New Year's Eve and Great Adoption Questions

We know how to have a good time on New Year’s Eve!

Happy New Year’s Eve!
Just in case you have ever wondered how much energy Dimples has, here she is playing with Noah. She is incredibly strong and lively. As far as she is concerned, the more exciting the better!

I went around the house taking pictures of what people were doing as I wrote this post. Here they are:

Eby, with plastic sword and rubber mallet, fighting the bad guys.

Josefina and Ruthie having a tea party.

Bowling with the Wii – thanks to both sets of grandparents – our first foray into video games.

Russ grilling burgers in the snow wearing his handy-dandy headlamp, essential for country living.

Samuel on Facebook

The girls making milkshakes!

We are having our traditional dinner of grilled hamburgers, homemade french fries and milkshakes. This is a carry-over from our vegetarian days when once a year we would “bust out” and have burgers. Ironically, now we even raise our own beef; twenty years ago I would never have believed it possible!

While the fries cook, I have time to share two questions that were sent to me by Tisha. She actually asked several great questions which I’ll get to in future posts. By the way, thank you to everyone who has sent in a question; it is going to be great going through them together.

What would you advise as the best preparation for international adoption?

Are there any suggestions for keeping expectations realistic and for attachment/bonding?

Please jump in and share anything that you have found helpful. I’ll add my thoughts to yours.

I’ll “see” you all in 2009!


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. small world
    January 1, 2009

    Ray’s comments for best prep for international adoption:

    1.Get your ENTIRE family on board before you begin. There will be bumps in the road.
    2.Consider your birth order and do not change it easily.
    3.Consider an older child as well
    4.Realize that you are not in control and that God has a plan. He just needs obedient followers.
    5.This adoption is not about you getting children, but rather children getting parents.

    Theresa’s comments on realistic expectations for bonding.

    1.Know that changing a child’s survival skills into a dependency on you is NOT an easy or quick process.
    2.Be prepared to spend many hours dealing with the trauma adoptive children come with.
    3.Skin to skin contact is essential to the bonding process.
    4.”Rejection” from the adopted child is not about you, it is their way of rejecting the pain they have already experienced in their lives. It may take a long time to work through the pain and have trust develope.
    5.Celebrate any little break through.
    6.Let your heart break with and for your child.

    These are a few thoughts we had tonight.They are neither complete, nor thorough. Just things to think about. We do not consider ourselves experts. We only speak from our experiences with our own adoptions.

    Ray and Theresa
    9 children from age 22-1year
    5 bio, 4 adopted

  2. Signe
    January 1, 2009

    Since I am still in the adoption process I won’t pretend to have too much wisdom, but I did read a book called The Complete Guide to Foreign Adoption that was very helpful. It prepared me for the ups and downs of the process. I also think it is important to expect delays, and be prepared to wait. Waiting graciously is not easy, but it is a big part of the process.

  3. Caroline
    January 1, 2009

    I think my advice would be let it take time to adjust to each other. Attachin in adoption is one of many booksI read before our adoptions.

  4. oneblessedlife
    January 1, 2009

    1) My best advice would be for someone contemplating adoption to go through the Bible and find every verse about God’s power, God’s timing, endurance, perseverance, surrender, His control, and His plans. Every adoption I’ve witnessed, and definitely including my own, is full of bouts that can be weeks, months or years, where you’re not sure it’s going to work out. You’ll need those verses, and a trust that God started you on the journey for a reason.

    2) RE: bonding, I would say the best thing you can do is talk openly with those who’ve adopted. They’re the best help. I’m not sure those outside the adoption world really understand, but those within do, or can point you in the right direction. We had some very specific issues that we never saw until we brought our boys home. I had trouble bonding with one son, and I would say — please forgive yourself for feeling the way you do, and don’t fake love. If love doesn’t come naturally, then start with kindness. Then give it time and prayer. God brought you together; it will come. 🙂

  5. lorismusings
    January 2, 2009

    I recently read a great article about adoption. It spoke of the Biblical definition of our adoption by God into His family. I think understanding that is a great first step. I have a link for that article on my blog in a post called “Adoption – Physical and Spiritual”.

    Pray and let God lead would be my number one piece of advice. I have seen so many times in my life that what I thought was not necessarily what God wanted for us and His ways are best!

    Talk to people who have adopted internationally – especially from the same country. That was key for us being prepared for India.

