Adoption related-Still food obsessed - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 343 Old 09-19-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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I understand what you are saying and can see clearly why it would strike you this way. I don't think anyone here was saying that the OP is intentionally neglecting her child.

But that doesn't mean the child isn't being neglected, nonetheless. And from the description of the small amount of food this little girl is allowed to eat, I'm afraid I have to agree. Like pps, my kids ate far, far more at the same age.

I can understand how it might be very painful for the OP to even contemplate that the restrictions she's placed on her daughter's eating might qualify as neglect. But OP, I hope you will consider it, and consider taking the advice offered here and give your daughter enough to eat.
I agree. OP obviously is very concerned about her DD, and knows that something is "off," and came here for advice. I really hope that she's not reading this thread as a pile-on, because I don't think that anyone means it that way. But I do think that the girl is very hungry, and isn't receiving nearly enough food. I'm mainly upset that the doctor, who really should know better, is on board with this. Does he approve of the fact that the DD's milk is being watered down? I assume so, since the 900 calorie diet was his idea: and I find that horrifying. That's akin to watering down formula in a younger baby, particularly since the DD isn't getting very much fat in the rest of her diet. OP is just following her doctor's instructions, and I think that the first thing she needs to do is get a new doctor for her DD.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#122 of 343 Old 09-20-2010, 12:34 AM
 
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This is a really loaded issue - and people feel really strongly about it. Nobody likes to think of the possibility that a kid may be going hungry. I think most people get that this mom has tried to seek out resources and maybe got some bad advice - and so she is continuing to seek advice.

I keep thinking about this thread, and what I keep coming back to is that this child's behavior is being attributed to an adoption related issue. It may be an issue stemming from her time in an institution - it may not be. It just seems like a lot of feedback from different moms on here is that this may be much more simple than that. The kid may just need more food. It is potentially a pretty straightforward thing to address. Many, many people on here have shared their experiences of their children eating a lot more. I think it seems unfair to the mom and the child to attribute it to something much more serious (that she is "food obsessed" stemming from her experience in her orphanage) if the more simple possibility (she simply may not be getting enough food) hasn't been explored a little more.
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#123 of 343 Old 09-20-2010, 11:16 AM
 
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I have a 19 month old and a nearly 4 y/o. We call them little linebackers. They literally eat all day long. Together they finished off a whole LARGE honeydew mellon on Sat, and were still asking for more food. KIDS EAT A LOT, and generally they poop a lot too. My son is 24 lbs, my DD is 32 and will be 4 y/o next month. They are NOT fat kids by any means, they just eat a lot.

Also, my DD has that "pot belly" look. She always has, it is just how she is. As she is nearing 4 y/o it is lessening, but most of the time it is still there.

Typical of my 19 month old, exerpt from Sunday. I can't even TRY to add up the calories here. Way more than I eat, and I am pregnant.

Breakfast- 7:30 am:
2- 8oz size bowls of Rice Krispies and Hemp milk (dairy intolerant). Then he finished DD's cereal (what was left of her 2nd bowl).
Apple Kashi Cereal bar
Full banana
6 oz hemp milk in a sippy

Snack at 10 am:
4 oz oyster crackers
water in a sippy
1/2 of an orange (mostly just sucked the juice out of it though)
Munched on an apple, ate 1/2 probably

Lunch at 12:
8 oz size bowl of pasta, peas, carrots and ground beef.
Milk in a sippy

(enter nap for 3.5 hours, and that is why he didn't eat for a while)

4 pm snack
Veggie sticks
1/2 orange
Water in a sippy

5:30- Dinner
Chili w/ beans- 8 oz bowl
2 pieces of bread
Sippy of milk

7 pm-Before bed snack
Full apple (ate all but the seeds )
Few handfulls of popcorn.

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#124 of 343 Old 09-21-2010, 07:52 PM
 
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Anna,

How are you guys doing? Hope all is well
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#125 of 343 Old 09-22-2010, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello all,

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to respond to my posts. I want to reiterate that I appreciate EVERYONE's opinion, not just the ones that are what I want to hear. I am asking for opinions and am aware that not all opinions will be fun to hear, but may be the ones that I NEED to hear.

I have looked into a new pediatrician for my daughter and have an appointment in the middle of October.

