Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What To Expect

Many people wonder what to expect with a newly adopted child. Well I think it would be unfair to assume that all children will act the same way but I think it is fair to say that you can expect some or all of the following:

Lots of oohs and aahs over things that you take for granted.

Toilet paper in the waste basket, poor hygiene skills, and not flushing.

No sense of ownership, no concept of what is other people's belongings. Lots of touching things they shouldn't.

Poor table manners. Eating with fingers, licking the serving utensils, wiping hands and face on arms and clothing, pushing dishes to the center of the table when done, talking with mouth full-- however don't all of our kids do this at some time or another.

Use of bad language either because they have not been taught or think you cannot understand them. Often they are frustrated and will use bad language as a way to vent.

Lack of eye contact. Hesitant to trust that you can meet their needs. Confused that they are expected to follow directions from "new parents" who don't even speak their language.

Picky eating or overeating. Possible hiding food in pockets or in room.

Inappropriate interactions with siblings at first. Either too rough or too touchy feeley because they don't understand yet that these other kids in the house are actually their siblings now-- not just potential friends to have crushes on or decide to not like.

Not wanting to wear a seatbelt because it is uncomfortable and tight.

Not shutting doors when they should and opening others when they should knock first.

Scared of pets because they haven't been around them before.

I am sure I forgot a few things so feel free to chime in, but for the most I think it is safe to say that if you expect these things and prepare ahead of time how you are going to handle them should they come up, you will get through them. As for us, we have had our fair share of these issues-- but not all of them.

We are being consistently firm since a few of these things are habits that won't die-- but overall we are incredibly blessed with our two newest children. They are troopers, they are quick to forgive and forget, and they are eager to do everything their siblings do.


Molly said...

This is very interesting. We are adopting children who are a lot younger 2 & 3, so I imagine most of these show up in different ways. But one of my biggest concerns is that our new kids will be terrified of our three large dogs.

Amber said...

When we adopted a 3 year old through Foster Care we saw a lot of these things! So I think these are pretty good things to expect no matter who you're adopting or where they come from.

Stephanie said...

Good to know. Thanks for sharing {Christine & Amber}! We are in the process for a 3-4 yo girl and just had to fill out a HUGE packet of worst-case scenario questions and how we would deal with them. But these common everyday things were not on there. I want to go in as prepared as possible. I know there's no better training than hands-on, but it's nice to have a heads-up. You know?

MoonDog said...

you forgot talking to each other in Russian and refusing to talk to you in English. (and I DONT understand Russian) this was very frustrating for me. I KNEW they knew the words, we would repeat them all the time, but when it came time to USE them, uh uh! no way! nothin doin!

Keri said...

Spot on with what to expect. We're even experiencing most of this with our summer host child right now. ( She's from Ukraine, too) Its bringing back so many memories of when Nastia first came home. I'm so happy for Anastasia and Paul. I can't wait to watch them settle in!

Annie said...

The toileting things are often due to their experience of toilets that don't flush at all (out houses) or that don't handle TP (many houses have a special TP receptacle, and not finding that the kids will pile the TP up).

My kids all loved to work. I suppose all the chores seemed unique at first; sadly they are now all thoroughly "normal" in that regard.

Our kids all warmed up very easily, and happily they all came with exquisite manners. Better than the rest of ours, to be honest. I recall my older daughter feeling somewhat abashed.

Milk is not always well tolerated; several of mine still cannot drink it without intestinal upset.

Children won't drink tap water because in EU it is often not potable. Sergei was clearly concerned for my sanity the first time he saw me drinking tap water.

You expect them to be grateful for everything; on the contrary, such bounty confuses them. They don't know if there are limits and have no way of knowing what they are. Thus they may seem greedy and selfish.

Overwhelmed at the store.

Overwhelmed at too much attention.

Overwhelmed by too much stuff.

All of my children, on their own, selected the healthiest of diets - scarfed down fruits and vegetables with joy. Felt sugared cereals, even cookies and cakes were disgusting. Ilya was overwhelmed by ham. Generally, these preferences have remained. We all eat better now!

Mine had seen every PG13 and even R rated movie. Hard to close that barn door once the horse is out!

Tanya and Don said...

Funny how I read it and think "we go through this with new foster kids and every time they come home from visiting their bio family". Amazing how much we take for granted that our children have never known. Bless you for the wonderful example you set to those around you and those of us afar. And congratulations on becoming a new mama again!!!

Wendy said...

Loved this list. I would add:
1. A stalker/crazy need to know where you are and when you'll be back?
2. An incredible sense of when anyone is eating anything.
3. A steel trap memory that knows where everything is and what's in every drawer.
4. Moments of tender sweet hugs and crawling onto mama's lap-even when you're eleven years old.

Sharla said...

Our latest adoption was a seven year old and four year old from Ethiopia and much of what was on your list certainly applied to them when they first came. A year later, much of that list doesn't apply anymore.

I love your forks visual. Our utensils are mismatched also and there never seem to be enough! but somehow we always manage!

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