Tuesday's Answers: Feeding Large Families

Before I launch into your wonderful responses to this week’s Tuesday Topic, I have to share a picture of this super sweet baby. Beniam brought his parents and aunt to visit us Friday morning all the way from California. Our families have connections through friends and have followed each other’s blogs, but had not met in person. It was so great to spend the morning with them. My kids were quite taken with Beniam and had a hard time sharing him with each other. Honeybee loved taking care of the babies at her orphanage and when they prepared to leave she grew quite sad. I think he was a little bit of “home” for her. You can read about their adoption journey on their blog.

Thank you to everyone who responded to this week’s Tuesday Topic!

Tyra asked two questions:

The question that always comes to my mind when reading about extra large families is: How do you feed them? The challenge of providing healthy, inexpensive meals that everyone will eat seems daunting. What are your strategies?

And how do you help picky eaters eat what you fix?

Lana emailed her response:

We currently have 6 kids (4 bio – 12,10,9,7; 2 adopted – 3 & 2) and are currently in the process of adopting 2 sisters from Ethiopia, ages 8 & 6. I never planned on this many kids (I always thought 4 was good) but God has had other plans for our life and so here we are.

In regards to food, a few things have helped tremendously.
1) We have an extra fridge and freezer in the garage so that we are able to shop in bulk.
2) I make out a menu every month so I have a plan when we go shopping. Wed. & Sat. are “leftover” days so we try not to let food go to waste.
3) We shop at Costco and we generally do one big shop a month. We find that we are able to save quite a bit. For example, we pay ~ $1.65 – 1.70 per gallon of milk so we usually buy 10-12 gallons at a time. The savings can add up when most places around our area are $2.50-2.65 per gallon.
4) We don’t spend $$ on soda. It’s milk, juice, or water.
The rule at our house has always been — you eat what is in front of you. If the child refuses, they will wait until the next meal (even if that is breakfast). We don’t have snacks around. There is NO dessert unless they have cleaned their plate. We don’t always have dessert so that when we do, it is a treat.
I look forward to seeing the feedback to this question. It can certainly be a challenge.

And More Responses:

Blogger Nancy said…

I only have 6 children, ranging from 16 to 2 years old.

Feeding a large brood hasn’t been a problem. I at least double all entre/main course recipes, but mostly quadruple them making twice as much needed for a dinner. Then half is frozen and saved for another day. This way I only cook half the time and the other half, I really only heat up. I collect recipes that are good for this, including soups, casseroles, etc… This leaves me preparing side dishes each meal and that’s not too bad as I think are pretty easy to come up with like salad, vegetable, crusty bread, fresh fruits…

We also rely on some traditions, like Thursday is spaghetti night (again half of the sauce is frozen and saved for another meal, like stuffed shells w/sauce, or lasagna) and on grocery day we usually have hamburgers, or a roasted chicken from the grocery, (Not a lot of time to cook large on grocery day) and Fridays are frequently left-over night.

As for picky eaters, I have always been under the impression that picky eaters are made rather than born. Ya, this may not go over well. I only cook a single meal each night and will not make a separate meal or entree for anyone, as there is always an abundance of extra fruits or veggies on hand if someone doesn’t prefer the entree. This doesn’t always go over well with company/friends that the kiddos bring home. So my kiddos have always found some part of dinner that they like and been able to fill their tummies. I also try to serve what they like, and they know that I’ll take suggestions from them and do my best to get it on the table in the next couple weeks.

However, as I start to put my foot in my mouth and get what I deserve, when we adopted our youngest daughter, she came with quite a few food/eating issues, (she was force fed as an infant and malnourished when we got her) and is the pickiest eater I have ever seen. As I had always believed and followed, simply relying on the adage that, “they’ll eat when they get hungry,” does not work for her. She will starve without consideration for her food preferences. So now we must supplement our meals with additional foods for her if there isn’t anything on the table she will eat, which happens daily. She’s still little yet, so it’s not a large inconvenience, and with on going therapy, we hope to resolve the issue. Until then, I’ll keep making more food for her but the others get what’s served.

