Saturday, March 8, 2008

Adoption transition

It has been 9 years since our boys came home to stay. Transition was oh so long ago. There have been many things I wish I could "do over" in my parenting. Transition is one thing I feel we did right. We started off with a visit to their foster home. Very slowly and gradually over 3 months we moved to having them spend weekends with us. I'm not sure if the 3 months was a good thing or a more stressful thing. That is a long time. There are some definite attachment exercises we used during this time and even during the first year of having them in our home. The first day we met them we brought them a teddy bear. It gave them something soft and cuddly to remember us by while we were gone. We made a video tour of our house and brought it to the foster home for them to look at. We bought them each a very soft fuzzy receiving blanket which had to stay at our house. When they started staying over on weekends I would wrap them in it and rock them at bed time. They were 3 and 6 years of age. They had such trouble with eye contact that we would play a game. I would sing a song like Row Row Row Your Boat (not too personal) and see how long they could look at me while I sang. I would hold their faces very close while they were wrapped in the blanket snuggled on my lap. We made it fun and I gave a big hug if they could make it further, just laugh and say "OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" if they didn't. Once their eye contact could make it through the song I changed to lullabies. We basically started over at that point because they are more personal. Then I added touching their faces. We started again. Limit TV or no TV during this time. No computer or video games. Spend time together doing activities that involve being close and having fun. I made a tape of myself reading bedtime stories and singing lullabies for them to take back to their foster home so they could listen to it at night. Make sure you make some videos and take pictures. They have so few of those major events of their lives recorded it will be great for them to have when they are older. We also had a family picture taken during transition so that by the time they moved in it was on the wall in place of the family picture without them. Frame as many photos of them individually as you can and set them around too. Transition is traumatic for them. They are suffering another loss of home, mother, family and friends. It is exciting and wonderful to us while devastating to them. We need to be understanding of that fact and let them have opportunities to express their sadness and to grieve. Transition is a major time of adjustment for everyone.


Renee said...

Such great ideas. I hope new and future adoptive parents pay attention to you and use these.

Aves @ Call of the Phoebe said...

You see, it posts like your last two that I love reading your blog..They are just jam-packed with in-sight and guidance. Thanks


Brenda said...


Thanks. I have to admit I threw a couple of them in for you after reading your website.