Sunday, May 25, 2014

Recognition of Foreign Adoption Part One

Wow, I know I am posting TWO blog posts today. Super blogpost woman!

For those of you who have been following along our adoption process, I wanted to give you all an update of our process.

You are probably thinking, "Wait, what? Aren't you back from Poland?" Yes, we have been back for 6 months now. And yes our adoption is technically completed. But for those of you who are new to the adoption realm like I was a year ago, you still have paperwork to do after you come home-and lots of it.

Recognition of foreign adoption is one of those paperwork/hoops to jump through, although it is not a requirement for your adopted child. The federal government recognizes the adoption and your child is a U.S. citizen. Your child is technically good to go.

Why is filing for a recognition for a foreign adoption a good idea?
Your child will be able to get a U.S. birth certificate and you don't have to track down a polish one later on in the future, when you need an original copy. I going to go out on a limb here and say that it is probably easier to get one from Vital Records than it is to get one from Poland or whatever country you adopted from. And another reason is that having a U.S. birth certificate from whatever state you live in is piece of mind. You have completely finished the adoption-no loose ends. There is no question that your child is U.S. citizen and no one can question it or give strange looks when you hand them a birth certificate form another country because you will have the U.S. birth certificate. I'm sure when your child is older they will thank you for going ahead and filling out the paperwork so they could have a U.S. birth certificate. And the last reason you should file for a recognition of a foreign adoption is that it is EASY!!!

So on Wednesday (5/21/14) we filed a petition to our local juvenile court to recognize a foreign adoption. And let me tell you-it was EASY!! Oh my goodness! It was the most easiest part of the adoption experience. The ladies in the office were so nice and helpful. They made copies of our originals and gave them back. The office told us that they will mail us the court's decision when they receive it from the judge and then vital records will be in contact with us. Hold up! Wait! What? We don't have to go in front of a judge? Ok, this sounds almost too good to be true. The cost of filing for this petition in our local court was $130-that's pocket change compared to other fees.

Now different states have different laws and ways of doing things. If everything goes smoothly we will post an example of what we submitted to our court and that's why I'm titling this part one.

And now we wait for the court decision (again).

Click here to see part 2 and part 3 of recognition of foreign adoption. 

Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child

I was at the library earlier this week looking for a new book. I wanted an adoption book that will help me to be a better adoptive parent (I am always looking for ways to educate myself on the matter). I was specifically looking for Parenting with Love and Logic, but to my surprise I found a hidden gem that I had never heard of or thought that a book like this even existed.

The book is called Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child: From Your First Hours Together Through the Teen Years by Patty Cogen. The title had me sold! I immediately checked it out and started reading. I can’t put it down. This book has given me so much insight about where my daughter has come from and goes into depth about the way she thinks and views life. The author gives great ideas for connection games with your adopted child. In the appendix of the book, she gives practical advice for teaching your child your language. She teaches you how to react to certain behaviors and gives you lots of strategies in dealing with them. I’m sure I can keep going on about what I am learning through this book, but you just need to go check it out at the library for yourself and see.  

So here are my questions: 
Why haven’t I heard this book before? Why was I not recommended this book before I adopted? Why is this not a popular adoption book? Or have I just been living in a hole?
If you are someone you know is adopting this is another great book to give them. They or you will need this book. I’m contemplating on buying it, but I know it’s not in high demand at the library so I may hold off a bit.

I know I keep recommending books to buy and websites to view, but as an adoptive parent you have to build your parenting tool chest with a plethora of resources. Adoptive parenting is about being proactive, one step ahead of your child, nurturing, and etc… We must arm ourselves to help our children heal from their past traumas. 

Have any of you heard or read this book? Why is this not a popular book for parents adopting internationally?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Travel Medical Kit

This post is long overdue and much needed, since some of you all are getting prepared to travel to go overseas. Packing a small first aid kit in your suitcase is a smart idea. You just don’t know the names of medicines in other countries and then having to translate the directions to get the correct amount can be a bit of a nightmare, plus add the screaming, newly adopted child, it’s no wonder you can’t think clearly at that moment. Being prepared and bringing some simple medicines with you can avoid some headache while being overseas.

Disclaimer: Now, I am not a physician. I have never trained in the medical field and don’t intend to. My mom is a registered nurse and she has given me the guidance on what to pack and I work at a pediatric office so I also consulted with some doctor friends. And another thing to keep in mind when reading my suggestions, I was preparing to adopt a 7 year old girl, not an infant, not a special needs child with dietary restrictions and such, and my husband and I don’t take a lot of medications (knock on wood!). You may have to pack more than what I suggested and that’s ok- better prepared than losing your mind.