Also can’t get leave without saying that eating together as a family is so so important. We try to eat together for both breakfast and dinner every day. Starting off our day around the breakfast table, with family prayer and then each sharing what’s going on that day, and discussing trouble spots early in the day, has been an extra blessing that I never guessed would be so rewarding!

LOVE to hear others suggestions too! Great idea for a Tuesday topic!

Nancy
http://nancyvnjourney.blogspot.com/

9/22/2009 5:43 PM

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Blogger Chris said…
We only have 5 kids 4-18. I’ve found that basic food costs a lot less than anything prepared. So potatoes, meat on sale and veggies in season. Ice cream is our indulgence. Meatless meals make the dollars stretch a bit.
or put less meat in a casserole than the recipe calls for.
Ah yes the picky ones, our oldest came picky (bio) at 18 he is finally half decent to work with. I started just cooking and tried not to make objectionable food 2 nites in a row.

9/22/2009 7:00 PM

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Blogger Cindy said…

Something that I feel I struggle with – feeding my family of eight on a budget – and feeding them healthy foods! I keep things quite basic. Breakfast is usually either cereal or peanut butter toast, bagels, or maybe eggs. Lunch – pasta, fruit, sandwhiches, crackers, other simple foods. Dinner – a wide range of things. Seems that my 6 kiddos prefer “basic” foods – meat and potatoes always goes over well with all of them. If one or more children do not like what I have prepared, they do not have to eat it. Our rule is that we must first see them at least taste it. I will not cook another food however. They dont have to eat what I have made, but they must choose a healthy alternative and make it on their own. Usually that means they will make a bagel, some toast, fruit, etc. I have one child who puts Berebere on everything! At first, I was kind of offended by it. But soon realized that hey – at least she was eating healthy food! Two of my children that are from Ethiopia eat pretty much everything. The other of my children from Ethiopia is quite picky, but learning to try more things and finding out she likes more than she realized! The big thing she just can not handle – CHEESE! She can not stand it. i think it’s the texture more than the taste for her. Can you imagine? A girl from WI not loving cheese?!! LOL!

9/23/2009 5:59 AM

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Anonymous Becky said…
We have 13 children, with 9 still at home. (Oldest 4 are married, but we get to have all 13 plus spouses and grandchildren for Sunday dinners,which is so fun! I’m excited to hear some new ideas on this subject! This is how we do it at our home. We have a monthly meal chart with all the meals for the month planned out. Those are basically our meals for the year, with just starting the chart over at the beginning of each month. I do substitute meals here and there when I find a new recipe that I want to try, though. The meals are centered around nutrition and frugality, but are things that on any given day, most of the family likes. I do most of my cooking from scratch, but I also don’t have a lot of time to cook each day, so I incorporate time saving techniques, such as cooking up 20 lbs. or more of hamburger at one time when I find it on sale, and then packaging it for the freezer in amounts needed for each meal. I also do the same with chicken when I find it on sale. I cook it, then cube it in bite sized pieces, and freeze it in meal sized amounts for use later, such as for soups, chicken burritos, etc. I also double or triple recipes when I cook, and put what we don’t use in the freezer for another meal. It doesn’t take a lot longer to cook a triple amount of a recipe, over just cooking a single recipe, so that way one is saving time and being able to cook from scratch, thus saving money. Learning to make homemade breads is another way to save a lot of money. Homemade biscuits, rolls, muffins, etc. are much less expensive than buying premade or buying boxed mixes. One other thing that is often a money saver is buying in bulk. A 25 lb. bag of oatmeal where I live costs approx. $12.00, where a 3 lb. container of oatmeal costs approx. $2.25.

9/24/2009 6:47 AM

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Blogger Sandee said…

oh, this is such a hot, hard topic at our house. I only have 3 kids, adopting a 4th, and I can hardly EVER cook anything that they all will eat. The only two dishes are pizza and tacos.. I get so discouraged…and then even more so, when I have somethign that they all love the first few times I cook it, and then …wham…surprize, someone decides they don’t liek ti anymore! šŸ™

I have tried to get down to one bowl meals..ie simple. I have tried crockpot, cassarole, cook and freeze ahead.

I would say meal planning is the most stressfull part of our homelife. Wish I could just hire a cook. lol.

I know this does not help…and I work full-time outside the home. (sngle mom, no choice).

