, there are some amazing foster parents out there.  I work with several during my summer program, and it truly is amazing how they’ve created real families for these kids.  The two I work with most often adopted 4 boys and the other adopted 6 boys and girls.  The kids call the foster parents grandma and grandpa since they are older, having raised their own biological kids.  All of the kids are thriving, but the parents do struggle financially because the kids’ needs exceed the limited amount the government provides, and the foster parents have limited incomes themselves.  In Russia, students are required to pay for all of their textbooks and other school supplies each year.  You can imagine the financial impact on foster parents who take in several kids.  Clothing is another issue.

 

I’ve directed more of our programs to focus on the foster families rather than just the orphanages over the past couple years because kids in foster families really do have a much better chance for a normal life, but those families do need more support than the government provides and they can provide themselves.  Hopefully other small charities will see the benefits of working with foster families rather than just focusing on capital projects at orphanages that would actually be financed in many cases by the Russian government (which has directed a substantial sum to improving the housing at orphanages, though many other needs still are underfunded).  A little additional assistance goes a very long way with foster families, and the results are immediate and tangible.  While small charities can only do so much, they can have a pretty dramatic impact on a couple families that have made the choice to take in kids and give them a real chance at a normal life.

 

My hope is that parents who have adopted from Russia don’t give up on the kids left behind despite the decisions made by the Russian government.  Many of us working to help these kids have seen donations reduced by folks who want to send a message to President Putin.  Unfortunately, it will only be the kids that receive that message.  Putin has no interest in what foreigners think of his policies.  The kids, the orphanage directors, the orphanage staffs, and the foster families really do appreciate everything that charities and individuals do for them, even more so when their government makes these decisions.  Hopefully things will change soon in regard to foreign adoptions, but until then, those kids still need our thoughts, our prayers, and our support.

 

Jody Payne

Director, Kostroma Kids Program

Ascent Russian Orphan Aid Foundation

www.helprussianorphans.com

Info sent by: Deborah Mumm, Everything For Adoption

How to Help New Adoptive Parents


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So you know someone who has just adopted a child. They need to learn how to adjust to this child, to learn about the true personality of this child. The child needs to become attached to this new family.  It doesn’t happen immediately, even though it may appear it has. There are things you can do to help this family through this transition period.

During the transition, family and friends may feel a little left out. Grandparents, especially, may not be able to spend as much time with their new grandchild or dote on them as much as they would like. This is temporary. Remember: the goal is for the new child to securely attach to their parents. Once that happens, then you will be able to see them, take them on outings, babysit, etc. to your heart’s content! Until then, visits will need to be short.

If you want to help the new parents there are many things you can do:

· Make meals, package them in freezer containers, and deliver them to the new family

· Go grocery shopping and run errands

· Offer to clean the house, do the laundry, wash the car, mow the lawn, etc.

· Help address and stuff envelopes to mail out homecoming announcements.

· Be the contact person to share news and updates with other family and friends.

Be there for them if they need to talk or need support. It is an exciting time but usually overwhelming to both the child and the new family.

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach

Everything for Adoption

Embarrassing Parenting Moments


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I am a mom of 5 kids.  All have very distinct personalities. I love them each for who they are. But as a mom, there have been times I have wanted to dig a big hole and crawl in it when my child has said or done embarrassing things.  The good news is that we are not alone in this department, but when these moments occur we tend to not be thinking of that.

Here are just a few of the things my kids have done that I laugh about now, but was probably stammering and red-faced at the moment.

My oldest son was always very serious and liked things to be correct in his mind.  One day at the local grocery store we saw a very large woman bending over in the Ice Cream freezer.  We were not getting the best view of this woman.  She was very large. My son, about 4, shouts to me in what seemed to be his loudest voice, “Mommy, that lady sure doesn’t need any more ice cream, does she?”  I tried to move quickly past the woman and act like I didn’t hear him.  However, he wanted an answer so proceeded to say it again…even louder…with a “I’m right, Mommy.  Right? She shouldn’t eat more ice cream.”  The lady then looked right at us and glared.  It was horrible.

Another time was at a boys baseball game.  It was very hot out and a big guy strolled by us with no shirt on…and was a very hairy guy. My son then exclaimed, “Look, a hairy monkey!”

I could go on and on.  I am hoping to hear some great stories from other parents on embarrassing moments they have had with their kids.

Parenting is fun….just keep saying this!

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach– Everything for Adoption

 

 

Letter to Mrs. Obama about Russian Adoptions


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This is worth sharing…..A letter from an adoptive mother,Stacey DiBlasi Seeley‘s  on the Russian adoption ban

A few days ago thousands of Russian citizens marched in protest of their government’s new legislation banning adoptions to American families. There are more than 700,000 orphans in Russia; 120,000 of those eligible for adoption. Many of those children have families here in the United States wanting desperately to bring them home. I watched in amazement as these Russian individuals braved the cold weather and possible arrest to make a point. And then I looked at my son, who just six months ago lived in a Russian orphanage and thought: “Where is the fight on our side?” And so I reach out, the only way I know how and make an appeal to a mother’s heart:

Dear Mrs. Obama,

I am writing you today to ask for help with a concern that weighs so heavily on my heart. As I am sure you are aware, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that essentially ends inter country adoption between the United States and Russia. I could give you thousands of reasons why that legislation is cruel and unjust but instead I will give you just one: my child’s eyes.