I am clearly overwhelmed by the magnitude of responses but it is obvious that my daughter may simply be hungry and becoming food obsessed because she is not getting enough. Through all of this, I do believe, though, that there is also a psychological component, but that may have been initiated or compounded by her being hungry. So it will probably take more than "just give her more food" for her to learn to regulate her own intake. I HAVE tried letting her eat as much as she wants, and have only stopped her just short of vomiting. I have also experienced her occasionally saying "done" and wanting to get out of the high chair (all the food on her plate is gone) and then seeing me open the pantry door and asking for Cheerios. I KNOW she is full, she has said she is done, but would still continue to eat to the point of getting sick.

Nevertheless, I am accepting the scenario that she has NOT been getting enough to eat, especially enough fat. I have slowly increasing the amount of initial portions I give her, then providing seconds when she asks for more, and following her cues.

I think that one issue that compounds this problem is that I can literally see her stomach become HUGE after a meal. Since the day she came home and would never stop (yes I have tried), I was trying to use other methods to know how much to feed her. When she gets out of the high chair and looks 9 months pregnant I felt that she had had enough. I don't know why other kids can eat double what she eats and not look like that, but I was using it as a clue that she had had enough. She is gaining weight rapidly in the past week, even, and she still would eat more and eat constantly.

However, I will say that after a good meal, if there is no food visible she has been happy and only has a problem when there is food around. It is like she completely loses control when there is food around, even if she is NOT hungry. But hopefully that will end eventually and she will learn to self-regulate.

I know that some people can't understand this adopted child issue, and that is fine, but there is definitely more to this problem than simply not getting enough food. I have found a few other parents in similar situations, and no matter how much food they give their children, and no matter how much they let them eat, they will also never stop.

Thank you to everyone, and I hope I can continue to update the forum so that in the future if there is anyone who needs similar help they have information available.

Anna
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#126 of 343 Old 09-22-2010, 11:01 AM
 
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Have you told her ped that she becomes hugely bloated after a meal? Have you talked to a ped nutritionist and had them WATCH her eat? (and therefore see her get hugely bloated) The huge bloating would be a major concern for me - adopted or not - and I'd want to find out why thats happening, and what needs to be done to address it. The eating tons doesn't sound too bad in and of itself - its the bloating that would concern me, especially since feeding her less doesn't seem to temper it, and if you feed her less she's hungry.
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#127 of 343 Old 09-22-2010, 11:03 AM
 
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I've had a similar experience with a foster daughter. She was food obsessed and would happily eat, most all the time. When she returned home for a visit, her mom let her eat to the point of vomiting. It never happened in my home, but I know it was possible from that. She was 18 months at that point, we had her from the time she was 14 months. She also had BM problems though and I'm not sure how they were related.

Any time I was in the kitchen she would scream at me- she believed I had food and was hiding it. It made doing the dishes and cooking dinner a pain.

I'm really not sure how helpful that is, but I guess it is common in some kids?

My DS is 4 (adoption is final next month) came out of foster care. According the the social worker, he has always been food obsessed (since he came into care at 18 months). One hospital nurse told us that she sees it a lot in cases of mothers using drugs or alcohol while pregnant- something about it seems to make the kids always hungry. I honestly think he could eat and eat and eat.... probably until the vomiting point, but I cut him off after he eats as much as I do. And I'm pregnant!

I also wonder if he had his formula cut with too much water as a baby or something- in order to sell the extra for money. Maybe that lack of nourishment could cause this?

I'm watching his baby sister closely because we've had her since birth practically, but she had most of the same exposure to drugs and alcohol. So far she is not obsessed with food, and is the typical random food eating 18 month old.

DS is not overweight though (the first DFD I mentioned was quite a pudgy girl with a big tummy). He has no fat anywhere on him and currently he is shooting up like a weed. I'm not sure where the food goes though...

Doula and SAHM to Xander (4) and Lorelei (1.5). EC gave me courage to CD! Our children are intact. Our surprise 1st bio baby due Dec 2010!
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#128 of 343 Old 09-22-2010, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I went to a "feeding team" of specialists at our local Children's Hospital. They were mostly unhelpful because they really only dealt with children who had problems eating enough or eating certain things. They had never encountered this problem and they don't have any experience with adoption either.
But the one pediatrician I saw there said that it looked "normal". I have had three other children, and none of them looked like this after a meal. Another DD (bio) was pretty chubby until she hit about 3 years old, but never like this, with the HUGE stomach. She was just all over toddler chubby.

She does have an umbilical hernia, and weak abdominal muscles. Since her stomach expands so much even with just water, I am wondering if it is just that her muscles are weak. I don't know if I should see a GI specialist or someone else about this. Her current pediatrician has really been no help.

I think if I didn't see her stomach getting so huge after a meal I would probably not been as concerned about how much she was eating, right from the beginning. I had never experienced this and thought it was an indication that she was eating too much. Especially since she seemed to be eating huge amounts and never stopped at any point.

