Archive for the ‘russian adoption’ Category

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

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

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

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

WKRS Radio Adoption Show


Alex at orphanage


Today Alex and I were guests on the Personal Best Show on WKRS Radio. We shared our adoption story. Here is the link to it if you would like to hear us! Let me know what you think.

Russian Adoption Story

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
http://www.everythingforadoption.com
http://www.theadoptionhub.org (for Adoption information)

What Happens when Adoption Issues Arise?


This was sent to me from someone who works with adoptive families and I thought you’d enjoy it.

You may have heard the news story not long ago – an adoptive family in Tennessee put their 7-year-old Russian-born boy on an unaccompanied one-way flight back to Russia, explaining that he had terrorized their family since coming to live with them. Now, the world is in an uproar over their seemingly heartless and careless act.

This family’s decision to abandon their child is totally unacceptable, I know. But I also know that adoptions can go haywire. Adopted kids may or may not have any more problems than any other group of kids, but I think they often present a different “mix” of problems. And those problems can often be more severe, with behavior escalating to the point where a child is out of control and dangerous to himself and others around him or her.

There’s no question that typical adolescent issues like belonging, fitting-in, rejection, connection, acceptance, and peer-relationships can become particularly prominent for some adopted kids. But there are other factors that can cause just as many problems for the child and the adoptive parents.

If the adopted child was born out of a high-risk pregnancy, there is higher probability that they were prenatally exposed to alcohol, tobacco and other harmful drugs. These impediments aren’t always unmanageable, nor are they untreatable. But just knowing that there might be issues down the road as a result of that exposure might prepare you for dealing with it later on. Many kids given up for adoption have come from high-risk pregnancies, exposing them to potential for developmental delays, impulsive choices, poor choices, attention deficit, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, and emotional disorders. There may be a higher risk as well for issues such as Reactive Attachment Disorder, other attachment issues, learning disabilities, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), logic sequence problems, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder.

Adoptive parents may also have to deal with anger and rages in their adopted child, just as the Tennessee parents have claimed. As a result, adopted kids might have to attend a special school, have special teachers, or need tutoring. All of this can be expensive and may go on for years. To make matters worse, an adopted child may not hug you or express love or appreciation the way you want.

Am I an expert on adoption? No, not me. But I enter the world of adoption “from the other side” because I know and have helped more than 700 adopted teens who have come to live in our Heartlight residential counseling program, and I have listened to the 10,000 questions they brought with them. My search for answers to those 10,000 questions has led me to my own conclusions about problems that can come up with adopted kids. Sometimes their struggles may be the result of prenatal issues, but mostly it’s because we’re all people who carry some personal baggage, and we bring our wounded hearts into our relationships. We all are sinners in need of a Savior … and in need of help. I am convinced that no problem is too great for God to resolve, and no relationship too damaged for Him to repair.

I believe that God in His sovereignty places orphaned or abandoned children with families on purpose. And what I have discovered is that conflicts that arise from adoption issues, whether on the side of parents or of the adopted child, can be overcome. God has a way of taking conflict and using it for our own good, and for deepening the relationship between parent and child. God doesn’t give up on us, nor does He send us back to where we came from. There are times that I believe that working through the conflict helps everyone involved move toward wholeness, and to deeper relationships.

It is good to understand the issues that surround adoption, for understanding brings a family to a different response, a calmer approach to handling conflict, and a platform to learn new ways for engaging with a child.

So, why adopt? I want people to adopt. In fact, I sit on the board of an international adoption agency. But I want adoptive parents to know full well the issues that might come up, invade, or enter the relationship with their child. Perhaps if the parents in Tennessee had known more about the potential pitfalls, perhaps they would have been better prepared for the potential for struggle.

If you plan to adopt, just remember this; there is more to the portrait of your adopted child’s life than you will be able to see. You’ll play a very important role in that portrait, and the presence of conflict, disillusionment, or hardship won’t negate the purpose of the portrait. I believe that most change in a person’s life come through conflict, difficulty, and hardship. I also believe it is worth the struggle so that kids can live in families.

God bless those who choose to give a child a new home and a new family. If you are an adoptive family, may your home be a haven of hope for a child who needs you; may God’s beautiful provision for orphans reach down to you as well, and may He give you the strength to work through any future struggles or difficulties. (markgregston@heartlightministries.org)

As an adoptive mom is going through all this….I know this to be true!

Deborah Mumm
The Adoption Coach
Everything for Adoption