Attachment-Parenting the Adopted Child - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 19 Old 01-29-2002, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We know two couples who will be doing international adoptions in the next 6 months.
Both are sure to be excellent parents, but I want to get to them before the parent-centered folks do!
Ideally I'd like to send subscriptions to Mothering, The Baby Book (Sears), and You Are Your Child's First Teacher (Baldwin), but they all have so much information about the importance of birth, bonding and breastfeeding!
I don't know how old the children will be, and this will be the first child for both couples.
Can anyone recommend any good titles?
Is there anything out there at all about AP & the adopted child?
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#2 of 19 Old 01-29-2002, 11:43 AM
 
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The Sears have an adopted child, so maybe xerox the relevant chapters? Or check to see if they have stuff.
LLL has booklets on breastfeeding the adoptive babe, and might have more info for older kids.
I have a friend who felt that attachment parenting her girls was theway to make them secure in understanding that this was mommy. They both were pretty attached to their foster moms in China, and were used to being carried, etc. An orphanage baby wouldn't be.
But the one tool Barb used consistently was a sling. Actually, a Sarah's Ride, since her second girl was almost a year when she arrived, and the hip carry was really the only feasible one. I spent hours with them when she was young, and momma never put her down.
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#3 of 19 Old 01-29-2002, 03:50 PM
 
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our dd is adopted (at age 2 days, now almost 8 mos.). We've always followed an AP model of parenting - including using a sling and doing adoptive breastfeeding. I think the Sears books are great, a sub. to Mothering, and the book Breastfeeding Your Adopted Baby (or The Adopted Baby - can't remember exactly right now), Patterson, I believe is the authors last name - it's out of print, but you can get it from Amazon pretty easily. Also, there's an adoptive breastfeeding website at www.fourfriends.com . The issue of bfeeding "older" children, i.e. not newborns is one that's addressed often on that site. Adoptive parents can make great AP'ers because they have usually gone through so much to bring a child into their lives. They usually don't take the role of parent very lightly. Best of luck to your friends!
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#4 of 19 Old 01-29-2002, 05:19 PM
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One of my best friends borrowed my sling to make the trip to China to adopt her little girl.

Adopted children (with the possible exception of newborns) are either in orphanages or will need to mourn the loss of the foster parents they have formed bonds with.

Seperating from that which they know and forming attachments with the adopting parents is traumatic to the baby (in the best of circumstances)

Practicing elements of ap parenting (especially holding, co-sleeping, and responsiveness) are wonderful ways to ease this transition and form bonds with the new baby.

It is especially harsh to expose a vulnerable adopted baby to the draconian methods of people like Ezzo.

Please speak up and help these parents understand how ap practices will help their new baby.

DB
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#5 of 19 Old 01-29-2002, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for that link!
I just "drove by" but it looks like an excellent place to start!
I'm going to track down the book you recommended as well!
I've added slings to my "gift list" for them, too.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
Keep those suggestions coming!
Teresa
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#6 of 19 Old 01-29-2002, 10:06 PM
 
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Another good book is _Becoming the Parent You Want to Be_. I also wanted to mention, as someone considering adoption, that the Sears focus on breastfeeding, etc. might not be odd to these people at all. If you really want to give them a book like Sears, just write them a note that you know it has a lot of breastfeeding material, etc. in it, but that it also has some other really good stuff, and that you think they'll enjoy it. I think adoptive parents are used to adapting parenting material to their needs. And if they are interested in adoptive breastfeeding as well, there are a couple books on that out there.

