Helping Adopted Kids Be Happy and Secure

As most of you know, my family has finally narrowed down our adoption journey to either looking into a less expensive domestic adoption here through Los Angeles County, becoming foster parents to a multi-racial toddler in need, and waiting less time to adopt. Our other option — our clear preference — is an international adoption with a fantastic Indian Agency in India, where we’ll have to put down $15,000 to simply start the Home Study process rolling. We’d then need another $20,000 to keep that adoption ball rolling and we’d still have to wait years to bring her home anyway.

Here’s the cold, hard truth:  If we had an extra $50,000 lying around, we’d already have a foster daughter in our home. Sometimes that fact kills me but the better, more yogic side of my mommyhood says that all things happen for a reason, that our delay is just part of the adoption journey and maybe we are supposed to wait for a baby. (In a few years she won’t be a baby anymore, that factoid kills me too.)

So while my family waits and waits, fills out some paperwork and keep blaming each other for not saving enough money, not making enough money (blah blah blah I am sick of us already), we forget one thing: Waiting for a kid is not even half the battle. What happens when we finally can adopt either a foster child with some problems (ie: fetal alcohol syndrome, for instance) or maybe even wait for a little Indian girl who is special needs or has been sitting in a sterile Indian orphanage for five years getting less attached, less happy…

Once we have a kid, how do we keep her happy after such a hard start in life?

Author Maureen Healy, an emotional health and parenting expert, says in “Growing Happy Kids: How to Foster Inner Confidence, Success, and Happiness (HCI Books)” there are a few things every prospective parents can do:

  • Build Confidence Daily (even for 5 minutes): The everyday things we do with our children that help them feel stronger, and happier no matter if they’ve been adopted or in process.
  • Get Them Moving: Children need to move their bodies and get their energy released in a healthy way. Because physical activity, eating right, and a good night’s rest are the biological basis of your child’s emerging sense of self-confidence.
  • Get Inspired: Do something inspiring together whether it is going to see magnificent waterfalls, flying a new kite on the beach or learning hula-hooping. By doing something that lights your child up, they learn how to build a new skill and you’ll see their confidence soar.
  • Create an Uplifting Space: Decorate your child’s space so they see happy photos of themselves, their awards displayed, goals (or vision board) hung up and they have their favorite things all around them.

Tell me what you do while waiting for your new adopted family member!

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Back To The Adoption Diaries, by Nicole Dorsey-Straff