I bought a flat, plastic art box at Walmart and designated it as my travel first aid kit. Or if you don’t want to take the time to put together your own just buy an OUTDOOR first aid kit and add children’s medicines to it. I want to emphasize OUTDOOR first aid kit-not the regular first aid kit you can find in the pharmacy section. I’m talking about the outdoor/camping first aid kit that you can find in the camping section. The outdoor first aid kit is a tad more expensive but it comes with a lot of extras (bite and sting medicines, burn gel) and it also includes the basics (bandaids, ointment, gauze, ect…). So if you are going to buy a prepackage first aid kit, the outdoor/camping first aid kit is your best deal.

           Here is a picture of my art box that I’m turning into a first aid kit:

Now we have to be selective of what we put in the box because we don’t want our suitcase to exceed the amount of pounds and get charged a baggage fee. Try to find the smallest of everything- you don’t need the biggest bottle, just something to get you to the local pharmacy with your translator. And feel free to use what you have in your medicine cabinet. You don’t have to buy all brand new stuff unless it’s expired.  

Here is a list of what we put in our travel medicine kit:
Children’s Liquid Benadryl (small bottle)
Children’s Liquid Motrin (ask your pediatrician for a sample bottle- every ounce counts when packing!)
Children’s Liquid Tylenol (ask your pediatrician for a sample bottle)
Hydrocortisone Cream
Neosporin Cream
Antidiarrheal (pills)
Pepto Bismal (pills)
Laxatives (pills)
Zyrtec (pills)
Benadryl (pills)
Tylenol (pills)
Advil (pills)
Afrin Nose Spray
Small ziplock bag of Q-tips and Cotton Balls
1 travel size bottle of Purell
Small ziplock bag of gauze bandage roll and medical tape
Tweezers, fingernail clippers and nail file
Scissors (non-medical) (I have used this a lot in Poland)
Ear Thermometer with probes
Ziplock bag of latex-free gloves
Small ziplock bag of assorted bandaids (I even included butterfly strips)
3-4 Travel size Kleenex tissues
Extra small ziplock bags
Walmart Bags without holes for vomiting (your newly adopted child might not have much experience riding in a car for long periods of time-I learned this the hard way)
Small bottle of Acetone and some fingernail polish (you especially need this if you are adopting girls-makes for a great time of bonding and yea, it’s technically not medicine)
Copy of Where There Is No Doctor (great book, especially if you are going to a country where you can get prescription medication over the counter) 
or you could bring My Child Is Sick!  (also another great book, especially for first time moms who might be a little nervous)

Whewww! That’s a lot. I have taken all of the medicine out of their boxes to help save room. With all of the liquids, I’ve sealed them in small ziplock bags just in case they bust while in transit. I did not include ice packs. I usually put a couple of ice cubes in one of the extra ziplocks bags. It helps to save room and ounces so I could pack other things. But if you are going to a country where ice may not be available, I would suggest bringing one that you can pop open and it instantly gets cold.

Everything fits with room to spare!

Here are some things that I did not bring but are good ideas:
Sting and Bite kit (found in the camping section)
Aloe Vera Gel
Elamite cream (Rx from a doctor and filled before you travel)
Antibiotics (in pill form and also need an Rx from the doctor)
Cold medicines (for adults and children)
Earache drops (over the counter kind)
Lice treatment (I’m kinda iffy about this one, but if your child is coming from an orphanage, better safe than sorry!)
I’m sure there are more I could add to this list but I am drawing a blank. If you think of something please post it in the comments section.

Before you begin your travels you might want to print off dosaging charts for Children’s Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl. I taped mine in my trusty black notebook that I carried EVERYWHERE. And also check the CDC website for their guidelines about traveling to Poland or where ever. You just never know what virus might pop up before you get on that airplane.

In addition to my travel first aid kit, I also carried some medicines in my purse. I tried to fit them all in a ziplock bag to keep them together. You could invest in one of those small, plastic pill holders to separate the medicines. I carried adult Tylenol and advil, Immodium (you never know!), Pepto, purell, and some bandaids with me. It was really nice to have those when we were out and about in Poland.

Wow! That was a lot of stuff to figure out. And that was just the adoption travel first aid kit. You have so much more stuff to pack and try to figure out before you leave. Yikes! If you have a question about what I packed for our adoption travel please ask! And if you would be willing to share what you packed for your adoption please click here and leave a comment.
 For more ideas about setting up your first aid kit, click here. This is a great website of ideas of what to put in your homemade first aid kit.

Did I miss anything? Do any of you have anything special you like to put in the (adoption travel) first aid kit? Anything important that I forgot? If you went overseas to adopt a child what did you bring in your first aid kit?