Sierra

Edited to add: I just realized that I was being sort of repetative of what other people were saying. Sorry. Having trouble focusing today.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#7 of 19 Old 01-30-2002, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Found the Paterson book at Amazon, but one reviewer trashed it! Oh well. . . there were also some reviews trashing The Baby Book (obviously parent-centered folks w. marital problems).
Also found what looks promising: "Till There Was You, An Adoption Expectancy Journal" by Gold & Sardinha.
Anyone familiar with this?
Any other suggestions?
Teresa
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#8 of 19 Old 01-30-2002, 12:53 PM
 
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I'd check out this resource, too. RESOLVE is the support group for infertile couples, and they are big proponents of building families by adoption. I'm sure they have a website, and/or a catalog that includes some stuff on adoptive parenting that's good AP stuff.
SOME adoptive resources are a little hostile to Bf'ing info, because they view it as a way of telling the adoptive mom she's only second best. So you need to check any book out to watch out for this bias.
Good luck and happy shopping.
P.S. there are also great books for adoptive kids about adoption.
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#9 of 19 Old 01-30-2002, 01:39 PM
 
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Hi, I'm new here. I just had to register so I could post about this thread! I'm an expectant adoptive mom, waiting for a domestic infant placement through an agency. We have two potential birthmoms looking at our file within the next week, so our fingers are crossed!

I've been exploring AP for awile, several years. I'm feeling comfortable with many of it's principles, and am excited about putting things into practice. I'm planning on doing adoptive nursing (a difficult decision to make for me, but that's another story), wearing our baby, practicing responsive parenting (no CIO), and probably co-sleeping. AP is appealing not only because it's benefits for children make so much sense to me, but also the physical closeness appeals to me personally since I won't have had the experience of being pregnant with this child.

I really wanted to comment on books, etc. for adoptive parents. I LOVE the Sears' Baby Book--I've read my copy cover to cover several times. I think it would be a great gift. I just skip the parts about childbirth. The breastfeeding info applies to me because I'm going to be nursing. The idea that adoptive parents become used to adapting parenting info for their situation is correct. It's just a fact of life that most any book out there about babies is going to talk about pregnancy, birth, etc. The only thing I'd beware of is any literature that doesn't even mention that some babies come to their families through adoption. I prefer inclusive books!

It is true that many adoptive parents are uncomfortable with too much "pregnancy and birth stuff", including me. I want very much to go to LLL meetings, but I'm not sure if I'm up to being in an environment where those subjects will be such a focus, especially before I have a child in my arms. It is hard to be the odd one out.

I've also read the Paterson book--the information is great, but the book itself in my opinion is not very well written. The web is the best resource for adoptive nursing info.

If you are interested in a book that's specifically "adoption", my favorite is Launching A Baby's Adoption, by Patricia Irwin Johnston. It's obviously for a broader audience than just AP parents, but she does talk quite a bit about adoptive nursing and also talks about wearing one of her children. She talks alot about bonding and the attachment process, even quotes Dr. Sears a couple of times.
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#10 of 19 Old 01-30-2002, 04:49 PM
 
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Laurel: I know that my LLL group would be absolutely salivating at the chance to help an adoptive mom breastfeed, and offer her the support she would need in those early days when she's trying to get the supplementer to work and figure the whole thing out.
Most of the topics discussed in the four series meetings are relevant to any mom. A good leader and a good group would be able to adapt their style to you. For example, lots of LLL moms are really pro-natural childbirth. But they learn pretty quickly that you can't help a new mom who is happy with her medicalized birth if you can't accept her where she is.
Call around, now before you get the baby. I always tell moms to attend a meeting while pregnant. That's one way for you to get a feel for the group and the leader. Also, a Leader might know of another Leader in the same city or LLL Area who herself has done adoptive nursing. It can be a great resource.
I wish you lived near Philly. We'd snap you up in a minute!
And best wishes on the birthmoms checking you out now! I'll say a prayer for you that one of them will make her child your lucky baby.
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#11 of 19 Old 01-30-2002, 06:05 PM
 