9/24/2009 8:39 AM

Thank you for your great answers. Becky, if you read this, Sandee asked if you would share your monthly menu and I’m sure there are many others who would like to learn from you. Please email me if you are interested.

I have tried many different approaches to feeding my family from Once a Month Cooking, to cooking in bulk by doubling/tripling every meal, to a rotating menu. The one thing I have found that absolutely does not work when cooking for a large family is “flying by the seat of my pants”. At present, my most useful technique is having a weekly menu for breakfast and lunch and a monthly menu for dinner. The breakfast/lunch menu doesn’t change much, but planning the dinner menu takes a bit of time each month.

Once I began writing about my cooking and menu plan, the post got so long that I decided to separate it into a post of its own. I’ll see if I can get that on my blog this afternoon. Rusty has big plans to update my blog and put it in a format where I can have different pages for topics, so there would be a page for My Learning Curve, a page for Large Family issues, etc. That way you can find what you want without wading through topics that don’t interest you. I would even love to have a page for favorite recipes that work for large families. Maybe Rusty will have time to tackle the project when the Cross Country Season is over.

Have a wonderful Sunday everyone! I am traveling to Seattle tomorrow with Dimples and Boo. We are going to visit Sweet Pea and have an appointment with Dimples’ therapist on Monday morning before heading home. We had to cancel our last appointment due to the flu, so I’m hoping we can cover lots of ground.

Back soon!
~Lisa

Tuesday Topics: Feeding Large Families


I know that there are many of you who can answer this question – I’m hoping you’ll take a few minutes to respond to this Tuesday Topic.

Tyra asked two questions (feel free to answer one or both):

The question that always comes to my mind when reading about extra large families is: How do you feed them? The challenge of providing healthy, inexpensive meals that everyone will eat seems daunting. What are your strategies?

And how do you help picky eaters eat what you fix?

This is a great opportunity for us to help one another become better at something we all need to do well. Most of us are functioning, or attempting to function on a budget. I love to feed my family good food that they enjoy, but I hate to see so much money devoted to something that disappears to so quickly.

Please email your answers to me at:

thankfulmom [at] gmail [dot] com

Or, post them as a comment. I will gather your thoughts together and post them at the end of the week.

If you have a question you would like to suggest for a Tuesday Topic, please email it to me.

The sun is shining at my house and it is a perfect first day of Autumn.

~Lisa

Tuesday's Answers: Let's Talk About Names

This was my first Tuesday Topic, and I have to say, you all were great! Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit your thoughts.

Here was the question:

I’d love to hear more about naming your kids?? We’re trying to decide that right now. We’re thinking about new American first names and their ET names for middle. Mostly because, thinking of the future, the boys name on a resume might be hard. Thought an easily pronounced american name would be better. SO, you don’t call your boys their American names? Is that their choice, or yours? We’re also thinking of doing the same for our daughter, so she won’t think, “why did he get a new name, and not me?” Oh the decisions!!

Thanks for any pointers & viewpoints!

There were lots of great answers, so this will be long, but here we go.

By email:
We had American names all picked out for our two from Ethiopia. Both of their Ethiopian names were quite hard to pronounce and would become their middle names. I felt uneasy about changing their names since they were older, but we had seen other families do thisā€¦and so we followed. However, when we got to Ethiopia and met themā€¦something about it didnā€™t seem right. They were who they were already. Thatā€™s who they would always be. And to strip them of their name felt incredible wrong. Names are such important parts of our identity and self awareness, I think. Anyway, we wondered how it would be on the first day of school, etc etc. You know what? Itā€™s been FINE. Both have chosen to shorten their names into something easier for others. But, now when I think about those American names (now their middle names), I realize that is NOT who they areā€¦and I feel like in our situation it would have been a mistake to insist that they become that name. In this day and age there are so many unique and unfamiliar names. And kids learn each others names. Itā€™s just how life is. They have not been teased at all. Does that make any sense? This has been our story. CR

And in the Comments:

Blogger Lory Howlett said…

Can’t wait to hear peoples’ answers on this one. We have 3 girls who joined our family as infants (1 by birth, 1 by domestic adoption and 1 from Ethiopia), we are now preparing to bring a 5 year old boy home from Ethiopia.

