Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Preparing to Adopt an Older Child

I think I'll take this opportunity to tell you what we are doing to prepare for an older child. So far I've read the following books: The Connected Child, Attaching in Adoption, and Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child. I like the positive approach of The Connected Child, I felt like it offered more hope to the parent that attaching to an older child is possible, it also gave real advice on how to handle certain circumstances. I think I will take bits and pieces from all of the books so I'm glad I read them all. The last one I read I think will be more useful as children approach middle elementary age and older when they start to ask more questions about who they are. I also have Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control which I haven't had time to read but have heard good things about it.

Here is an excellent article on attachment that I found at the University of Minnesota International Adoption website: Attachment.

I wholeheartedly agree with most of the article and we hope to follow most of the recommendations. For instance, we are planning to 'lay low' for the beginning, but I'm not sure how long that will be. I'm fortunate that I will have time to be with Nicholas one-on-one so that I can show him I am his only mama and help him with his English. I think it would be impossible for us to follow to the letter every recommendation because the girls have school and activities throughout the week, I will be shuttling them back and forth from school and ballet.

I will wait to enroll Nicholas in a preschool program but am thinking about starting after the first of the year. At that point, I need to have time to help out in Olivia and Claire's classes and give them the time they need. I plan to send him to the same Montessori that the girls attended. I've always felt the structure of the Montessori school was good for them and it will be a good experience for him to be in a mixed age class.

I've read this and was given this advice. We have to think of Nicholas as an alien being brought from his planet to ours. Everything will be so different than he knows. The climate will be different, the food, the sounds, the smells, the people and the language. What he really needs is time, time to learn about his new planet and time to enjoy being a kid.

A Note to our friends and family: We know that you want to get to know Nicholas and to love on him like we do, but right now it's most important for him to know that his mom and dad are the ones that take care of him. We ask you not to pick him up or hug him or give him gifts or food without our permission. We should be the ones offering him comfort, offering him food, etc. What he really needs his family and time to adjust.

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day of School...lots of pictures of course!

The first day of school went great today! Olivia(and her new smile...notice the missing teeth!) began 2nd grade this year and Claire started Kindergarten. They both have great teachers and it looks like despite the increased class sizes they will have a great year. After we arrived home, I wanted to hear all about their day. They were bursting at the seams to tell me how much fun their first day was, all about their new friends and who they played with at recess. At least Claire recalled learning a new song about spelling the word RED, Olivia couldn't exactly remember the academics!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Preparing for trip#3

We found out this week that the adoption decree is official, so now our coordinator is finalizing all the paperwork and sending off for our son's Kazakhstan passport. Nicholas Roman is officially our son and we will be heading back for him in a couple of weeks!

You may have noticed that we have been calling him Roman, yet named him Nicholas Roman. His given name is Roman, yet I also realized recently that most of the kids called him Roma and we found in some of his paperwork that he was called Roma, the shortened version of his name. We do like his name but also we like Nicholas which is more American. We plan to call him Nicholas Roma and Roma for a while to see if he would like the name Nicholas. It's actually hard to think of calling him Nicholas after all the time we spent with him. If he doesn't take to the name Nicholas then we will probably just stick with Roman or Roma.

As you can see, we have been 'nesting' in preparation for Nicholas' arrival. We still have to paint the trim in his room and finish preparing his room. We have been spring cleaning and trying to organize our house so it's not so cluttered. We really don't want to overstimulate him, so although I would love to buy every truck, ball, and boy toy for him, I know that's not the best. What he really needs is our time and not things.

I've also spent lots of time reading parenting books and communicating with other adoptive parents in hopes of preparing ourselves for an older child. To be honest, I have had my ups and downs about everything. You know, we were open to having an older child, however, we were not prepared. Some days I feel confident and joyous about bringing Nicholas Roman into our family, other days I truly am scared about all the changes about to happen in our family. I am fortunate to communicate with other parents who adopted older children who point out that it is our son who will face the most changes as he is leaving the place that was his home for the last year, he is also leaving his country and his language behind. He is a brave little boy.

Between trips we have also been helping to prepare our girls. First, we have been trying to spend some quality time together as a family, second, we have just been having fun. Also, since we will have friends take care of the girls during this last trip, the girls just had their first sleepovers as a trial run. They had a great time, I can say it was a success. They were so worn out they both took long naps the last 2 days. We are so grateful for our friends for taking care of Olivia and Claire, we know they will be well taken care of and will have the company of their friends, too, in case they become sad.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Painting project

Here are the girls helping to paint their brother's room.

Life's a Beach!

One day last week we went to Morro Bay to enjoy the beach with friends from Olivia's first grade class, including her teacher and his wife! Although it was overcast and there were a ton of bugs, the kids had a blast. I love going to the beach, wish we could go more often! We saw starfish, sea anemones, sea shells, tiny crabs and even dolphins!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A few pictures from Trip #2

On our way to Almaty!

View of TV tower from our hotel room.

Beautiful view from Kok Tobe.

View from cable car on our way back down from Kok Tobe.

Juvenile Court House

Parents of Nicholas Roman!

Donating diapers and fruit to the babyhouse:

Enjoying our last visit with Roman: