Tuesday, March 08, 2011


As I prepare to travel to a foreign country to get to know and entertain a (most likely) toddler, I am soaking up any and all advice I can get on this. I am also loving all the posts I’ve read lately on attachment. Obviously having adopted three and fostered many more, I’ve researched and read up on attachment. But taking kids in in our own country, as foster children nonetheless, is much different than taking a child across the world to a new culture, let alone the idea of a family.

So, to enter this giveaway, I’m looking for suggestions on these two topics. What has really and truly been a lifesaver to you in one or both of these areas? Or if you have not adopted, what is one great idea you’ve seen?

You have the opportunity to win TWO gift cards! A $10 card to Star.bucks and a $20 card to Tar.get! All for just some words of wisdom so I can compile a list all in one location! ☺

This giveaway will run from March 8 (today) until March 15. You will have three ways to enter for a total of three entries per person! Be sure to leave your email address so I can get in touch with the winner!

1. Leave a comment telling me one piece of advice on something to bring or do to entertain a little one in their home country while abroad. –Be sure that your idea has not already been posted please, no repeats!

2. Leave a comment telling me one lifesaver idea of attachment and bonding to a new little one from another country. –Again make sure your idea is not already posted.

3. IF you have already left a comment for either numbers 1 or 2, THEN you can gain another entry by sharing on Face.book or your blog and leave a comment telling me so. I will not accept these comments if you haven’t already commented on either number 1 or 2 FIRST.

I look forward to reading all of your wonderful ideas!!!


Erin said...

I've never adopted, but I say try a variety of things to keep the child entertained - music/dance party, books (help them get used to your voice and dialect), or be active with them to get excess energy out (especially before flying home

Jennifer said...

Bring bubbles - kids love them and they're easy to pack. A great way to pass the time and bond together!

Jennifer said...

I loved my Ergo baby carrier - it can carry toddler too (a high weight limit). It truly helped me and my daughter grow closer and gave her the security she needed in those early weeks!

things to do or bring to entertain:

- bubbles are good, but be aware of the liquid restrictions on airplanes... this is why we didnt bring any

- snacks... food and candy are always good - get these whereever you are so they are familiar to the child

- bring interactive toys... we got this little toy from the dollar store that when you pushed a button, a ball would pop out of the cup and you try to catch it.... oh my, Wallace thought this was so fun as it was a surprise every time

- books that are interactive are good... like the ones with animals that you can feel

... cant think of anything else as Wallace was older and really disinterested in alot of toys... he loved just going outside and running around, or putting a blanket over his head for hide and seek... that kind of thing

Deb said...

My advice is skin on skin. Shower/bathe together. Leah and I do this and it's HUGE -- for both of us. I don't want to be in the giveaway, but that's my two cents. :)

as for attachment... I am honestly not doing good in this area, but the one thing that has been really good for us is singing... espcially songs with motions like the Itsy Bitsy Spider, the Wheels on the Bus, Twinkle, Twinkle... even though we may be singing in different languages, we understand each other and its something he knows and we can do the motions together...

Again... snacks and candy... :)

I put it on facebook too...

Email me and remind me to send you some more blogs... I always start to do it and then get distracted... I have some info on HK too when you start getting closer

Read The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis. Amazing and so true. It's like she watched my first daughter.

Carrier, yes. Stickers, yes. Bubbles, yes. Cheerios and raisins, OH YES.

Holly said...