Our current thinking is that he will keep his Ethiopian name…until, if and when, he might want to have a more Americanized name. His Ethiopian name means “blessing,” and…it will be just about all he still has from his birth family.

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Blogger Shannon- said…

First- I want to recognize how HIGHLY personal this decision is. And its’ “rightness” or “wrongness” will likely only be shown long in the future.

OK- I have 2 adult adoptee friends. One adopted through the foster care system at 11 months the other a few days old through Good Sam’s. Both original names were changed. They both have VERY different responses. (As a side note- all variables the same- the still have very different responses to all the adoption questions I put to them… but for the same reasons)(which only highlights that this is completely personal for each child) Kevin found out his original name in his thirty’s. He will tell you, to this day, it “fits better”, with a sad longing into his eyes. Sarah found out in her twenties and could care less.

My son is over 2 years old. he was named by his father. I will wait before making a definate decision, but I can not imagine taking away either his given name, nor his fathers name. In Ethiopia they are named with such purpose, Bilically. By it’s meaning followed by fathers name. (Benjamin, son of Jacob). that is a history that I can not portend to replicate.

On the other hand: I have ALWAYS loved it when people “go” by their middle names. It ends up only very few, close by’s know their true name. I love it. I friend and mentor was very well known around the country. He was known as “Shawn”. His name was actually William Shawn. It was his written name on most documents etc. Bet every once and a while you’d notice he’d signed a check WS Last name. Plus I agree with the wondering of the future of my child and giving him options with how to be known on paper. If perhaps giving him a George, Bob, Bill first name could keep him from getting searched everytime he flys anywhere.

Is it possible this comment is now longer than the post? ooops. Always wondered when that would happen…

9/13/2009 5:58 PM

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Blogger James 1:27 Family said…

I’m of the rare breed of adoptive moms who doesn’t like changing a child’s name. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t judge others – I just don’t like it for me. Most of the research surrounding adoption will suggest that you not change an older child’s name. It can cause emotional distress. If a child chooses to change their name or requests to change their name, this seems different.

My next-door-neighbor was adopted from US foster care system about 35 years ago when she was 7 years old. She clearly remembers getting a new name. She’s says she feels like the person she was before died that day. The child that had the other name went away and was put in a box, never to be mentioned again. Her feelings were very powerful to me and cemented my thoughts on changing names of adopted children.

As far as “American names” goes, what really constitutes an American name? There are people in America from every nation and ethnic group. We shouldn’t worry about accommodating the needs of others when deciding our child’s name. It’s probably good for people to learn to pronounce an unfamiliar name.

We didn’t change our son’s given name. We received a lot of rude comments and remarks at first from family and friends, but now it just suits him. I can’t imagine him being named anything else. No one ever makes a comment anymore.

Many blessings to all of you adoptive parents wading through the sea of emotional decisions! I think this is great to share our thoughts and build each other up! Thanks, Lisa!

God Bless!
Amy

9/13/2009 6:02 PM

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Blogger Marissa said…

Good question, and one that isn’t easily answered. As with many questions related to parenting and adoption, the answer is different for everyone.

We kept our 5-year-old adopted son’s name (both first and last) and gave him a 2nd middle name. We felt that this gives him the opion of going with what he feels comfortable with when he gets older. I don’t see him going with the American name. His name means “the great one” and it fits him perfectly.

With two more kids on the way, this has been a big discussion. The son we hope to hold has an easy name and we’ll do the same with him, keep his first and last name and give him an American middle name. For our hopeful daughter, it gets trickier. I can’t pronounce her name for anything. I’ve tried and tried and tried but I just can’t get it. My mouth doesn’t work that way. Sadly, I’ll probably be calling her the name we gave her (which is her Ethiopian name in English). I’m fairly certain that most Americans won’t be able to pronounce her name so she’ll have to go by the name we give. I’m saddened by that and I hope that instead of being upset by it, she learns to make fun of me for my inability to pronounce her name.