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laurel, i found lll to be very supportive and helpful. While they couldn' help much w/ some of my lact-aid specific questions, they were (and still are) wonderful in helping w/ latch/position probs. There are 2 of us adoptive moms in a group of 10 or 12. I just love them! The adoptve bfeeding is so wonderful for bonding - as is baby wearing and co-sleeping. I just can't imagine it being any better w/a bio baby. Our relationship is so deep and sweet best wishes!
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#12 of 19 Old 01-30-2002, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm having a good-karma day!
The new Motherwear catalog arrived in the mail and on the very first page, there's Jody Wright saying, "I nursed all of my babies whether they were adopted or birthed. . . " and referring to an article on the website about adoptive nursing.
Then I found the Mothering magazine with the article on Breastfeeding Your Adopted Baby (while looking for something else, of course!)
And I just got a call from a friend who has the LLL booklet on nursing an adopted child!
Must be a sign!
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#13 of 19 Old 01-30-2002, 09:44 PM
 
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Teresa,
How exciting!
I am adopted, and although AP was rare in the 1960's, my mother had me in her arms most of the day.
She is the sweetest mom on Earth!
I would sit on her lap today if her old bones could take the pressure!

My best to all the adoptive parents here!
Tracy
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#14 of 19 Old 01-31-2002, 01:41 AM
 
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Thanks to those who have welcomed me warmly!

About LLL: I have contacted one of my local leaders, who has been very supportive of my interest in adoptive nursing. My first call was to the hospital LCs, who didn't seem to have the time of day to give me. But this LLL leader has been so helpful, even though she doesn't personally know any adoptive moms who have nursed. In fact, as we talked, she openly admitted that I knew as much about the "adoption" part of it as she did, as I've done some pretty thorough internet research. I am eager for the help, it's just the group setting that's a little bit intimidating. I live in a fairly small, isolated town, so finding professional breastfeeding help has been more difficult than I had hoped. I am going to be paving new ground here, but it is wonderful to have people be so thrilled about my choice.

Teresa asked about the book "Till There Was You: An Adoption Expectancy Journal". I have this book also. I think whether to give it as a gift depends on the person. I'm an avid journaler, and I found this book too structured for my taste. I'm not one to want to fill in someone else's blanks. But the book has been helpful in giving me ideas, quotes, to include in my own journal of my expectancy. Someone who might like to record their "journey" but would welcome a little help would probably really like this book. It is very well done and as far as I know, it's the only book of it's kind out there.
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#15 of 19 Old 01-31-2002, 02:06 AM
 
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I'm new to posting here, but as an adoptive mom of a 2 year old boy, this topic prompted me to jump in. I knew nothing about AP (never even heard the term) before my son was born (we adopted him at birth) - it was an out-of-state adoption so we lived in a hotel until all the paperwork cleared and we could return home. We asked the hotel for a crib and just assumed that's where he would sleep. Hah! The only way our baby would rest was not only in our bed, but on my chest. Two years later he still sleeps with us - thank goodness he taught us what he needed. We called him velcro baby because he had to be held all the time; neither a sling nor a baby bjorn was close enough to my body for him!

While I was not able to try adoptive breastfeeding (our birthparent match came very suddenly and I couldn't prepare for it), I would have done so should it have seemed feasible. Despite my son not routinely sleeping through the night until 21 months old, we never considered CIO even though the pressure from family and friends was considerable (they thought I was nuts - I thought they were).

For the first few months I had no idea there was a name for what I was trying to do. All I knew was that I wanted my son to feel as secure and connected to me as he could possibly be. Though we were lucky to have been with him since he was only a few minutes old (during our first day with him my husband said "I've been holding him almost his entire life!"), as an adoptive parent I couldn't help but worry about whether the transition from his birthmother's body to our care would affect him in a way we couldn't make up for. Holding him and responding to his cues just felt so right, and eased my mind somewhat.