In retrospect, alot of things combined to either cause her current issues or exacerbate them. The issue now is how to fix the issue.

Also, we are going to be in Disney for 10 days in a few weeks. If anyone has any ideas for high protein/fat snacks that are easy to travel with, I would appreciate it. I am not sure how smart it is right now to take this trip, but I can't cancel it on my other kids. Traveling with a food obsessed child is not something I really want to take on, but we're going to do it anyway. My main concern is that she will want to snack constantly in the stroller but I don't know what to give her that I can easily carry with us.

Thanks,

Anna
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#129 of 343 Old 09-22-2010, 11:52 AM
 
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She does have an umbilical hernia, and weak abdominal muscles. Since her stomach expands so much even with just water, I am wondering if it is just that her muscles are weak. I don't know if I should see a GI specialist or someone else about this. Her current pediatrician has really been no help.

I think if I didn't see her stomach getting so huge after a meal I would probably not been as concerned about how much she was eating, right from the beginning. I had never experienced this and thought it was an indication that she was eating too much. Especially since she seemed to be eating huge amounts and never stopped at any point.
Weak abdominal muscles could contribute to the problem (I'm not a dr, but it just seems to make sense). maybe you could post a quick question on the special needs parenting forum and see if that sounds like it could be most or all of the problem? You could also ask your ped for a referral to a physical therapist (to help strengthen the muscles) or something, and see if they can help you.

If I were you I wouldn't give up. You're obviously concerned, and doing as much as you can to advocate for your dd. You said you have an appointment in Oct with a new ped - do you think you can take a pic of your dd when she first wakes up that morning, and then feed her right before you take her to the dr? That way the dr can see with their own eyes how much your dd's stomach is bloating - let her eat as much as you can handle that morning. The more info you can give a dr, the more help they can be. Good luck!!
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#130 of 343 Old 09-22-2010, 01:31 PM
 
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I went to a "feeding team" of specialists at our local Children's Hospital. They were mostly unhelpful because they really only dealt with children who had problems eating enough or eating certain things. They had never encountered this problem and they don't have any experience with adoption either.
But the one pediatrician I saw there said that it looked "normal". I have had three other children, and none of them looked like this after a meal. Another DD (bio) was pretty chubby until she hit about 3 years old, but never like this, with the HUGE stomach. She was just all over toddler chubby.

She does have an umbilical hernia, and weak abdominal muscles. Since her stomach expands so much even with just water, I am wondering if it is just that her muscles are weak. I don't know if I should see a GI specialist or someone else about this. Her current pediatrician has really been no help.

I think if I didn't see her stomach getting so huge after a meal I would probably not been as concerned about how much she was eating, right from the beginning. I had never experienced this and thought it was an indication that she was eating too much. Especially since she seemed to be eating huge amounts and never stopped at any point.

In retrospect, alot of things combined to either cause her current issues or exacerbate them. The issue now is how to fix the issue.

Also, we are going to be in Disney for 10 days in a few weeks. If anyone has any ideas for high protein/fat snacks that are easy to travel with, I would appreciate it. I am not sure how smart it is right now to take this trip, but I can't cancel it on my other kids. Traveling with a food obsessed child is not something I really want to take on, but we're going to do it anyway. My main concern is that she will want to snack constantly in the stroller but I don't know what to give her that I can easily carry with us.

Thanks,

Anna
I just wanted to reach out and give you big hug. I'm so glad that you are getting help, and it really looks like you are turning over every stone.

I know how difficult it must be to see so many posts with advice.

First off... I just wanted to say that different body types can react differently to being full-- for example, my son's belly get's hard and round after eating-- even a four ounce bottle. He can still put away food like nobody's business. Also, I think thinner kids show changes in their belly more; my 90 pound friends complain about pants being tight after eating, but I never had that issue.

Secondly... I have some ideas about healthy high protein snacks. These are all veggie, so other's might have different ideas. High protien/fat is easier to come by in animal products, so that will probably open up your options. Also a post in nutrition and eating for suggestions on snacks would probably get a lot of responses.

Being a vegetarian, I've had good luck in explaining to the theme park people that we needed to bring in our own food due to dietary restrictions, but ymmv.

You could have a small cooler with the following:

*hard boiled eggs
*nuts, if you do nuts
*string cheese
*rice and lentils-- i know this sound odd, but it's our go-to sack lunch food for DS. We steam the rice and lentils (and spices and a bit of butter), and pack them in little Tupperware containers.
*premade sunbutter/peanut butter sandwiches
*milk, formula
*carrot sticks
*peas
*soy beans

We also do a lot of cut fruit for our son's snacks (it summer and all the yummy's are in season.) low(er) call option for those are watermelon, apple (high fiber), oranges.