9/13/2009 6:50 PM

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Blogger Lauren said…

We plan to change our boys’ (US born) middle names to meaningful family names, but retain their “first*” names. (I honestly think though, that if they were girls I would feel differently, and would also change their first names. I’ve always had trouble coming up boy names–so that might be why sticking with their first names was a quick decision for us.)
*I emphasize with the resume concerns though. Our boys were both renamed in their first foster home (we’re foster #2), and so when we got them we immediately changed the older boy’s name back to his birth name, and kept the younger brother’s name. In both instances it was because the other name was offensive and/or off-putting.

9/13/2009 6:58 PM

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Blogger Paul and DeeDee said…

I like this question. For us, we chose to give our toddler daughter an American first name and keep her ET name as a middle name. But when we found that the first four letters of her ET name were not appropriate four letters in english we had some thinking to do. I thought about keeping it, or using her birth mothers name but then we just decided to alter the spelling since it is pronounced about the same. (Shataye pronounced sha – tie)

It was also important that her american name would be acceptable in the african american culture as well.

As far as what we call her, we use both names together and individually as she responds to them very well….but she also might respond to pumpkin head:)

I am eager to see what those with older kids say!

9/13/2009 7:28 PM

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Blogger FriĆ°rikssonS (and Parents) said…

We adopted 2 boys from Ghana. One was 16 mos and the other was 8 years. We had decided to keep the names they were given.

Our youngest was named with a name we had always wanted to name our son. So it didn’t seem necassary to change it. Our older son had a name that although not common in America or anywhere, was not that difficult to say. So we also decided to keep his name.

However, since arriving home, we have seen people struggle with his name. We didn’t say anything we just kept educating others how to say and spell it.

But one day he came to me and asked if he could change his name. We let it be his decision. We ran through the plus and minuses of changing his name. He wanted to change it but felt he would forget Ghana. We explained that we would help him remember with pictures and such; and that his name was not the determining factor of his memory loss – so to speak. We discussed how his birthparents (who had died) gave him that name. we discussed how it was difficult for people here to say his name. We let him take his time making the decision. We went through lists and lists of names. If he couldn’t say the name it was thrown out. If we couldn’t say the name it was put on a “maybe” list. He practiced writing names. Every day we eliminated names because he couldn’t sya them, he didn’t like the meaning, it was to hard to write it, etc etc. We discussed the meanings of names. We practiced using different names on him. He even prayed about names he should choose.

He finally chose a name he really loved and we kept his other name as a middle name. We even said if he really wanted to change it back we would. We found that by giving him the control over his name he found ownership and found a name he loved and wanted to live up to. He was so happy and still is. If he ever wants to go back to his Ghanaian name it is one of his middle names.

So although he has a long name it is HIS name through his choice. It took a long time and DH and I worried about giving him so much control on it – but we stepped back and let him work through it and it not only gave him a name – but it helped him to feel control in a strange world to him and it helped him learn how to make decisions and live with the results. He is VERY happy! And so are we!

9/13/2009 8:02 PM

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Blogger Staci said…

I always thought we’d give the children new American names and keep their ET names as middle names. As we get further in the process I am more open to using their given names or at least keeping them as the first names, and giving American names as middle so they can be called by either as they wish. It is such a big deal, everyone does their best. At first I thought the “right” thing to do was to make it easier for their bio siblings and classmates to say. I could see it being frustratig for them to have one more thing that sets them apart from their family and peers. I think giving them the option is a great idea as they get older.

9/14/2009 8:41 AM

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Blogger Lisa H. said…

I seem to be in the minority here, but we’ve chosen to give each of our adopted children a new first name and their birth name is their middle name. Naming a child is VERY important to me, and part of the bonding process for me. I respect that my children were previously known and named by other people, esp. in the case of my children who were named by birth parents….I’m happy to have those names as part of their identities, because they are part of their life stories. But becoming part of our family is ALSO part of their life story, and I wanted to bless my children with a name, as part of making them ours.

Three of our children were adopted as young toddlers, so it really wasn’t an issue for them. For our son, adopted at age 8, we explained to him through an interpreter that we’d like to give him a name, as we had all of our children, and we asked him if that was ok. We told him he could choose which name he wanted to go by, and he chose the name we gave him. Since that time he has STRONGLY rejected his birth name…almost to a degree which concerns us. We are constantly affirming the value and beauty of his birth name and his birth country. I think in our son’s case, he had such a hard life prior to our family, that he is happy to put that behind him and to identify with his new identity as our son. In many ways I think that giving him a new first name has been helpful to him in transitioning to a new life.

