Archive for the ‘language development’ 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


Adoption Talk Show & Dolls

Here is an email I am forwarding into my blog by a woman who has a radio show on infertility and adoption. She also has a Doll company. Maybe you are interested or know someone who is…so pass it on!

I host a talk radio show on adoption, infertility and abortion. My blog that I just recently started is; ~ I hope you’ll follow me(:
I also have a doll company and am offering $10.00 gift certificates to people (to help in these trying times with the economy!!) and also one $20.00 gift certificate for each blog group that I contact. People can mail me direct and the first person that emails me will get the $20.00 certificate. If you care to share this on your blog or with others I would appreciate it.
Thanks and happy holidays in advance!!

Mary Beth Wells
Precious Baby Doll Company

China baby doll

Moments to Remember with Alex




As you know, we adopted Alex and his sister in 2004. Alex was 5 at the time. He is now 11…hard to believe. He is about 2 years behind in all areas of his life. He is the size of a 9 year old and is just finishing the 3rd grade curriculum. He will be going to a school in the fall that does not worry about what grade level a child is in, as long as he is learning. And he is making great progress. He is proud of himself and we are proud of him.

Alex still has some difficulty finding the right words to express himself. (I do too sometimes, so I don’t really worry about it.) We are used to it but sometimes it is kind of funny to figure out what he is thinking. The other night…after 10 pm…(these late summer nights are killing me!)…he was fumbling around in the kitchen looking for ‘little black rolls with holes’. I had no idea what he was looking for. Soon I saw him with a bowl full of little chocolate donuts watching TV. Needless to say, he got a couple but I put the rest back that night.

Last week Dennis & I took Alex to Six Flags Great America…which is only a mile from our home. We have a season pass so we can go for just a few hours and then go home. It isn’t as exhausting that way. Alex has been telling us for the past year that this is the year he will try going on roller coasters. He has a lot of friends who love the roller coasters and they won’t ask Alex to come with them to Great America because he won’t ride them. Needless to say, peer pressure had Alex thinking he better try riding these if he wanted to go to the park with friends.

As we got on the Whizzer, which is your basic roller coaster…fast with dips but no loops….he sat down in front of me. As we slowly crept up the first hill I was busy admiring the surroundings, the moon, the water rides and telling Alex to look at it all. Suddenly he blurted out, “Mom! Focus!” I could see he was hanging on for dear life and that scenery was not what he was interested in at the moment. It was pretty funny. He actually liked the 3 coasters we went on that night and was happy to brag to his friends of his accomplishment. Will he go again? I am not counting on it, but he might.

Kellen, our Univ. of MO college son, arrived home for a week the other day. I had taken Alex to the grocery store in the morning and was talking in the car on the way home about what he might like to do in the afternoon. He informed me that he and Kellen needed some ‘Boy Time’ and would probably be going to a movie. I asked him about what I could do and he told me that I had to stay home with the cat. Wow…fun! This is what I have been living for, right? Kellen obliged him and took him to the new Toy Story movie. Alex was thrilled to have that time with him.

Just a little while ago, Dennis, Kellen and Alex headed to a Car Show in Volo. Alex quickly said he didn’t want to go, but when I said that Kellen really wanted him to come along, he relented. I know he’ll have fun. He is just concerned he’ll miss some major social event with his friends in the neighborhood. Later, we’ll head to town to watch the fireworks from the park. 4th of July is always a nice weekend. It is hard to believe that we were landing in Russia on the 4th of July 6 years ago. No one celebrates that holiday there….hmmm….we missed it. But we came home with 2 special kids, so it was worth it.

Deborah Mumm
Everything for Adoption

How Important is Language? The Bus Story!

I’ve been writing this blog for years now and don’t think I ever shared ‘The Bus Story’. It is a true lesson in understanding how important ‘words’ can be.
Alex was adopted from Russia at age 5 1/2. He came home to us in late July. By mid-Aug. he was off to kindergarten. I remember the first day, introducing myself and Alex to the bus driver. I told her he didn’t speak a word of English but that I could get a translator to talk with Alex if anything needed to be explained to him. Little did I know how many times we’d be talking with our translator friend that week.
At the end of Day 1, I picked up Alex at the bus. The bus driver appeared to be a bit ‘frazzled’. She had to pull the bus over 3 times since Alex kept running up and down the aisle of the bus. I apologized and said we’d go right home and talk with Karina, our friend who speaks Russian. Karina promptly told Alex that he was not to walk or run in the bus….and that he must stay in his seat.
Day 2…When I picked up Alex from the bus stop the bus driver then told me that he did not get out of his seat but he was standing and jumping in his seat…not sitting! Again we made the phone call to Karina who told him he must SIT in the seat of the bus.
Day 3…The bus driver now claimed Alex sat in his seat but was swinging his backpack around hitting other children. Parents at the bus stop were looking at me like I had a monkey for a child and that I must not have any control what so ever with this kid. (I had only had Alex for one month and couldn’t speak his language! Give me a break, ok?)
After our friend covered every bus rule she could think of with Alex…and was quite specific with her words, things improved. The bus was never a place where Alex was on his best behavior and it was a struggle for quite awhile for him to be good there. We did all types of positive reinforcement, which usually worked for awhile. However, since Alex did have some learning issues with reading and math, mostly due to language skills, the bus turned out the place to be to let out his frustrations.
Now that he rides to school with friends and doesn’t take a bus, I have almost forgotten the early days and our daily bus routine!

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach
Everything for Adoption

Fall 2005 011