I met my son Aleksandr at the age of 10 months in February of last year. I knew from the moment his eyes looked into mine, that he was indeed the child of my heart. This was not because his eyes sparkled with love and excitement but rather because they looked so uncertain. “Who are you?” those blue eyes said to me. And my soul answered: I am your mother. While other mother’s can look into their child’s eyes for the first time and say, “Welcome to the world Little One,” I understood that my little one already knew too much of this world’s chilling cruelty and I promised then and there to give him all the love and protection that a mother can give.

On August 4, 2012 we brought Aleks home at 15 months of age. He was quickly diagnosed as failure to thrive and he has global developmental delays but through amazing programs available through the state of Virginia and the excellent medical care and support of our military community, Aleks is flourishing and “catching up” to others in his age group! He loves pigs and horses, coconut yogurt and “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. He leans in to give the sweetest kisses to his Momma and Daddy and the twinkle in his eyes (that was absent when we met him) lights up my world. I never imagined that my husband and I would have to travel halfway across the world three times to find our son. But I would do it again and again.

My family is a success story and a blessing thanks to cooperation between this great nation and Russia. But right now, mothers here in this country cry desperately because they are losing their child due to this legislation. A child who has the chance to know a mother’s love will be condemned to life in a less than adequate orphanage where he or she will not ever develop a sense of self worth or know the love of family. What if that was my son? Oh God, I don’t know how I would ever rest if my child were kept from me in those circumstances. And that is why I am writing to you today.

Please, Mrs. Obama, I beg you to speak with your husband on behalf of all the mothers stuck in this limbo, those who have officially started the adoption process, who have held their babies in their arms or have stared deep into the eyes of their child a half a world away. We respectfully ask that President Obama and Vice President Biden appeal to Mr. Putin from a humanitarian stand point and fight for the child’s right to be able to continue to know the mother’s love they had a glimpse of on that first meeting. We hope and pray for an agreement that allows the families who have already petitioned to adopt their child in Russia to be united as a family. What do we lose in trying?

Shared by…Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach, parent of 5 great kids- 2 of which were adopted from Russia. Everything for Adoption

Parenting a Teen that Doesn’t Live at Home


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Our 19 year old daughter, adopted from Russia at almost 11, has not lived under our roof for about 8 months now.  We have done all that could to help her with her abusive past in Russia.  We have done years of therapy with a dozen therapists, wilderness therapy for 8 weeks, and residential therapy school for a year.  This has cost us lots of time, energy and of course, money.  But we’d do it all again to try to help her.  (It amazes me when people ask if we regret spending all this money on her.)  The therapy is there and sometimes we see glimpses of it.  She will use it when she is ready.

Last May, we made a family contract with simple home rules for her to follow and we would help her graduate high school and then get her into a cosmetology school. One rule was that she had to come home on school nights. (I know, we are tough…ha!) She broke the rule and had to leave.  She chose to go live with her boyfriend and his family.  She has been there ever since. 

We have told her that we still help her with future schooling if she can get a job and her GED.  Neither has been accomplished.  Sleeping until late afternoon each day might play a role in this somewhat.  We do get along better now that she isn’t home with us.  I have a hard time not doing the ‘lecturing’ about getting a job and an education.  I try not to.  She knows she needs to do these things to go to cosmetology school.

I am still her mom and love her.  I wish she was making better choices…but am glad that many really bad choices she was making a year ago are not being done much any more…at least to my knowledge.  I don’t get panicky phone calls in the middle of the night any more, which is a big relief.

It is hard not to think like a mom and worry about your kids though. My older 3 boys have all left home and gotten jobs after college.  I still have my 13 yr. old son who has some learning difficulties but is a great kid.  He seems to want to do the right things, most of the time. He takes his punishments willingly when he gets in trouble and seems to learn from his mistakes.

I pray that our daughter finds herself and finds the motivation she needs to do the things a girl her age should be responsible for.  It is hard to say NO to her when she wants new expensive clothes or boots.  We want what is good for her but she has chosen to live away from us and needs to learn how to fend for herself now.

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach

Everything for Adoption

Things You Need to Know Before Adopting Internationally


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To improve your chances for a successful adoption, you need to be as fully informed and prepared as possible. Do not assume people in the adoption business “must know what they are doing.” Read all you can on the subject, ask every question you have, and use every resource available to you. This is a major decision not only for you but also the child you are going to bring home. Below are suggested questions to ask yourself and others, checklists, and suggested resources. This is not everything but it is a place to start.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Do we thoroughly understand the process of attachment or parent-child bonding and the consequences of children experiencing insecure attachment or broken attachments?
Do we have the necessary commitment to make an investment in parenthood that raising a child requires?
Do we know what kind of child we would consider bringing into our home?
Do we have sufficient knowledge to ask the right questions about a child?
Do we know how to establish resources before we adopt that we may need after the adoption?
Do we have the patience to participate in pre- and post-adoption placement counseling to be prepared for the problems that will arise?
Do we have the financial resources including adoption subsidies to raise this child?
Does the adoption subsidy include appropriate psychotherapy and residential treatment if these become necessary?