I understand that parents feel differently about this, and have respect for other choices, but his is what has worked for our family and our children.

Lisa H.

9/14/2009 1:50 PM

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Blogger Cat and Mark said…

Love the discussion!

For us, keeping birth names as first names was a priority if we “could.” I’m not sure how to explain that other than to say if the names had been extremely difficult to pronounce we would have more seriously considered an American name as their first (legal) name and moved their ET names to a middle name.

All three of our ET kids had (I think) very easy to pronounce first names, so it just was never an issue for us. We gave each of them family names for middle names. There are many other names I “like” but this was important to us – our way of bringing them into our fold with their names (they are all named after grandparents). This was also a way to promote bonding with the grandparents and worked well for us. Our 2 bio daughters have family names for middle names as well, so that was also a nice tie-in.

I respect other’s choices on this and I think it can vary depending on the child. Our children were 3, 5 and 12 at adoption – their names were very much a part of them. We considered changing our 12 year old’s name, if she had requested it. But she did not, so we did not bring it up. We never wanted her to feel like WE wanted her name to be different. Their birth families and their first culture are so much a part of who they are – and they carry some of that in their names. In fact, for my son, that is virtually all he has left.

Given the particular circumstances, we didn’t feel it was right to break that bond.

But again – every family, every child’s situation is different. The most important thing is for parents to think it through – to have a reason for doing what they do. Consider the impact on their child (both ways – if change or not) and decide what is best. Glad to see such an insightful and respectful “discussion”!

june said…

I’m pretty firmly in favour of a child keeping his or her name. Like an earlier commenter mentioned, I would have only have considered changing my child’s name if it was something that was going to cause a world of grief in English – there are names which are just inappropriate because of the connotations of very similar (or same) word. If that had happened, I would have chosen another Ethiopian name.

I gave my son (who was 4 when adopted) a family name as a middle name, and added his father’s name (ie his former surname) back in as a middle name as well. We have occasionally had the discussion about naming – eg when he first started school, and decided he didn’t like his name. That passed pretty quickly. If in the future he really wants to change his name, I would support that, but I would strongly encourage him to choose another Ethiopian name. If he refutes that and wants an English name, he could choose to go by his middle name. But I’d be really sad if he did.

There is a good discussion about naming in Steinberg & Hall’s “Inside Transracial Adoption”. I think it was one of the author’s adult children who asked why they were given a new name when they joined the family. The comparison was then made to a spouse – who joins the family but no one feels a need to change their first name – the last name is enough. And sometimes not even that!

9/15/2009 7:11 PM

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Blogger Jan J. said…

My first daughter from China was a baby and I did not feel too badly to change her first name and use her Chinese name as her middle name. My second daughter was almost 7 and I could not imagine telling her I was taking away everything she knew, including her name, which to me equaled her identity. All I had to do was imagine how my first daughter, then 6, would feel to lose me, her home, her food, her language and then say you are not Lily anymore.

I am not judging anyone who changes the name – we all have a right to decide what our children are named – it just felt wrong to me unless she requested it. For Jing it was the right choice. After she had grasped enough English I took her pad of paper during homeschool time and wrote out her full name for the first time including the name I chose to give her along with her Chinese name. I wrote out her sister’s name. I pointed out that both she and her sister had a name from Mama and a name from China but that we would call her by her Chinese name unless she wanted to change later. She firmly took the pad, crossed out the names, rewrote her sister’s name to include her “American” name and rewrote her name as only her Chinese name. Tossed that nasty American name to her sister! Well! Tell me what you REALLY think LOL!

She only had a first and last name, not a middle name as most Chinese children, so I told her we could use her Chinese last name as her middle name if she wanted instead of the name I chose. She is now 12 and I have yet to readopt her and have her name changed, so she will be old enough to have one last say when Mom ever gets her act together to readopt. With China the adoption is final and no readoption is required so that was helpful in putting off a final name decision. Sometimes it pays to procrastinate!

