First Month after Orphanage Life


I just found a journal I kept back when my two kids first came here from Russia.  My daughter was almost 11 and my son was 5.  I forgot I had jotted this list down.  It was a crazy time.  I wrote down the behaviors they had then.  Please realize some just lasted a few days or weeks but some lasted far longer…some a year or more! Remember these two children lived in a Russian orphanage and never experienced many things our birth kids take for granted. I laugh when I read this list as I remember being so exhausted that first year by many of these things on the list.  Here you go–

  • touching EVERYTHING in the house
  • going through drawers
  • shutting doors around the house
  • not wanting bedroom door shut at bedtime
  • can’t take a bath without me being in the room
  • trying on clothes over and over (this was just a girl thing!)
  • the 5 yr. old thought Kindergarten just lasted one day!
  • terrified of the shower when turned on. Jumped out and ran out of the room.
  • meltdowns after saying goodbye to people
  • very loud and needed reminders to tone it down
  • LOTS of crying –when left alone, bedtime, leaving friends, when overtired,many times for reasons we couldn’t understand
  • meltdowns when we were taking them places…fun places like fairs, McDonald’s, movies, etc. They cried all the way there and then would have a great time once there.
  • Alex slept with his shoes on the first couple of weeks, then the shoes had to be right next to him in bed after that. (He never had his own shoes and didn’t want someone to take them.)
  • it took several weeks of baths before the ‘smell’ came off of them from Russia. Not sure what it was but may have been nutrition related.
  • keeping fresh fruit and vegetables in the house was almost impossible.  They ate them non-stop for weeks.
  • terrified of the sound of the flushing of the toilet.

Most of these things I was never warned about.  We adopt these children with no training or warnings and then have to figure out what all their fears and insecurities are about. It is really a tough journey and takes TONS of patience. (and a lot of therapy!)

We have come a long way.  I just wanted to share this list so people currently adopting kids from orphanages can have an idea of what kinds of things they may see once you bring them home.  Obviously, our children were a bit older and had different fears than some little children.

Things do get better—for most things, at least!

Deborah Mumm, Adoption Coach

Everything for Adoption

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One response to this post.

  1. This is really interesting. The adoption of my daughter was local, she was born here in Utah. She came home at 6 and 1/2 months old. She would only eat or sleep while in her car seat. She didn’t know how to be held, her little arms would just flap. Most interesting, and this has lasted for years, I could never drop her off. We always had family come to pick her up and we would pick her up, from them, when it was time for her to come home. She still has a strange fear of being left. I never bring up her past because she doesn’t remember it. I only tell her that she can trust I will always be there for her. She is doing great.

    Reply

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