If you can change your hotel to one with a kitchenette; it would really open up the food options for your DD (and your whole family.) If not, use every amenity they have-- request access to a microwave, and ask for things to be placed in the fridge in the kitchen. Hit the grocery store once you first get their, and load up on essentials for your daughter.

I've traveled a lot for work, and it's amazing what you can do with a mini fridge and helpful hotel staff.It's not the same, but we don't allow our son to eat processed food/food prepared outside at all, so we are constantly packing and bringing food *everywhere*. It's annoying at first, but it really becomes second nature. We just recently did a 6 day trip to new york/new jersey and it wasn't as bad as you might think.

If you need any help at all planning logistics, lmk.

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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#131 of 343 Old 09-22-2010, 01:44 PM
 
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In retrospect, alot of things combined to either cause her current issues or exacerbate them. The issue now is how to fix the issue.
I just wanted to say that I've read your previous posts/threads, and I totally agree that *something* is off besides just the food. But I think the first step is to make sure she's getting enough and then work from there.

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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#132 of 343 Old 09-22-2010, 01:57 PM
 
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Anna thank you so much for posting your update. I know it must be difficult to hear so much feedback. Please keep coming to this community, to struggle together with other adoptive parents. Many of the moms here really understand the psychological component deeply, having lived it. Your tenacity is admirable.

 
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#133 of 343 Old 09-22-2010, 02:48 PM
 
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If it helps any, my DD's stomach does that after she eats. I have never thought it was a problem (she's my firstborn), is four, and still does it when she eats a big meal. I do think her abs are a bit weak, but she does fine with life in general so I haven't looked into any therapy or anything for it. I just encourage her to do physical play.

It's great that you are talking to people and figuring things out. I know I don't understand the nuances of what you are dealing with.

As far as at the theme park - I think if you just let it go and don't worry about her snacking in the stroller all day then it won't be a problem. What's the worst that could happen if she did? She might upchuck (likely wouldn't, but that's the worst I can guess). Well, a clean outfit later and you're fine. Beef jerky, cheese sticks, tiny diced things, nuts, all good options, IMO.

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#134 of 343 Old 09-22-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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While I was dealing with my son's dairy intolerance, we took a trip to Disneyland. Even though Disney is very accomodating for people with food allergies in their own kitchen (you can call ahead and tell them your food restrictions and their chefs will make special items with policies in place to prevent cross-contamination, etc), they were also fine with us bringing in food for my son and I (since were both off dairy) even though it isn't generally allowed. They didn't ask for any sort of documentation from a doctor, either. If you want to be able to have a pack of food for your dd, I'd probably call ahead and let them know that she has a medical condition and needs immediate access to specific foods and see what you need to do to bring it in for you. We didn't call ahead and the security people who check bags and backpacks told us it wasn't a problem when we explained, but if you get a less understanding security officer, it might be better to have some sort of contact person that you can refer them to or a letter from Disney giving you permission to bring in food.
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#135 of 343 Old 09-22-2010, 11:25 PM
 
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Just a thought...
Has she ever been tested for acid reflux? My dd that has the tummy bloating issues has severe reflux. The Dr's didn't realize how bad it was until I insisted that they do the tests while she was on her reflux meds (they usually have you stop the meds before the test). She was refluxing even with the meds she was on.

You have mentioned before that she likes to drink a lot. That can be a sign of reflux. It helps their throat to feel better after having the acid in it.
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#136 of 343 Old 09-23-2010, 11:15 AM
 
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She does have an umbilical hernia, and weak abdominal muscles. Since her stomach expands so much even with just water, I am wondering if it is just that her muscles are weak. I don't know if I should see a GI specialist or someone else about this. Her current pediatrician has really been no help.
My DD also has a hernia (being monitored by pediatrician). Her stomach does seem to bulge much more than DS. But even if DS ate two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, his stomach doesn't stick out at all. They are just different. She may end up needing surgery on her hernia, but they are going to wait until 2 to make a decision I think. They want to look at it again at 15 and 18 months.

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I am not sure how smart it is right now to take this trip, but I can't cancel it on my other kids.
I think it is good that you don't cancel the trip. The older kids will come to resent your DD if they see that her "issues" are causing them to miss out on things. Hopefully she will be so excited about all the sights that she won't eat constantly. Good idea about bringing snacks.