My daughter was not grateful to be adopted. She loved her orphange home and her friends and grieved deeply for a long time. If I had also told her she would be called by a new name, I think in her case it would have caused further damage to our LOOOOOOOONG bonding process, which is still in progress. However, I do know of kids who were very anxious to get their new American name, so I do think every situation should be carefully thought out and weighed AFTER you meet your child, just my opinion! But I do think it is exceedingly important to let your child know you treasure their given name and their heritage as part of who they are.

Sorry to be so longwinded! Feel free to edit!

Jan J., mama to Lily and Jing

9/15/2009 8:27 PM

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OpenI
D lorismusings said…

We decided to change our two girls (adopted at age 6 and 10) names for several reasons. I agree with Lisa H. in that it was a way for us to bond with them and say, “You belong to us. We love you and claim you and you are a special part of our family.”

Another reason was that the youngest girl had a name that we were afraid would lead to teasing. We decided that we would give them a new first name, but chose names that were used in their culture. We tried to choose names that we hoped would be fairly easy to pronounce. Some people are hopeless with names no matter how easy.:-)

We did ask them about a name change through an interpreter when we were still in India. I am not sure their answer at that time was what they felt then, but they like their new names and did go through a time where they “hated” their given name. I kept telling them how much I loved their given names and that they were important because their mom gave them those names. They now embrace their new and old names.

So, we gave them a new first name and used their given names as a middle name, but we also gave them a middle name with a biblical meaning. They can choose whatever name they want to go by at ANYTIME and we have told them that.

We aren’t too sure about the wisdom of the two middle name thing, but it seemed like the right decision at the time!

Now, we are in the process of adopting another child, a boy who will be five when we get him. We are trying to decide how to handle his name.

It really is a personal decision. Everyone makes the best choice they can for their child.

Given the length of this post, I will refrain from taking up more space with my thoughts on naming children, but you can read my post from April 2008 to see how we came to our decisions. I feel strongly that each family has to choose for themselves what is best for their particular child. There are names from other countries that are closely related to unpleasant words in our language. I didn’t face that, so I can’t know for certain how I would have handled it. Changing the spelling, as CR mentioned, is a great idea if you want to preserve the name.

I do wonder if Little Man may choose to use his American name one day. His Ethiopian name is difficult for people to pronounce and remember, but once they have it, it is easy. I think we’ll leave that for him to decide. I love both his American and Ethiopian names, and no matter what he chooses, I believe I will always call him by his Ethiopian name.

If you have a question you would like me to present as a Tuesday Topic, please email it to me at:

thankulmom [at] gmail [dot] com

Thank you everyone!

~Lisa

Tuesday Topics: Names and More

Thank you for all of the wonderful responses to the question about naming adopted children. There is still time to leave your input either as a comment, or by email:

thankfulmom [at] gmail [dot] com

I will compile your responses and post them all later this week. I love seeing what you all have to say. If you haven’t read the question yet, here it is:

Lisa,

I’d love to hear more about naming your kids?? We’re trying to decide that right now. We’re thinking about new American first names and their ET names for middle. Mostly because, thinking of the future, the boys name on a resume might be hard. Thought an easily pronounced american name would be better. SO, you don’t call your boys their American names? Is that their choice, or yours? We’re also thinking of doing the same for our daughter, so she won’t think, “why did he get a new name, and not me?” Oh the decisions!!

Thanks for any pointers & viewpoints!

Chris in Auburn, WA

Don’t be shy – share your thoughts.

Ladybug and Honeybee made bird feeders in their science class and hung them in our dead peach and nectarine trees. We’ve been meaning to cut the trees down, but they haven’t made it even close to the top of Russ’ To-Do List. The benefit to dead trees is that, without leaves, we have a clear view of the birds who come to eat at the feeders.

Lastly, I want to write about a successful parenting experience we had today, but rather than tack it on to the end of this post, I’m going to post it separately so it can be tagged with the “My Learning Curves” label so somebody else who needs a new idea can give it a try.

~Lisa

Tuesday Topics: Let's Talk About Names

Speaking of names…we called our son Peter for an entire day before finally naming him Samuel. And for all of his friends out there, his name is Samuel, not Sam…really, it is.

