Archive for the ‘Adoption Support’ Category

Things You Need to Know Before Adopting Internationally


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


International Adoption Yahoo Groups

Adopted Internationally? Or thinking of International Adoption?
Here are some online Yahoo groups worth checking into….

International Adoption Yahoo Groups
There are State based International Adoption yahoo groups for all 50 states
+ DC. These groups are a terrific way to find more parents who live near
you, to discuss therapists, pediatrician advice, re-adoption issues, state
law regarding adoption, learn about local USCIS timelines, form playgroups,






























New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota





Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota







West Virginia



Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach
Everything for Adoption

Trauma and the Adopted Child

Whether adopted from birth or later in life, all adopted children have experienced some degree of trauma. Trauma is any stressful event which is prolonged, overwhelming, or unpredictable. Though we are familiar with events impacting children such as abuse, neglect, and domestic violence, until recently, the full impact of trauma on adopted children has not been understood.

Here is a great article on what Science is now showing us with trauma and children….

Trauma and the Adopted Child

In closing, never forget that you are a great parent. During times of stress you wont always feel like it, but both you and your child were meant to be together. Your child will teach you far more about yourself than you may have ever realized without him. Give yourself time to refuel, connect, and communicate. And finally, a secure parental relationship is the single greatest gift you can give your child. When the parental relationship is secure this will permit the child a foundation to grow from.

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach

Adopted Kids & Parents Meet!

Happy New Year!

We celebrated the end of 2011 and the new beginnings of 2012 by having our local Adoption Support Group over for a little party. It was a great time. A dozen kids, all adopted, got to meet other families created by adoption. The parents all seemed to enjoy talking about their kids, their adoption stories and more!
The common theme I heard was…’Parenting is great but full of challenges, whether your kids are adopted or not.’
I do realize, speaking from experience, that being an adoptive parent can be more challenging if your adopted children come to you with issues. (This is not to say that biological kids don’t come with issues, but sometimes Adoption issues are created by ‘adoption’.) To be adopted means that someone gave you away. I know this is actually a choice for many women, and a wonderful one for the child in most cases.
Adoption is a journey and it doesn’t end once your child is home. Many times things come up that we need to deal with because the child suffers from an inner loss of some kind, usually brought on by the idea of being adopted. Therapy by someone trained in Adoption issues is my first recommendation. Healing can come with time!
It was wonderful to see so many kids in my home that are adopted! We had some from the USA and some from Russia and China. However, they all blended beautifully together.
My 18 yr. old daughter, adopted from Russia was found in her room surrounded by little girls, from China, Russia and USA. So she did what any ordinary teenage girl might do…paint all their nails. The little girls were thrilled!
I am attaching a photo of all the kids at the party. It was a great way to start the new year! All of us….Blessed by Adoption.

Deborah Mumm
Everything for Adoption

November is National Adoption Month

How did November become the Adoption Month?

The first major effort to promote awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in the foster care system occurred in Massachusetts. In 1976, then-Governor Mike Dukakis proclaimed Adoption Week and the idea grew in popularity and spread throughout the nation. President Gerald Ford made the first National Adoption Week proclamation, and in 1990, the week was expanded to a month due to the number of states participating and the number of events.

During the month, states, communities, public and private organizations, businesses, families, and individuals celebrate adoption as a positive way to build families. Across the nation, activities and observances such as recognition dinners, public awareness and recruitment campaigns, and special events spotlight the needs of children who need permanent families. It also includes National Adoption Day, traditionally a Saturday, which is observed in courthouses across the nation as thousands of adoptions are finalized simultaneously.

National Adoption Day is a national day of celebration of adoptive families and an opportunity for courts to open their doors and finalize the adoptions of children from foster care. Since 2000, more than 35,000 children have had their adoptions finalized on National Adoption Day.

On November 19, 2011, families, adoption advocates, policymakers, judges and volunteers will come together and celebrate adoption in communities large and small all across the nation.

Even though our two children from Russia were adopted in July, we had them baptized on Nov. 19th, so it was still a very special day.

With millions of children waiting for people to step up and adopt them so they can have a family, it is great for adoption awareness…as it is easy to get so wrapped up in daily life to forget the sad lives children are living around the world.

Deborah Mumm (for Adoption information)

How to Prepare an Adoption Homestudy?

A homestudy is one of the many requirements when you decide to adopt a child. It is to ensure the child is going to a safe environment. Is it difficult?
I wrote an article on this subject. Here it is–

Adoption Homestudy

Best of luck on your adoption journey!

Deborah Mumm

First Visit Home

Hello Again!


If you follow my blog then you know that our daughter, Tatiana, has been away from home for over 6 months now. We needed to bring her home for a few days so the local high school could finish an evaluation on her. We did not want to do this when they first asked us to bring her home, but that was at Christmas. She wasn’t ready to come home for just a day…plus at the holidays to send her back without seeing the family would have been so mean!

We attended a Parent Workshop at Tatiana’s school last week for several days. It was actually nice to sit around a table with parents who all wore the same sign of pain on their hearts. We all have daughters who needed to be sent to away for therapy…for help. We didn’t have to hold our stories inside us because of fear of what others may think. We had all been there. I have to admit, I felt bad for the parents who had suffered divorce and didn’t have another support person in their life. I am happy every day that I can confide in my husband and that we help each other through this difficult journey.

We brought Tatiana home for 3 days…she learned that the drive was a long 8 hours…and discovered why we don’t visit her more often! She was great seeing our friends and family. She was especially happy to see two of her girlfriends who came over for pizza one night. (See the above photo of them clowning around!)

Dennis and I were scared, though. Having this girl back in our home brought back memories we wanted to forget. We wanted to forget how she acted last summer, but seeing her with friends in our home made us remember and our ‘guards’ went up! We wanted to trust her, but deep down we were afraid to. In the end, she was fine…a few moments of the ‘old Tatiana’ here and there…but mostly we are seeing a young lady who is changing for the better. She is getting stronger and more mature. She is learning to speak up when she feels uncomfortable…and we like that.

So—as she happily boarded the plane back to Omaha I couldn’t help feeling like I was finding a new daughter…one that I look forward to growing old with.

Until next time—

Deborah Mumm,
The Adoption Coach