And Polliwog, she was quite square when we got her. Hahaha. Looking back after you made that statement at pictures, I was like yeah, she totally was. She was busting out the side seams of a 12 month dress on Mother's Day at only 9 months.

Carly, mama to DS C (5th grade), DD Miss M (07/09, fostered 1/10, adopted 08/10), and Little Miss C (11/10, fostered 01/11, adopted 11/12). Foster Son, Mr. A, age 11 placed 10/13.
My angel babies , ~01/08~ (twins), ~09/08~, and ~01/09~.

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#137 of 343 Old 09-23-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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Anna, a friend of a friend of mine had a little girl who was adopted from Russia and had issues with over eating and hoarding food. It was psychological according to the doctors, and the treatment was to allow her to have access to food all the time. This little one could pack it away! Sometimes she did vomit. But after a while (I think it was a couple of months at least) of knowing that there was always food, and she was never ever hungry any more, she forgot her fear of being hungry, slowed down, learned to listen to her stomach tell her it was full and now eats like any other child.

My point is that it was psychological, just like you think your daughter's issue is, and the treatment was to teach her that there is always enough food by having an abundance. Not to reinforce her fears by limiting the food available to her.
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#138 of 343 Old 09-23-2010, 01:53 PM
 
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i have absolutely no experience with adoptions (or two year olds, for that matter) I do have food issues, though-- My inner child would very much be like your daughter.

It sounds like your daughter had gotten used to a steady stream of food, and also uses it for comfort. Me too. I constantly need to have some thing with me; even if I've just eaten or am going to eat. As in, wake up, have breakfast, grab something to eat in the car. Go to work, hit the break room (soda, water, ect). On the way home, either eat something in the car, or think about what to eat when I get home. I'll eat 3 times in the evening; once when I get home, dinner, and right before going to bed. Here's the thing-- until I got married i had nooo idea that other people didn't eat this way. My family eats this way. Most of my extended family eats this way. Food is out all the time. (No, we aren't all overweight). It's a free for all 24-7. My mom has a special place on her counter just for snacking, and my dad would cut fresh fruit to pick at all the time. The kitchen was never closed. Not everyone was eating 24-7, but the availability was there.

I can only imagine being moved from that kind of environment to one where food was restricted. It can be very stressful. I agree with pp's to start out small, and also maybe adjust your thinking about food. Why is it that she can't eat every 20 minutes? can she carry around a watered down juice bottle? Perhaps keep a tray of small healthy finger foods out all the time?

Again, I know I don't have any experience as an adoptive parent, so please if I"ve offended or overstepped, let me know and I will edit/remove my post.
I haven't read all the replies yet but I wanted to give a big to the above! That is so me! I can remember the feeling of "scariness" that creeps in on any "Day 1" of a diet.

My sil, who is very thin and healthy, says she also has this habit of making sure she always has a drink or food available "in case she gets hungry" that she doesn't know where it came from. She logically knows she can get food pretty much any time she needs it, it is just so ingrained in her.

Hugs, mama! I hope you can find a solution!

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#139 of 343 Old 09-23-2010, 11:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am hoping to respond again,but we are going away for a few days and wanted to let you all know I won't be back for a while. I am taking the printout I made of all the responses because it has been so inspiring and helpful to hear everyone's opinions.
I will let everyone know how our vacation goes when we get back, but in the meantime I will tell you that my daughter has been VERY HAPPY this last week. Since I have increased her intake, she is MUCH HAPPIER, although she still has a long way to go because she still exhibits no control around food. But for now, I am thrilled that at least she is happy and more active.

I wanted to post the information I found out from my adoption agency, but it will have to wait until I get back.

Thank you all again,


Anna
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#140 of 343 Old 09-23-2010, 11:53 PM
 
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I am hoping to respond again,but we are going away for a few days and wanted to let you all know I won't be back for a while. I am taking the printout I made of all the responses because it has been so inspiring and helpful to hear everyone's opinions.
I will let everyone know how our vacation goes when we get back, but in the meantime I will tell you that my daughter has been VERY HAPPY this last week. Since I have increased her intake, she is MUCH HAPPIER, although she still has a long way to go because she still exhibits no control around food. But for now, I am thrilled that at least she is happy and more active.

I wanted to post the information I found out from my adoption agency, but it will have to wait until I get back.

Thank you all again,


Anna

have fun on your trip! It's so wonderful to hear that she is doing better with the increased intake. I hope that the success continues. I think that pp is right, she'll only learn control if allowed access to food. It is wonderful hear about your dd doing so much better.

