Posts Tagged ‘russian adoption’

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

Info sent by: Deborah Mumm, Everything For Adoption


Parenting a Teen that Doesn’t Live at Home


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

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

Learn about International Adoption


Do you know someone who wants to learn about the adventures of adoption?  Which countries have available children?  How much does it cost?  How long does it take?

Bob & Carol Murdock, from Int’l Family Services will do live conference calls to help answer these questions…plus the many more you may have.

Here is a link for more information—

Adventures into Adoption Teleconference Calls

Have a great day!


Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach

Everything for Adoption

When Americans Make Adoption look Bad

It’s a shame when Americans adopt a child and then proceed by making stupid mistakes at the expense of other adoptive parents and the children waiting in orphanages for a family. When we were in Russia we had heard on the news of a 7 yr. old boy adopted from Russia who had been killed by his adoptive mom. The Russians get very upset at these types of things (as they should) but do tend to over react. Close to a million Russian children are in orphanages waiting to be adopted. Several thousand every year are adopted by Americans. One or two of these kids may not have the ‘happily ever after ending’ we all wish for. Yet hundreds of orphaned kids die each day due to neglect in orphanages. So we were a bit nervous knowing they were threatening to stop all adoptions to Americans. And, there we were…in Russia, waiting to take home our children. Nothing happened though and we proceeded with the adoption.
Another time a couple from America got their 12 mo. old twins from an orphanage and were appalled that the babies cried all night the first night they had them. They returned the babies to the orphanage saying they couldn’t handle babies that cried all night. I couldn’t believe it. Let’s see—babies that only knew the Russian language, put into a strange environment with strangers who muttered an unusual language. That seems somewhat terrifying to me and I am an adult. How do they think these babies felt that night? Did they actually think these babies would act like this forever? Please…so frustrating. Russia actually did stop adoptions for awhile after this episode. It is maddening to think of all the people, paperwork, and delays that occurred because of this over reaction of Americans.
Here is today’s headline— 7 year old Russian boy is returned to Russia. Apparently this boy was sent back to Russia with a note pinned to him that he was disruptive and violent. His adoptive parents no longer wanted him. Maybe the boy did have psychological issues but I’m thinking there must be a better way to handle this problem than what they did.

This is also another good reason for adoptive families to have a support group. I run a local area support group known as All God’s Children. It is run by adoptive parents for adoptive or pre-adoptive families. We sometimes need other adoptive families to share our stories with. I know that parenting adopted kids is different than parenting biological kids. Most things are the same, but there are topics that adoptive parents need to address with their children as well as with family and friends. Maybe if this woman had had someone to confide in for help this 7 yr. old may not have been sent back to Russia. Who knows?

If you live in the Gurnee, IL area and would like to join our Adoption Support group then let me know. You can find out when and where our meetings are at Adoption Support Group Calendar

What is your reaction to parents returning children to orphanages?

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach

Everything for Adoption

Great story about Russian Adoption

I had one of my readers send her story of adopting a 2 yr. old Russian boy. It’s a great heartwarming story.

She commented to me that the orphanages are filled with children and most of them are healthy. It’s a shame people are afraid to adopt because of the fear of getting an unhealthy child. Yet we have no control of having a healthy child biologically either.

Here’s the story. Let me know what you think!

Adopting from Russia

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach
Everything for Adoption

The Mouse in the Garage

We recently discovered we had a mouse living in our garage. We live next to a big open area which includes a pond, geese and ducks. I am sure I have written about the geese and how annoying they can be. Alex, our active 10 yr. old, who was adopted at age 5 from Russia finds it fascinating that we have a mouse hiding in the garage.
I am not too thrilled with this latest development as I wander into our garage many times a day…to get something out of the extra refrigerator we have there or to get bottles to fill up with Kangen Water for customers and friends (my Healthy Water business) —
I did feel kind of funny running to the store for hamster food for Tania’s hamster and for a mouse trap for the same type of critter living in our garage.
Dennis and Alex set up the mouse trap, which is a box with a dial on top saying Caught or Not Caught…and a place for peanut tempt the critter into the box.
Today I asked Alex if the mouse had been caught. He said, “No.” I commented that we must have a very smart mouse. He then looked at me, in all honesty and exclaimed, “I bet that mouse can see on top of the box the word ‘Caught’ and so he doesn’t go into the box.”
I then asked Alex if he really thought a mouse could learn to read and reminded him how long it took him to learn to read. He was very sincere about saying this but then looked at me like I did make sense.
This is just another case in which I believe kids who live in orphanages do miss out on the common every day things other kids experience…with adult explanations, etc. I really think there are gaps in Alex’s education because of years of neglect in an orphanage. So many common sense things to a child of 10 are brand-new in his mind. So…one step at a time…he is learning and understanding, and we just have to be patient.
As a parent, I admit, I do get a kick out of the things he tells us…and it is a reminder to me that he has a 5 yr. past I know very little about and these comments he makes prove he thinks differently than my bio sons ever did!
We love Alex for his never ending enthusiasm and curiosity. He is a joy to everyone who knows him because of this great personality.

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach
Everything for Adoption