Questions to Ask Agencies and Caseworkers

Is the agency willing to provide full disclosure of all records prior to adoption finalization?
What were the circumstances that placed this child in foster care and for adoption?
What is the history of this child?
What kind of abuse (physical, emotional, and/or sexual) has this child endured?
How long has this child been in foster care and what kinds?
How many times has this child been moved since birth?
What are the existing or potential problems for this child?
What post-adoption intervention resources are available should problems arise?
To get more ideas about what adoptive parents need to know before adopting, read Keck and Kupecky’s book Adopting The Hurt Child, especially chapter six “Dreams and Realities.”

Signs of Attachment Difficulties (Birth-one)

Failure to respond with recognition to face of primary caretaker in first six months.
Infrequent vocalizations-babbling, crying.
Delayed milestones-creeping, crawling, sitting.
Resistant to physical contact or appears stressed by it-rigid and unyielding.
Excessive fussiness and irritability.
Passive or withdrawn.
Poor muscle tone-flaccid

Signs of Attachment Difficulties (Ages 1-5)

Excessively clingy and whiny.
Persistent, frequent tantrums, sometimes escalating apparently beyond the child’s control.
High threshold of discomfort-seemingly oblivious to temperature discomfort; picks sores and scabs until bloody without manifesting pain.
Unable to occupy self in a positive way without involving others.
Resistant to being held.
Demands affection in a controlling way on the child’s terms.
Intolerant of separation from primary caretakers except on the child’s terms.
Indiscriminate display of affection, sometimes to strangers.
Problems of speech development q Problems of motor coordination-considered accident prone.
Hyperactivity evident
Feeding problems
By five, may be manipulative, devious, destructive, hurtful to pets, frequently lying.

Symptoms of Attachment Disorder (Ages 5-14)

Superficially engaging and “charming”: uses “cuteness” to get others to do what he or she wants.
Lack of eye contact on parental terms: difficulty making eye contact with others while talking with them.
Indiscriminate affection with strangers: goes up to strangers and becomes overly affectionate with them or asks to go home with them.
Not affectionate on parents’ terms (not cuddly): refuses affection and pushes parents away unless child is in control of how and when it is received.
Destructive to self, others, and material things; accident prone: seems to enjoy hurting others and deliberately breaks or ruins things.
Cruelty to animals: May included incessant teasing, physical assault, torture, or ritualistic killing.
Stealing: steals from their home, parents, and siblings and in ways that almost guarantees getting caught.
Lying about the obvious: lies for no apparent reason when it would have been just as easy to tell the truth.
No impulse controls (frequently acts hyperactive): extremely defiant and angry; needs to be in control of events in his or her life; tends to boss others; responds with prolonged arguing when asked to do something.
Learning lags: often underachieves in school.
Lack of cause and effect thinking: surprised when others are upset by his or her actions.
Lack of conscience: unconcerned about hurting others or destroying things.
Hoarding or gorging food: hoards or sneaks food or has other unusual eating habits (eats paper, glue, paints, flour, garbage, etc.).
Poor peer relationships: difficulty making friends or keeping friends more than a week; bossy in his or her play with others.
Preoccupation with fire or gore: fascinated with or preoccupied by fire, blood, or morbid activities.
Persistent questions and chatter: asks repeated nonsensical questions or chatters non-stop.
Inappropriately demanding and clingy: tries to get attention by demanding things instead of asking for them; clingy or affectionate only when wanting something.
Abnormal speech patterns: along with other more serious symptoms, may develop unusual speech patterns.
Sexual acting out: may act sexually provocative with peers or adults; masturbates in public.
Factors that contribute to a successful adoption
McKelvey and Stevens, Adoption Crisis (1993, p. xviii)

Youth (older children have a harder time adjusting to an adoptive home)
A minimum number of moves and foster placements (frequent moves traumatize children)
A permanency plan developed immediately after the child enter the system
Preplacement services to assess the family strengths and skill, and to ease the transition
A correct temperament match between parents and child
Full disclosure of the child’s history and a realistic appraisal of the disruption risk
Postplacement intervention before problems become crises
Ongoing training and support for parents, lasting through adolescence in “special-needs” adoptions

Thanks to Adoption Helper for this article-
Adoption Helper
189 Springdale Blvd.
Toronto, ON, Canada M4C126

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach– Everything for Adoption

Halloween Treats for Your Sweets


Healthy Halloween dish

Halloween Treats for Your Sweets. (click!)

I found this blog and it has some amazing Halloween party ideas.  Most I will never attempt, but they are really cool looking.

Do you have a special spooky recipe you want to share??

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach

Everything for Adoption

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