Helpful Advice if You Don't Like Your Adopted Child

So here I am, writing a blog post for an organization that I’ve loved for years, about a topic I never, in a million years thought I would write. 

What happens if you don’t like your adopted child?

Here’s the deal, nobody goes into adoption thinking, ‘I’m not going to like my kid.’ Most people walk into adoption with heart eyes, determined spirits and a faith that cannot be shaken. But a very real side of adoption is that many adoptive parents struggle to attach and bond to their children.

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Dear White Parents

How is your home serving your children in their identity as a person of color? If you are a white parent with a child who is not please intentionally and proactively pursue community that looks like your whole family, not just you. This is so important. This is a must. Does your child often wish they were white, like you? Your child will not believe you, that they matter and that their ethnicity is good and right, unless you show them how you value their skin color and history in your whole life.

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Dear Adoptive Parents

If you are a transracial/transcultural family, understanding differences of race, class and culture authentically is just the beginning. Understanding must also be activated into behaviors and infused into your family, extended family and as much as possible into your community. Adding deep love to a deep reflection and understanding of identity, privilege and place in the world as adults and parents, gives children every opportunity to fully embrace their complete identity, to love all parts of themselves and to be prepared for the realities that will echo throughout their lives.

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Sensory Processing Disorder and Adopted Kids!

You’ve adopted your sweet kiddo(s) or you’re in the process of adopting, or your want to adopt in the future! Whatever your story is, you definitely want to be aware of these sensory red flags and participate in a variety of sensory based activities to reduce under or over-responsiveness to sensory input from a variety of environments. Every child is different, every story is unique, and this is my experience and research.

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Trauma-Informed Parenting

My children would never have come to heal and find their preciousness without a trauma-informed parenting approach.  Our traditional understanding of parenting would never have reached them and helped them heal from their past experiences. In fact, I believe if we would have parented them with traditional strategies, we would have caused even more trauma. They are not perfect, but they are connected to us and they take our instruction.  They were once orphans, and now, transformed as our sons and daughter, and our family will always be a place of rest, support, and hope for them.

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Seeing Beyond the Behavior: 9 Ways to Help Your Adoptive Child

As a therapist who specialized working with adoptive and foster families, the most consistent concern was how to help a child with behavioral issues. Parents would be confused and baffled by their child’s behavior. They would feel sad, angry, and scared. They wanted to help their precious kiddos, but they didn’t know what to do. If you find yourself in a similar place right now, you’re not alone. 

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Is Adoption Really for You?

Sometimes I believe ignorance can manifests itself into a form of hope that drives humans to do hard things. It’s when the road gets hard that our hope is broken and our ignorance becomes humble wisdom and we are left with 2 choices: Continue down the path we’ve chosen or follow our desire for comfort and peace and ultimately quit.

Adoption is more often than not, the harder path to chose. It can be uncomfortable, painful, and etch away at every part of your being.

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National Adoption Month 2018

The month of November is National Adoption Month in the United States. Most adoption related organizations are promoting adoption all month and desiring to further the movement. This year, November comes as a sobering month for our family. Because not only are we now adoptive parents, but we are also in the midst of the hardest season of our lives. We are daily fighting to keep peace and begging for endurance and steadfastness. So when it came time to plan for November I just couldn’t share beautiful story after beautiful story (which most people know TAP for), of families meeting their children. 

I wanted to go deeper. 

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Adoption Gave Me My Voice Back

4 weeks later I had a new label “Pregnant.”

Within an hour of finding out, my ‘church mom’ from college helped me make sense of my new reality. We both knew someone close to the family who had been struggling for years with infertility. I remember her saying, “Laura, you have two options. Knowing you, you could make a great mom. You’d figure out a way to give your child the best life possible and you’d sacrifice your own life if it came down to it. Or, you could turn your burden (of this unplanned pregnancy) into a blessing for a family desperately wanting to have a child.”

That phrase ‘burden to blessing’ really stuck with me. 

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Keeping Families Together In Tanzania

The day I met Ibrahim, he was two months old, yet he weighed only 2 kilos, a kilo and a half less than he had weighed at birth. He was gasping for breath and it was clear he also had pneumonia.

As was the norm in these situations, Social Welfare had prepared the papers to admit Ibrahim to our care. I run a Baby Home called Forever Angels in Tanzania and since 2006 we have cared for hundreds of orphaned and abandoned babies. The work we were doing was undoubtedly essential in many cases - and hundreds of babies had been saved. There was simply nowhere else to care for a baby pulled out of a pit latrine or abandoned at the local graveyard – a Baby Home was needed. But as I watched Ibrahim's Aunt sob as she turned to leave the nephew she loved in our care, I just knew there had to be a better solution.