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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#141 of 343 Old 09-24-2010, 12:31 AM
 
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I'm not a parent at all yet, not to mention an adoptive parent, but I read through this whole thread, and I wanted to mention that the distended belly thing didn't strike me as worrisome at all. Maybe if I saw pictures it would, but I doubt it. Up until I gained a bit of weight 4 years or so ago, this happened to me every time I ate a big meal. I was always fairly thin (5'8" and 117 lbs from age 17 to age 26), and when I ate, it made my belly enormous. My friends and I used to joke about it, my "food baby" and say that we should show the picture to my hubby and tell him I was pregnant. I really did look pregnant sometimes - not nine months, but six or seven. That was normal for me. Now I'm a normal weight (according to my BMI) and that doesn't happen so much. I just wanted to give you some reassurance that it's possible this is just what her belly does, nothing to do with umbilical hernia (I'm pretty sure I didn't have one), nothing to do with weak abs (okay, my abs might have been a bit weak), nothing to do with food obsession (although I could always impress the teenaged boys by being able to eat more than them at every meal).

Other than that, keep up the good work, it really shines through in this thread how much you care and want to do the right thing. That desire is the most important component of good care, it sounds like to me. I hope you all have fun in Disney!

On a farm with our kiddo (nearly 2), two dogs, two cats, ten goats, two donkeys, nine sheep, a bunch of chickens, and a husband (in the winters). We have another on the way!
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#142 of 343 Old 09-24-2010, 11:11 PM
 
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I want to post some information even though it might not be part of the problem or the solution. I was at a conference today with an infant mental health specialist and she was talking about cultural differences in parent's responses. She happened to mention that she knew of an intern from Ethiopia who educated her about how in Ethiopia as a rule parents have a cultural pattern of overfeeding babies because it is a culture in which famine can be literally not far off at any time. So the culture has adapted around a pattern of feeding babies way more than it would appear that they need--even deliberately ignoring the baby's cues of satiety and continuing to force feed baby when s/he is spitting out, etc. I just thought this cultural perspective might be worth looking into in greater depth--perhaps seeking an adoption specialist who is very familiar with Ethiopian culture and other Ethiopian adoptions. Just tossing this into the pile for consideration.

 
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#143 of 343 Old 09-28-2010, 01:57 PM
 
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Hi Anna
I don't often come around MDC anymore, but I saw this topic and wanted to respond. I want you to know that adoption-related food issues can get better.

I am mama to three kids, two were adopted from China. My younger daughter has been home for almost 4 years. She was malnourished when she came to us and is still very small and skinny for her age. We had severe food issues with her when she first came home.

I had to throw away all the ideas that I had about food and children, and discover how to help her heal from her issues. She is almost 6 now, and we haven't had a food-related meltdown in well over a year. What helped the most was availability of food. ALL THE TIME. I fed her healthy, good food for meals and snacks, and bought cheerios by the truckload. She always had a baggie of cheerios available to her. I stashed them in the car, the diaper bag, the stroller, at Grandma's house, in my older dd's backpack, etc. She needed to have the security of being in control of this. If she ate until she got sick, I cleaned her up and refilled her baggies of cheerios.

Now she can play at the playground and not be obsessed with what everyone else is eating. She doesn't ask perfect strangers for their food anymore. We can leave a restaurant now without having to wrap up ALL the leftovers from all of our plates and taking them with us. One of us doesn't have to pay while the other drags a screaming child out because of all the food on the other people's plates. She doesn't need her bags of cheerios anymore. She understands that there will always be food available to her, and that she doesn't need to eat it all at once. She has come to trust that we, as her parents, will provide for her. I won't lie to you, it took a long time and a lot of tears and second-guessing ourselves, but it did work.

Have you asked your adoption social worker for a recommendation to a specialist who is well versed in adoption as well as food issues? He or she should be able to help you, or find out who can.

Lastly, physical issues - has your daughter been tested for parisites such as Giardia? Is it possible that she was suffering from "wet malnutrition" when you brought her home and your doctor did not recognize this?

good luck, I hope you will be able to find something that will work for her and you both.
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#144 of 343 Old 09-30-2010, 12:03 PM
 
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Hi Anna. I have been following this thread but haven't posted as yet. I wanted to tell you that I think that you have been amazing on this thread :.

I also wanted to say (if it hasn't been said already) that there are several intestinal disorders that can cause extreme bloating after a meal and can also cause what seems to be insatiable hunger due to vitamin malabsorption. Things like IBS, Crohns/Colitis as well as Celiac can cause this.

I hope things continue to improve for your dd.