Friday, May 9, 2014

My New Virtual Best Friend

When you adopt or planning to adopt, chances are you are the only one in your circle of friends to take on this wonderful challenge (unless you are apart of a community where everyone is "doing it", please email me I want to move there). This is especially true for those of us who are adopting older children. I do not have one friend in my circle who has adopted an older child. I do have lots of friends who are encouraging. I do have friends who give me advice about parenting, most of which I can not take because my kid is different. Trust me! I do have friends, but I only have one adoptive friend (she did foster to adopt) that can bear being with me and my daughter. She understands that I have to discipline in a weird way or I have to suddenly leave because my daughter is not regulating herself. She is patient with me and I thank Dad for her.

Who do I talk to about my older adopted kid issues? Who has been there before me and can give me adoptive parenting advice (APA for short)? Who can understand that we can't do certain activities because my kid is in the toddler stage even though she is 8? Does anyone know how it feels to have been with your child LITERALLY almost every hour of almost every day for the last 6 months? There really isn't any respite care for the adoptive parents together (currently I'm at McDonald's writing this post while my husband is taking care of our daughter). Is there anyone that can talk about the brutally honest truth about older children's behavioral issues? And geez, why do they resort to peeing on the rug in the bathroom? Clearly they went in there for some reason or other.

By the way, this blog is now offering FREE bathroom rugs to the first 3 people that can email me! My email address is sarai dot barnett at gmail dot com. I can't wait for all the responses I'm going to get!

Anyways, these thoughts have been on my mind this week and it's really weighing on me. It's not like I don't have any friends- just not ones who have adopted older children. Face it- we are special in our circle of friends. We are the experts on these children. I firmly believe that Dad has given us a special gift or talent, even though we will not admit it.

Ok so the title of this post is "My New Virtual Best Friend". I found her a couple of days ago on an adoption forum. Her name is Christine Moers and I'm pretty sure in real life we could be best friends. She seems a little out there for some people, she is sarcastic, and hilarious. She has been there before with older adopted children. She gets it and she makes youtube videos about it (thank you!), although she hasn't made any recent ones that I could find. These videos have given me encouragement of my situation and that I am not a CRAZY person. This is what adopting an older child or children is like and she helps you with their strange behaviors. She has unusual techniques but they work and it's all about therapeutic parenting, which is what our adopted kids need-unusual techniques. 

For instance she made a parody, "What you do with pee", a couple of years ago. I totally get that! And she makes me laugh about it instead of balling up and crying with no hope. She offers a weekly therapeutic parenting tip each week. To sign up for them, click here. She has lots of personality in her videos and she makes it real and practical. She has given me lots of encouragement this past week with our challenges. I will probably watch and re-watch these videos.

As adoptive parents, we need to find encouragement from those who have been there. They know exactly what we are going through. And they can tell us (with us believing them) that we are not crazy. You will lose your mind if you don't find someone who can relate to you. If you do need a friend please email me! If you are in the New Orleans area, I would love to meet up with you.

Do you have a special someone you talk to in your town? On the net? Give a shout out to them in the comments section.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Orphan Nutrition

When we first decided to adopt from Poland, we did not know what "kinds of orphans" Poland had (foster care or orphanage setting, lots of malnourished children, street children, all of the above, etc...). Our daughter was in a foster care setting for most of her life and she was the only foster child. I naturally assumed she was well taken care of, properly fed, dressed and nurtured. Boy, was I surprised when we first met her. With our first encounter I really thought she was 4 or 5 years old- not a 7 year old. I didn't even recognize her from the referral pictures. Malnutrition was not on my radar when we went to Poland. When we came home from Poland, I immediately went to the pediatric office to get free Pediasure samples (that stuff is EXPENSIVE in the stores, even with a coupon, so put it on your adoption registry just in case). We pumped up her calorie intake to a healthy level. And since she has been with us, she has gained at least 20 lbs.

Earlier today, I came across this really great website about orphan nutrition. It has all kinds of tips like how to bump up your child's calorie intake (safely), malnutrition facts and how it affects our bodies, and feeding practices for your adopted child.

Of course, I'm going to put a disclaimer in here: consult your pediatrician first if you think your child is malnourished. I'm sure you have already had your first visit with the pediatrician, since being home with your child because you are an awesome parent, and talked all about it with him or her already.

Here is the website:

I really like the list of food ideas to boost your child's calorie intake. It's a great way to sneak the calories in-even for picky eaters, so you don't have to buy that expensive Pediasure. Click here for the pdf.

What are your thoughts? Do you have a helpful website for orphan malnutrition? How about any good resources to recommend to other families?