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Cherish Uganda

When we received the call to see if we had a bed for a little girl we did what we always do – ask questions and gather as much information as possible. This child, like many of the other emergency placements we have taken into our STCF (Short-Term Care Facility), has experienced more horror than I will ever experience in 10 lifetimes.

“She is HIV+ and living in Kampringisa. She was a street kid and we believe her parents are dead. We do not know where she came from, so we have no idea of the whereabouts of any extended family. Can you take her? Because of her HIV status no one will take her.”

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Prevention Is The Best Medicine

“If my life circumstances were different, this could have been my story. In 1982 I had an injury that required 2 hospitalizations, and without the amazing care I received my future would have looked completely different. During my time at the hospital, I witnessed the incredible compassion of the nursing staff. I was so moved by their kindness and care, that I was inspired to become a nurse!”

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Living in a Hospital for 3 Years

The other day I went to the hospital to visit an 11 year old boy. It wasn’t a normal visit, I was there to photograph him so that a local orphan and vulnerable family organization, Mwana Villages, could advocate for his life. 

You see, Dieuveille’s parents passed away when he was 2 years old. From ages 2-4 Dieuveille was raised by his sisters, however, circumstances led him into an abusive caregiver’s custody and he found himself scared and wounded. At the age of 8 Dieuville took matters into his own hands, sneaked onto a train and tried to escape back to his sisters and grandmother. 

Dieuveille fell asleep on the train and fell off…

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Humanity’s Cry For Help : Health Care and The Orphan Crisis

The more we learn about the orphan crisis, the more we learn about the interconnected issues which make this crisis so complex. The orphan crisis is (among other issues) about generational poverty, gender inequalities, unequal access to education, socioeconomic challenges, and most certainly healthcare

Let’s paint a typical picture to give a bit more insight into the connection between healthcare and the orphan crisis. 

Let’s call her Fleur, a 21 year old whose parents died before she was 10; she was raised by multiple extended family members, but experienced abuse and mistreatment.

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whitney runyonComment
How To Keep Families Together in Rural DRC

“I’ve always believed that kids best thrive in a family. So from the beginning, Restore Elikia was formed to work on community development.. all with the aim to prevent children from ever becoming orphans. Despite our clean water, food security, health promotion programs, and educational grants to vulnerable children, there are still some kids that just can’t remain in their home situations. As I watched the first kiddos come through our doors for permanent care, it felt like we had failed. I knew then, that while they couldn’t stay at home, we HAD to make Elikia be as close to a home as possible. I truly believe that health and healing aren’t possible if a child feels isolated or alone. They need a family to show them unconditional love. SO, Restore Elikia isn’t a traditional orphanage…”

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How Restore Elikia is Empowering Mother's to Raise Their Kids!

“One of the ways we partner with these mamas is through our vulnerable women’s training program at Restore Elikia. At risk women of all ages participate in training classes for several hours a day, three times a week for an entire year. We focus a lot on how they can keep themselves and their children healthy through basic hygiene measures, family planning with spacing of children to allow for appropriate length of breastfeeding before weaning, and how to maximize nutrition and diversify diet with limited resources…”

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Restore Elikia is Restoring Families in DRC

“One day as I walked through the maternity ward at the local hospital, it dawned on me. Young women were dying in labor every day, orphaning not just their newborns but their other children as well. One in five women were dying. One in five. Day after day. I stopped right there in my tracks.. beyond overwhelmed. We had to try and do something to change this or the orphan crisis would never end. But what?? It seemed bigger and harder and more complicated than I could even begin to try and get my head around…”

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Giving Women A New Life in Ethiopia

“When she was one-year-old, Redhet had no idea that her mom, Fikirte, had placed her on a government list as a “half orphan.” In Ethiopia, a half orphan is a child who has no support or contact with one parent and no chance of reconciliation. By placing a child on the “half orphan” list, the mother recognizes she may not be able to continue feeding or providing care for her child. Half orphans are not uncommon in Kore, with many children being taken to government orphanages on a weekly basis. Redhet’s name was on the list as a last resort for Fikirte.”

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whitney runyonComment
A Love That Motivates and Moves You Past Fear

Since the crisis broke out in Syria we’ve been following the reports and asking ourselves, “How can we help? What are the practical ways that we can respond?” When we look throughout history we see it is not changed by those who accept the world as it is. Who resign an issue to “that’s not my problem.” History is written by those who let themselves be consumed with empathy for others and let love motivate them to create change. It’s love that will motivate us to go far beyond where comfort could take us.

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