As I began reading about parenting, searching for ideas I could agree with, I stumbled upon Mothering magazine and eventually upon Dr. Sears. It was so wonderful to know others felt like me, and made me focus more on the connections between mothers than the differences in how we became them. Reading all of your thoughtful posts on this topic is very affirming. Teresa, your friends will deeply benefit from your concern and support. Though children adopted internationally do tend to be older than newborns, I agree that many of the principles of AP will fit their needs for comfort, nurturing, and bonding. Of course, their parents will need to take their cues from the children - if, for example, they are used to sleeping in cribs, they may actually feel more secure in one than in a bed. But it definitely wouldn't hurt for your friends to know that co-sleeping might be an option!

To the suggestions already offered I would add this one - some friends sent us a memory book specifically for children who were adopted (designed by three teens who were adopted as children - one domestically, two from Korea). It's a lovely alternative to the traditional baby books, which usually include sections on the child's birth (something your friends' children may have no information about). There's a website at:
http://www.adorableadoptees.com/

Patricia Irwin's Johnston's book "Launching a Baby's Adoption" is a wonderful resource, as has been mentioned. There may be other books from her publishing company which could be helpful - the url is www.perspectivespress.com. I just looked there and there's a book coming out called Attaching in Adoption: http://www.perspectivespress.com/attachadopt.html
I can't tell from the information whether there's any discussion of AP as we know it, though. You might also pass along Dr. Sears' website www.askdrsears.com.

To Laurel and any other prospective adoptive parents - please know that though your journey to parenthood may seem endless, you *will* get there. Before we adopted I thought the whole process seemed totally random and very frightening - now on the other side of it I can see that we were meant to be our son's parents. You and your baby will find each other!
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#16 of 19 Old 01-31-2002, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the suggestions, Lark & Laurel!
I decided to nix "Till there was you" in favor of "A dream come true." Called just a while ago and had them sent out!
Also decided to nix the Paterson book on breastfeeding and just include a copy of the LLL booklet with "Launching a Baby's Adoption."
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#17 of 19 Old 02-12-2002, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The two copies of "Launching A Baby's Adoption" just arrived today and skimming through them it looks wonderful! The focus seems to be more on open adoptions of newborns, and the author clearly states that it is intended for families adopting babies under 1 yr. but she talks at length about nursing and attaching. I'm going to read more before I send them out!
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#18 of 19 Old 02-17-2002, 08:30 AM
 
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Hi Teresa - I'm glad the book looks like it will be useful! Just like with other parenting books, some of it will apply and some won't. But even the parts geared to children younger than your friends' kids will be might be helpful in giving ideas - maybe since the children might have missed out on some earlier attachment-promoting behaviors, some of the techniques could still be used.

When we adopted our son, I found it so encouraging when my friends with biological children (or no kids yet) were supportive of our efforts in our new roles as mom and dad. I'm sure your friends will be delighted and affirmed by your interest and acknowledgment!
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#19 of 19 Old 02-17-2002, 06:10 PM
 
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Laurel,

Go to that LLL meeting!!! Chances are, if you are planning to BF an adopted child, there is someone else in your area who is considering it too. Think of all the good you could do in the future when an adopted mom to be is considering BFing and is talking to her friend about it. Then the friend mentions this woman in her LLL group (YOU) who is BFing her adopted child. Can you imagine how estatic this woman will be? Someone who is doing that same, sometimes scary, thing she wants to do. You will be a wealth of knowledge. I was one of the first moms in my BFing support group who nursed past a year. The new moms would come in and stare in amazement an me nursing my nearly two year old, even more amazment when they found out I was pregnant. Now, many of them are there nursing their own toddlers. One of them even became the groups first tandam nursing mom. What a wealth of knowledge she will be for moms in the future!

Don't let the group, the size of the group, or the fact that you don't have a child yet stop you from going. I know many regulars at LLL who haven't BFed in 20 years. They go to support the breastfeeding lifestyle, and to give help and support to those who need it. There will never be a time when I don't consider myself a breastfeeding mom. It has become such a part of my life that even when I am 60 it will be a part of me.

I wish you the best of luck. To all the moms who have posted, what a great, supportive thread. It is bringing me to tears (of course that may just be PMS )
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