November 30, 2004

A Thanksgiving Feast

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tamra @ 9:11 am

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Ahrana wasn’t too sure about the whole Thanksgiving thing. She loved playing at Grammie’s but the food? Ew! LOL I guess it will take her a few years before she warms up to our traditional Thanksgiving fare. We did spend the day as a family and I continually thanked God for our newest little blessing.

Tonight is the night DH is going to make the final decision on wether or not we are going to adopt again. I’m on pins and needles and hoping for the best. I needed to leave this decision in his hands no matter what it entails so that our relationship stays strong. It is difficult for me though, because I am headstrong and usually get what I want. Keep my DH in your thoughts and prayers tonight if you can.

And here’s a pic just for fun!

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November 27, 2004

I couldn’t wait to put up a picture…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tamra @ 10:11 am

November 17, 2004

Life After Adoption-an article by my good friend Holly Richardson

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tamra @ 2:11 pm

Preparing for Life After Your Child is Home
*Plan for post-adoption adjustments – consider a “familymoon” with no outside obligations for at least a couple of weeks
*Educate yourself on post-adoption emotional adjustments, up to and including post-adoption depression and post-adoption PTSD
*Plan for some post-adoption issues to surprise you.
*Have quick, easy meals planned and ready in the cupboard or the freezer for the early days
*Keep a list of important contact people to call with questions, concerns or when you just need to talk!
*Do NOT overload your child in the early days and weeks at home – that includes limiting visitors, limiting excursions, even limiting gifts. Gradually, you will be able to take the limits off as your child becomes more accustomed to life in his or her new home.
*If this is your first child, be prepared for major life changes! This includes loss of privacy (the kids follow you to the bathroom), loss of personal space, a decreased ability to be completely spontaneous, etc.
*If this is not your first child, be prepared for things to BE DIFFERENT than with a biological child, and indeed, from other children you may have adopted in the past.
*Be flexible in your expectations – for yourself, for your new child and for others in your support circle
*Know that the adjustment of going from “Me” to “Mommy” overnight can be completely overwhelming. You can get lost before you know it.
*Be prepared for feeling a bit like an “impersonator” of a Mommy or a Daddy – it’s a new role and one no one can quite prepare you for.
*Don’t be surprised if you ask yourself “WHAT HAVE I DONE?!” It’s very common!
*Guilt feelings seem to come with the package
*Expect your child to have attachment difficulties
*Expect your child to grieve, no matter how old (or young) they are when they join you
*Expect that reality will be different than fantasy and can lead to all kinds of feelings – guilt, resentment, surprise, frustration and more.
*Don’t expect to fall in love instantly with this new person in your lives – if it happens, wonderful! If not, know that you are perfectly normal and in the majority
*Expect their emotional maturity to lag behind their chronological age
*Don’t be surprised when parenting methods that have worked before with biological children, or adopted children who are strongly bonded to you, don’t work with your new child
*If they are older, expect boundaries to be tested – sometimes right away, sometimes after a “honeymoon”
*For older children, expect significant milestones to bring mixed emotions early on – and maybe later on, too
*Expect “food issues”, even from the very young – the formula is different, the bottles are different, the bottle nipples are different. Every age group can be expected to have food issues
*Don’t expect your child to be grateful to you for “rescuing” them. If gratitude comes before they are parents themselves, enjoy the pleasant surprise!
*Be consistent with certain rituals or routines – bath time, bed time, doing chores, etc. These children frequently crave ritual.
*Consciously work on creating family traditions and rituals
*Work on scrapbooks, with kids or by yourself. There is something incredibly healing about scrapbooks.
*Be aware of how often you are touching your new child – he or she will need LOTS of physical contact, regardless of their age
*Be prepared for sleep disturbances – for you AND your child!
*Consciously work on building attachment with your new child
*Use music in positive ways in your home
*Be educated on post-institutionalized issues regarding personal space, personal belongings (for example, your child may help himself to someone else’s things and not consider it stealing – it was, afterall, the norm in the orphanage!), passiveness and/or aggressiveness, bathroom habits and more
*Prepare for your child to be delayed in at least one area, but likely more than one.
*Give your child developmentally appropriate chores
*Keep your other relationships alive and healthy, especially the one with your spouse
*Have fun!!
*Take lots of pictures
*And finally, enjoy the ride! There’s nothing quite like it.