I'm with Addie- careful on the bubbles...you can't carry them on but if you put them in a checked bag, make sure you put them inside 2 ziplock bags that are sealed just in case....stuff does sometimes burst open in the suitcase...no fun!
As for some other ideas of things- my NUMBER ONE suggestion is to bring a cheap bag of balloons. I am dead serious. This was a HUGE HUGE HUGE help both times!! Elaina lugged around a balloon as a lovey and hugged it and cried when she wouldn't let us hold her. Also, when she was not in a depressed state, we had loads of fun playing balloon bolleyball of sorts with her. One day Elaina was sobbing and Tony and I started playing a game with the balloon where we each laid on a bed (we had 2 twins in our room) and the idea was to see how long we could keep the balloon up in the air while laying on our backs with JUST our feet. We were so silly and we got to laughing at ourselves and she totally stopped crying and started laughing at us too! BALLOONS! We shared some with other parents who hadn't thought of it!!
Other ideas- Elaina LOVED loved LOVED to draw...we took crayons of course but the girl loved a pen and plain paper- so some sort of simple art...though your trip will go fast at just a week, China is 2 weeks usually though I have a friend there for 3.
Also, another tip- don't give out all of the toys on the same day...save them and introduce one new toy a day. I made that mistake with Josiah and he was overwhelmed!
Stacking toys were a big hit with my 21 month old (Josiah) and my 2.5 year old (Elaina) and take up very little room and can be played with in the tub as well as on the hotel floor. They loved building a tower and knocking it down.
Photos from home were a big hit too...bring a soft album with pics of the kids/pets, house, you, etc...and say the names of each...my littles LOVED this.
I also took a Leap Fridge Pack....it has all the letters of the alphabet and when you put each one in the magnet thingy it says the letter, and sings a song- HUGE hit and she spent LOTS of time doing this!
I second the idea of a good baby/toddler carrier...just make sure the weight is supported evenly...I took a sling and the weight all goes to one side and hurts your neck and back...great for babies not so much for toddlers.
Also toddler cars are a big hit for girls as well as boys. E LOVES to roll a car back and forth!

Holly said...

Attachment ideas-
Bottle feed. I know some people will say this is crazy but it works. Bottle feeding for both of my adopted children was a time of attachment for me and for them. I ALWAYS put a little vanilla syrup or sugar in the milk to make it sweet and warmed it up a bit in the microwave....the goal is to simulate nursing. The child must lay in your arms facing you and YOU hold the bottle while looking into each other's eyes. Josiah totally avoided eye contact and I had to play little games and make faces and put my mouth on the end of the bottle and make slurping noises pretending to drink them milk from the wrong end in order to get him to look at me. He is now over 5 and still asks sometimes if he can have bottle time. (he gets holding time instead now)
the sling...or baby carrier was a tool of attachment big time with Josiah. He hated it at first and I put him in kicking and screaming and within months he was bringing it to me asking me to put it on and put him in it. He would still ride in the sling if my back could stand it. I have failed in this area with E and am getting an Ergo type carrier from a friend to start using to help in our bonding.
Also...if you can get your child to look into your eyes and play games like make a face that your child is making....and keep copying until she laughs. This is good for bonding.
Hold hold hold as much as you can even when strollers are more convenient.
Do not let other people hold your new child until you feel truly connected. This will be challenging but sooooooo worth it. Trust me.
Start calling her daughter from day 1. This was something that took me awhile and felt really foreign when I began to say to Josiah things like, "No son, you can't fit the puzzle together that way, let me show you how..." Really weird but the more I said it the more I began to feel that he WAS my son and I wasn't just babysitting him.
Regarding the language differences-
learn some Mandarin before you go!
There is a CD out there called Chinese for the Adoptive Parent. It is great!
It teaches you phrases....I memorized about 20 of them in 2007...things like "I am your Mommy", "I love you" "you are safe", "Do you need to go potty?"
"Are you hungry?", "Are you thirsty?"
"I will not leave you" etc. VERY helpful.
Also, Josiah had a lot of rice based dishes when we came home. He HATED American food....so we had a lot of Chinese things for him as he transitioned.
Buy Chinese Lullabies CD to play when it is sleeping time...the music is distinctly Chinese and was so comforting to Elaina.
If your daughter came from a foster family which she likely will, don't shut them out, talk about Mama...We call her China Mama. We look at pictures and talk about how China Mama loved mei mei. It really helped her to know that China Mama loves her and Mommy loves her and it is okay to love us both.
We pray for China Mama and Ge Ge and Baba and ba Jie Jie together :) more bonding

I have more if you dont' get more comments...bonding was really hard for me!

We just returned home from Hong Kong in January with our new son Avi. We also have another son adopted from Vietnam.