Mama to Thing 1 and Thing 2.
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#145 of 343 Old 09-30-2010, 03:55 PM
 
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Anna - I don't have a lot of advice, I just wanted to put my experience out there for you to consider.

We adopted from foster care, kids that had been neglected. They had been in foster care already for over a year, and still ate until it hurt. We never let them eat enough to throw up. My DS was 20 months when they came, and DD was 3 and a half years. DS would get very upset if you touched his food, even to cut things up or otherwise help him. Both of them would follow you around the kitchen, big eyed, whenever you were preparing food.

At the first caseworker visit she seemed concerned that they had gained weight, so I began to watch more closely what they were eating and what I gave them. The caseworker, who you would think had experience with kids with eating issues, seemed to be at a loss with how to deal with it.

I started reading up on how much toddlers should eat (and talking to other moms) and keeping track of exactly what I gave them. I didn't really cut back on their food, much, but did make healthier substitutions. If, say, they had eaten a lot of lasagna, I might put the lasagna back in the fridge so they wouldn't ask for it (out of sight, out of mind seemed to apply) but I would give them unlimited seconds on green beans or carrots, and a handful of cheerios after dinner.

I fed one snack in the morning, and one in the afternoon. At first we gave them a lot of juice, but then I realized they weren't getting the recommended amount of milk, and made juice a once-a-day thing. Usually a snack had peanut butter or yogurt, some kind of protien, as well as some whole wheat bread or other carbs, and a fruit or veggie. I treated it almost as a mini-meal. I didn't focus on calories much, but instead on the food pyramid number of servings for different categories. There is a website that gives you a personalized food pyramid for your child's age (and maybe weight?). If they wanted to eat a little more than the recommended # of servings, I didn't sweat it too much. Everything I read on child nutrition and obesity didn't seem concerned with toddlers. I thought it was more important to deal with the problems we had (not feeling secure about food) rather than the ones that might crop up later (obesity due to unhealthy habits).

I did realize that some of my own food hangups were coming into play, and I didn't even know until then that I had hangups.

Now a year later, and things really have changed. Sometimes DS is actually a little picky. I take that as a good sign. They just vacuumed up everything in sight, before. He doesn't mind if we touch his food, and while they are always a little concerned before mealtimes about what I'm doing in the kitchen and whether I'm fixing food, I think it is more normal, they just check up in between playing, it's not the only thing they're doing.

So I think with time, you'll find solutions that work for you, even if the end isn't in sight yet.

Oh yeah, if they got upset when we started putting away the food after a meal, we told them we were "saving it for later". That way they knew there was food to be had later, and it seemed to help them not stress about it as much. We also worked with them at recognizing their body signals for fullness - it's hard to tell how much good that did with DS, since he still doesn't say he's "full" unless his plate is empty, but it did seem to help DD.
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#146 of 343 Old 10-17-2010, 11:29 AM
 
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Anna,

I know you've received a lot of replies and hopefully your situation is better but in case it's not I wanted to offer another idea. Since your little girl was examined by a doctor and found not to have any medical problems, it may be trauma related. A lot of kids who have early loss have experienced trauma. Have you been to a therapist who specializes in adopted children? I would look up a technique called EMDR-Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing; this is a therapy tool specifically for people who been through a trauma. You can find a counselor at emdr.com or emdria.org. There are also websites that will help you find a therapist who has training in adopted children. Those websites are attach.org and at.radkid.org. I hope this is helpful.

Carol Lozierjoy.gif
 

Author of "The Adoptive & Foster Parents Guide: How to Heal Your Child's Trauma and Loss"

 

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#147 of 343 Old 10-28-2010, 05:03 PM
 
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Hi
I am totally crashing, and I hope it's ok. I am adopted (as a baby, international) so I like to lurk on this forum.

Frankly, it does seem to me that your DD could have some issues stemming from being institutionalized. Could it be that the only time she received physical contact what when she was fed? Sorry if I am stating the obvious.

I do agree with the others that you might try more caloric and protein rich foods, but perhaps you could ask her if she is hungry or if she would actually like a cuddle? Maybe she is just seeking closeness, hence the fact that she won't stray far from you if there is food?

For myself, my (adoptive) parents were overly concerned with my weight throughout my childhood and I was put on diets and not allowed to eat many foods. Looking back now I can see that my eating was disordered by the time I was 8 (I stole money and would binge on chocolate). Not surprisingly I have had a life long battle with food. I was definitely a chubby baby which did concern my parents.