November 12, 2004

While Waiting-An adoption article by my friend Holly Richardson mom of 18 living children

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tamra @ 11:11 am

What to do while waiting

Your paperwork is done and now you wait. Or, you have that wonderful referral and now you wait again – how can you keep from going crazy?! Here are some ideas. Be sure to re-read this list when you are planning your “familymoon”!

*Expect it to take longer than you hope! If it doesn’t, it will be a happy surprise.
*Maintain a good relationship with agency staff if working with an agency – they will help you as much as possible
*Network with other adoptive families – could be in local support group meetings or on-line. Www.yahoogroups.com is a good place to search for applicable groups.
*Read, research and educate yourself. Find out about attachment issues, transition ideas, adoption issues you may face now and in the future, your child’s country and culture.
*Connect with other groups in your area that honor your child’s heritage.
*Subscribe to an adoption magazine – or two or three
*Go to an adoption-related conference
*Check on all insurance issues – most companies require you to add a new dependent within 30 days for health insurance. What about life insurance for you and/or for your new child?
*Share your excitement with supportive family and friends!
*Create a scrapbook for your new child, detailing the adoption process BEFORE they came home
*Keep a journal – the more detailed the better
*Make a list of questions you would like answered by your child’s primary caregiver – favorite foods, bedtime routines, favorite provider, etc.
*Honor the spiritual dimension of adoption by planning rituals or celebrations that encompass your faith
**Find a pediatrician or family doctor, if you don’t already have one
*Find a pediatric dentist or one who is comfortable with children with NO experience visiting the dentist
*As appropriate for the age, research educational options for your new child – this could be a “MOPS” group (Mothers of PreschoolerS) or going to your local elementary, joining the local homeschool group or any other number of options.
*Prepare any siblings for the new child
*Expect there to be “bumps in the road” while waiting, just as there are with any major life event
*Pamper yourself – you may not be able to again for a while!
*Nurture your relationship with your spouse – see above!
*Gather humanitarian aid donations
*Make donations – cloth diapers, leper bandages, skirts, shorts, wooden toys and more
*Involve your family and friends in donation gathering
*Deep-clean your house – decluttering and cleaning is good for the soul
*Plant flowers or trees in honor of your new child-to-be
*Have a great garage sale – use the proceeds to help fund your adoption
*Freeze meals in advance for use after your child comes home
*Read parenting books
*Read adoptive parenting books
*Research adoptive breastfeeding if that might be an option for you
*Gently educate others in appropriate adoption language
*Educate yourself (and your CPA!) on the federal adoption tax credit
*Fill out the “With Eyes Wide Open” workbook or online quiz
*Find an adoption “mentor” who’s “been there, done that” and learn from them
*Paint a room in your house! (It doesn’t have to be for your new
child, either)
*Let yourself “nest” – it’s OK and very normal!
*Keep a photo-journal of all your “while waiting” activities
*Plan a great party or open house for after your new child has joined your home
*Collect art and other artifacts from your child’s country – Ebay is a great place to check!
*Relieve some stress by planning a “laugh-fest”. Tell corny jokes, watch silly movies, eat great snacks (gotta have chocolate!) and feel the endorphins flow!
*Write an article for your local paper
*Plan something for National Adoption Month (November) for your community
*Educate people in your local church congregation about common adoption issues and specifically what you anticipate with your new child
*Let your friends plan a shower for you!
*Use affirmations: “I am patiently waiting for this adoption to unfold” etc
*Have a good cry every now and then
*Soak in a good hot bath, with candles and your favorite “brain candy” book
*Exercise regularly while you can
*Do “cathartic” exercise – really scrub that floor, or pound that pavement, or whack that ball – it really helps!
*Make sure you have a support network to vent to, even if it’s only one person!
*Learn a new skill – maybe one you would enjoy teaching your new child
*Read a new book
*Re-read an old favorite
*Put some great music on the stereo and do an active relaxation exercise
*Put on other great music and dance away
*Read only one chapter of a book if that’s all you have time for!
*Get a professional massage
*Keep a gratitude journal – even on your most stressful days
*Get a good night’s sleep (or two or three or four) and appreciate
them for the gift they are!
*Cook your favorite comfort foods
*Try cooking a meal exclusively with foods native to your child’s country
*Try a new, different recipe
*Eat chocolate – the darker the better (a little bit goes a long way)
*Volunteer some place that serves people needier than you
*Learn self-hypnosis – it’s a great skill to have!
*Nurture your spiritual side
*Sing – loudly
*Be a tourist in your own town and visit an attraction you’ve never taken the time to see
*Start building your personal “children’s library” – take your time to research and buy the best
*If anticipating adding your new child before a major holiday, get your preparations done EARLY!
*Learn some basic aromatherapy and use it
*Attend a sports event where you can yell and scream and jump up and down – it’s a great stress reliever
*Go swing on the playground swings
*Take a nap
*Find the perfect Christmas ornament to commemorate your child’s first Christmas home
*Fantasize about how life will be when he or she comes home – and then realize it won’t really be that way
*Make a paper chain in reverse – add a new link every week you wait for your referral, or you wait for your child to come home.