It’s been awhile since I have put a question out to all of you and I’ve missed your input. I’m weary of hearing only what I have to say. I hope to post one question a week, if I can stay on top of it…hmm…maybe I should do one of those clever things that bloggers do, like have “Tuesday Topics”. Yes, I think it will be Tuesday Topics, even if we are starting this one on a Sunday.

[I don’t usually post on Sunday, but I am recovering from the flu and while I’m well enough to sit up in bed, I’m still not up and about. I can hear my family preparing dinner downstairs and I wish I were with them. This flu has a long recovery time. So far four kids have been sick and three of them are better. As I type Honeybee is on my bed with me, crying a little about missing a special event this afternoon. And while I’m giving a little family update, Ladybug went boating with a friend yesterday and before they even got in the boat, she cut her foot on the dock and had to get fifteen stitches. Needless to say, with me sick, Russ has not gotten much done other than take care of the kids all weekend.]

Back to our Tuesday Topic:

Chris asked a great question in the comments of my last post:

Lisa,

I’d love to hear more about naming your kids?? We’re trying to decide that right now. We’re thinking about new American first names and their ET names for middle. Mostly because, thinking of the future, the boys name on a resume might be hard. Thought an easily pronounced american name would be better. SO, you don’t call your boys their American names? Is that their choice, or yours? We’re also thinking of doing the same for our daughter, so she won’t think, “why did he get a new name, and not me?” Oh the decisions!!

Thanks for any pointers & viewpoints!

Chris in Auburn, WA

You can share your answers to Chris’s question as a comment, or in the form of an email:

thankfulmom (at) gmail (dot) com

I’ll share my answer along with yours in an upcoming “Answers” post. Don’t be shy – this is how we learn from one another.

~Lisa

My Learning Curve: Efficient Correction

We made a quick trip to Seattle to meet with the therapist who is going to be working with our sweet Dimples. She is a wonderful, gifted woman who gave us hours of her time to get us started. She had many great insights about children affected by trauma. She also gave us a number of practical tools to begin implementing at home. We will travel back to see her with Dimples next week.

I am in the midst of a messy project, but this post has been rattling around for a week and I need to get it out of my head and onto my blog.

So here I am thinking more about the teachings of Dr. Karyn Purvis. In my earlier post on correction, I wrote about the IDEAL response: Immediate, Direct, Efficient, Action-based, and Level. In her lecture she went into detail about how to respond Efficiently when correcting a child. I’ll try to summarize some of what she said here.

First, we need to match our response to the behavior of the child. Dr. Purvis talks about using a tone of “playful engagement”. Imagine it as being lighthearted, and responding to the child with a twinkle in your eye. For example, if my child says, “Give me a cookie!” Dr. Purvis would tell me to playfully respond, “Are you asking me or telling me?” Most kids will probably sheepishly reply that they are asking, which I would follow with, “Let me hear you ask that again using respect.”

Second, if the child still isn’t responding, I then give them two choices. Dr. Purvis says to hold up two fingers and clearly offer two options, for example I might say, “You may not have a cookie right now because lunch is in ten minutes, but you may choose an apple, or wait until lunch time to eat.”

At this point, I hope the child will choose what I have offered, but if things are ramping up and beginning to move out of control, I will direct the child to our “Think it Over” spot, which in my house is the “ugly chair” in the family room next to the kitchen. Dr. Purvis says to remain no more than 6 – 8 ft. away. I tell my child that when they are calm and ready to talk to me, they can say “Ready” and I will be right there to talk with them.

When that happens, we then have a “do over” and I have the child come back to the kitchen, or where ever we were when the initial request was made and I have them do it again. I answer, giving them the two choices and they have an opportunity to answer respectfully. The child may choose not to have a snack, and that is fine too, but the process is done in a calm manner with respect.

Dr. Purvis also says:

Use the fewest words necessary to make your point clear to the child – no more than
twelve.

This is not easy – I assure you that Russ and I regularly have to remind each other of this. We whisper the cue “few words” to each other as a reminder.

I am definitely not doing justice to Dr. Purvis’ teaching, and feel a bit sheepish sharing what I am learning. Keep in mind that I am writing from the notes that I took while watching her lectures. Overall, I hope I am giving you a taste of her wisdom and that you will take advantage of the online lectures and her book, The Connected Child, as you are able.

[This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.]

More soon!

~Lisa