My biggest piece of attachment advice is co-sleeping :) I have so much to say on this topic, but I will not litter your comments section with all of my thoughts, lol. Avi was almost 4 (and special needs) when we adopted him. He didn't like any of the toys we had brought to HK, but the suckers were the biggest hit. He enjoyed all the snacks we brought, too, but the suckers were like gold.

Good luck on your adoption journey. I will defintely be following along!

Stacking cups are wonderful! My little boy played with them a lot! He transferred snacks from one to another. He also loved them in the bath! We also took books, little cars, and a small Doodle Pro (write and erase board). We put all this stuff in a small backpack and he loved having his very own bag. We also took small bowls with lids for snacks and instant oatmeal.

Amy P

For bonding we used a hip carrier and it worked great while we were in China! We also used a stroller. Once we were home we stayed home and had very limited visitors for awhile. We didn't let anyone else hold him and we kept him close to us or held him when we did have a visitor.

Have the kiddos make a taggie type blankey (Minky fabric on one side is the best!) so easy to make and snuggly!

one quick note on Holly's advice... HK speaks Cantonese more than Mandarin - and it is very hard to find any Cantonese resources (books or cd's)... but once you have been matched with a child, they will speak alot more English to them (most people in HK speak English) so that is helpful

cami said...

Before we could communicate with our kiddos, they loved balls of any sort - rolling back and forth and playing catch, etc. Stickers are fun... put one on her and she puts one on you. I also think a little )(non-breakable) mirror is good for kids to see themselves. Make faces and then look in the mirror and then have her look in the mirror and hopefully imitate you. Teaching hi-fives and thumbs up is good. Seems like a secret little handshake between you two, which is cool. Taking photos with your camera and then showing her the pic you took. This is what comes to mind. I'm so excited for you and can't wait to follow along as your little one joins your family!

The best entertainment we've found during very long airplane rides to foreign places? A roll of masking tape. It's like never-ending stickers, and it cleans up easily.

lovelydomesticdiva (at) gmail (dot) com

For bonding: a Moby wrap or similar carrier. Holding the little one is great.

Oh someone said that.

How about a snuggly blanket for them to cuddle while they're on your lap?

Music that would be familiar to them might also be nice.

lovelydomesticdiva (at) gmail (dot) com

Hi Lisa!!

Thank you so much for your comment! Hearing from you (such an amazing mom!) always makes my day!! :) I read through most of the comments, and I want to reinforce a good carrier with hip support. We have the Belle Baby carrier from target(dot)com, and it's great for both kids. I think it's only supposed to go to 30lbs, but Victor is 35 and fits great.

We brought soft-sided photo books to Ukraine for Victor and Milana (which obviously we didn't use hers since we lost her), but Victor loved his. We put the English word and then the Russian word above each picture. We thought at 5 he might have word recognition, but he didn't. He still enjoyed seeing "mama" "papa" "grandma" "dogs" "house" and we put a picture of Milana, whom we thought would be his sister. It was great to have for the orphanage workers and the judge so they could also see our family and home, and having the Russian words enabled them to know who everyone was.

We got ours at Babies R Us, but it's by "Sassy" so I am sure they have it anywhere. It was a plasticy material so it wiped clean really easily.

I am so excited for you. I would love to know more about this journey you've been on if you're willing to share!



Mishelle said...

To bring along: screen saver with photos of family members, pictures of home, and pictures of places you will go. My daughter saw the pics on my screen saver so many times on our trip that she was very familiar with everyone and everywhere when we got back. For attachment: co-sleeping! This is a repeat but it's worth repeating. Best thing I ever did for attachment!

Jen said...

I'd say something with your scent on it so they can sleep with it and get used to having something to associate with you.

Liz said...

Thanks for the giveaway! To entertain: what about one of those See 'n Say toys? I know all the little kids I've known have been mesmerized by them for hours on end!

eemoody77 at gmail dot com

Liz said...

I shared on Facebook!

eemoody77 at gmail dot com

Shea said...

1. Sunglasses. Another adoptive parent suggested it, and it was a GREAT idea

2. I told O over and over, 'you are mine and I am yours' After a few days he would say 'you mya' (you are mine) and smile so big. I think letting him know I belonged to him helped attachment tremendously.

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I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

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