November 3, 2004

I’m in a picture posting mood

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tamra @ 7:11 pm

I can’t help it. I just have to post more pictures of my little cutie! I guess I had better post an update for you as well then. :wink

Rani is learning by leaps and bounds! She is completely fluent in English now and is continually surprising me with how smart she is. She allready knows the alphabet song and can count up to twenty. She has a hard time seeing small letters but is starting to recognize some of them anyway. She has become a questioner now and her favorite word right now is “why?” *sigh* She’s right on target for a three-year-old!

As for our relationship, it’s really great. We are able to talk about Shanti a lot. It really helps her understand things. Last Friday and Saturday I had a class and was gone all day both days. Rani started crying and clinging to me when I came home on Saturday. I asked her if she was afraid I would go away like Shanti did and she said “yes”. I told her that Shanti wasn’t a “mommy”. I told her I’m a mommy and mommies always come back. That seemed to satisfy her. She is a great little cuddler and will come to me several times a day for a backrub or just a hug. She hates to be kissed on the lips though! LOL

Halloween was so funny. She just couldn’t figure out why strangers were just handing out candy right and left. But as soon as she figured it out she was a pro! I kept asking her if she wanted to go home and she said
“No! More Tricky treat!” This girl definately knows what she wants!

She definately is used to getting her own way. She is having such a hard time accepting me as the authority. But as her English has improved I have been able to explain things to her better. She still pouts but she doesn’t tantrum as much anymore. She and Ollie aren’t fighting as much either and they even stopped destroying my house! :spit– knock on wood– I’m so grateful for that. I feel so much more sane now that my house is clean.

Rani saw her first snow this week. I knew she’d love it because she’s and ice/ice cream addict since she came to America. The kid wouldn’t come inside! She has taken a pair of my son’s gloves and claimed them as her own, even though they are three sizes too big. One time she took them off and was so mad at me that her hands were so cold! She grinned when I warmed them up for her though. She is definately loving the cold weather but I do have to keep the house pretty warm or she shivers all day.

Here are some more Halloween pictures (one is with her brother Oliver “Twist”) and one of her very first “snow day”. :snowman

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