Respectfully, I would also suggest that you might have some food issues yourself. Why do you care if other parents see you allowing your child unlimited access to food? It doesn't sound like your DD was ever truely obese (like the stories on trash TV) - just chubby. This is no indication of adult size. I am overweight, DD has a very varied diet with a lot of fruit and veg and protein and there are times when she eats a lot. The comments are always positive becuase she has such a healthy appetite and will eat healthy foods. So please don't worry about what others think, unless you're feeing her unlimited candy (which I know you're not).

But clearly you are not dealing with a typical toddler. To me it seems like there is something that's not adding up. I agree with the PPs that you might like to seek some expert advice from someone who is experienced in adoptees.

I hope you can find some answers.

Examples of high protein snacks:

hard boiled or devilled eggs
chicken chunks
pate (homemade)
homemade hummus (that way you can make sure it's not diluted)
frozen soy beans (still frozen)
mini meatballs
cheese in all forms. DD especially loves string cheese
peanut butter on ww tortillas, rolled up and slced into rounds

I know things like cheerios etc are easy to grab as you run out the door, but perhaps you could prepare the night before and bagt them up or have them in tupperware?

Leila, mama to Eleanor (10/08) and Emmett (4/10)

Visit my blog! www.rookblog.com

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#148 of 343 Old 10-29-2010, 12:21 AM
 
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Greetings,

I've seen so much activity on this thread, but never read it. Tonight I had some time on my hands and wanted to check in with all the action here...

I'm fairly floored to see so many replies about diet specifics. Especially from those not in this forum typically, and not necessarily sensitive to the adoption issues that are very real post adopt.

Anna, I can only imagine the struggle you have been facing with your new daughter... life has clearly changed so much for you since the beginning of all of this, for your whole family, really. It must be/or have been so completely overwhelming and distressing. I'm hearing so much worry and love in your posts as well. Thank you for being so open and honest here, it takes a lot of willingness to sit open and receptive to such a vast amount of replies and "advices".

You keep talking about her extended belly... I have a son recently adopted from Rwanda (we went thru Addis for immigration... fun, fun!). So, due to our experience with him and what we now know about the water they had access to in the orphanage (common in Ethiopia as well) my first response is:

Has this child been tested very thoroughly for parasites?

When I say thoroughly- from a good reputable lab, and multiple stool samples over a few weeks?

I would never be stupid enough to suggest that *all* that is going on is...parasites....or muscle laxness... or lack of fatty food... because I know from the adoption community how very real food attachments and fears/safety around ample food supply are. I'm guessing you may be dealing with a combination of things.

But I never saw one person respond to your descriptions of the extended belly with a concern over parasites or other buggers. And why would they if they had no clue about international adoptions? But having just gone thru ghiardia it was fresh on my mind.

FWIW, Paci has a umbilical hernia, or a diastasis. Apparently a very common thing with babies from orphanages. It was explained to me that the workers commonly pull babies up by their arms to sitting... babies that lack any muscle tone, resulting in a separation of the abdominal muscles. In fact, we have photos sent to us of other babies adopted from the same orphanage with this problem.

I hope Disney went okay. I love the place myself (a big fan) but have seen many a stressed out parent there. I was surprised to see you go from "we can't go anywhere in public where there might be food" to "we are off to WDW!" Do tell us how it went, and please let me know what GI testing you have done, if any.

All my best,

Jaya- unschooling mama to Ariah Rayheartbeat.gif1/02   Rukundo Pacifiquebuddamomimg1.png11/08  

missing Trace Oak candle.gif 10/25/06

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#149 of 343 Old 10-29-2010, 04:59 AM
 
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Jaya,

I went down a different road with this post, but I agree with you that testing for parasites is important. Thanks for informing the rest of us how important it is to find *good,* adequate testing.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#150 of 343 Old 10-29-2010, 07:53 AM
 
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Sierra, I don't believe that the road you went down was without cause. Everything you say makes sense... I just think *for me* as a parent, testing WELL for parasites would be *part* of the picture. It could tend to make any baby, with psychological issues or not, adequate caloric intake or not, hungry *all* the time, no?

My son was not like that (although he likes to know he has food around at all times and exhibits certain tendencies like stealing everyone's food at a park/beach that are imo clearly related to deprivation at the orphanage) but still just *coming* from that region, independent of food issues, warrants extensive parasite testing.

And then add the hungry all the time and the distended abdomen. I'll be curious to see if OP has already been down this road.

Jaya- unschooling mama to Ariah Rayheartbeat.gif1/02   Rukundo Pacifiquebuddamomimg1.png11/08  

missing Trace Oak candle.gif 10/25/06

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