    When adjusting is taking place at home, remember why you adopted. Be open to how God will refine and challenge you through it and be thankful for that! Be watchful and make note of the blessings – there will be MANY!

    Remember that your children already in your home may not react to the adoption in the way you expect. Be patient with them and let them adjust at their pace.

    Those are the few things I thought of. Adoption is an amazing, wonderful journey and it teaches us so much about God and ourselves.


  6. Family of Six: Going To Ethiopia
    January 2, 2009

    I’ve been reading your blog (and others) for months in preparation of bringing our daughter home. That, and literature about IA, has helped with preparation and keeping our expectations real. Some days are just stinky and exhausting; coming to peace with that is important. (I blogged about that today…) As far as attachment/bonding, our goal is to meet her basic needs before they become critical (eating, sleeping, fresh diapers, affection). More than anything, crossing our fingers while doing our best, knowing we will mess up and forgiving ourselves when we do, leaning on each other for support, and having faith sees my husband and I through. Crystal Tower

  7. Staci
    January 3, 2009

    I am a faithful reader as a future international adoptive mother.(Turning in application in 1 month!) We have spent the last year reading about families who’ve gone though it, their honest and thoughtful sharing helps us to forge an idea of what it’s like. We’ve also spent hours talking to program directors at different adoption and homestudy agencies trying to decide what the best fit is for us. I had an experience talking to a social worker at one agency who kept saying “maybe you should just wait.” She seemed to judge that because we were a certain age, who already had children, that adoption should be something for older couples who struggled with fertility. I was turned off and knew this wasn’t the right fit. She wasn’t open to the idea that we are on God’s timing, just her own idea of what was reasonable. The next call I made to a different agency the woman I spoke to had a kind, non-judgemental answer for each question. So spend timing calling these folks, send them countless emails. The ones that get back to you fast to me indicate a certain level of attentiveness one wants during the adoption process. I am no expert, just sharing what we’ve been up to at the beginning of an international adoption. Oh yes, I echo the concept of telling people about it. Almost every friend and family member we have knows about our future international adoption. We think about it so much the idea is ingrained and seems so normal. It is easy to forget that some people do not think it is normal and want to understand or have time to digest it. I think giving our future childrens’ community a chance to understand, accept, get excited with us is a good idea. The more we explain why we are adopting and how, the more we love it and grow sure, and the more those around us can too. The greatest experience I had was telling my 80 year old Grandmother about it. I must have sounded tentative because she reassured me “I don’t care what flavor baby you bring home. I already love him.” This from a generation of intense racism! It will surprise you who accepts and who needs time so give everyone a chance. We are giving copies of “There is No Me Without you” to our family to read as well. Ok, enough from me.

  8. Ann
    January 3, 2009

    Deborah Grey has some of the best attachment advice–here are her top ten tips for the first year of placement:

    This ties into Grey’s last tip but I would just add to remember your child usually needs love and not discipline when acting out their grief in those first weeks/months. I would hold my son when he would start acting out and tell him over and over, in VNese that I loved him and he would always be my son–that I knew he was sad, I knew he was scared, and it was going to be okay. Every word you learn in your child’s language is a treasure when adopting an older child.

  9. Ann
    January 3, 2009

    As far as the first question 1.)Just remember there are many things PAPs cannot control during the adoption process–time frames change, country requirements change, paperwork changes etc. You will learn a whole new meaning to “Let go and let God” yet at the same time, you will also learn when to advocate. 2.) You will fall in love with your child once you see their picture in a way you never thought possible. You will ache for your child to come home and time will go very slowly.
    3.) Just as a sidenote since someone else mentioned it–in our case, not everyone was on board every single adoption. In our last one, our 17 yo son was until he found out we were going to adopt an older child, then he totally was not! He thought the language difference would be way too hard. It was very hard to finally tell him that we were going to proceed even tho he was opposed. Once he saw our son’s picture he softened and once our son came home he has become his greatest fan–they share a very special bond. I guess what I’m trying to say is, follow your heart and the path God lays out for you and God will take care of the rest. 4.) Consider an older child 🙂 Consider a boy 🙂 5.)Last thought for now–make sure you go with a reputable agency. If it seems too good to be true, if time frames are much faster, if babies are much younger, beware. There are some great agencies and many bad agencies–do your homework.


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