Thursday, July 10, 2014

ten hours down....twenty to go.

As part of our adoption process, we are required to have thirty hours of educational training.  Of the thirty hours, we have already knocked out ten of those hours through an online training module:

  • Adopting the Older Child -- We don't have it in our plans to adopt an older child, at least not right now, if ever, but it's still required training.

  • Conspicuous Families -- How to face racial stereotypes, handle intrusive comments, and embrace our child's or children's racial and ethnic backgrounds.

  • Finding the Missing Pieces:  Helping Adopted Children Cope with Grief and Loss -- Factors that affect loss, signs of grief in children at different developmental stages, situations that may trigger grief, strategies to help children grieve their losses, and resources to support children and their families

  • Medical Issues in International Adoption -- The effects of institutionalization, how to evaluate a referral, provided advice on choosing a physician and the medical evaluations our child will need prior to and after adoption, and travel tips.

  • The Journey of Attachment - How to identify factors that affect attachment, how to recognize signs of attachment, and how to understand when professional assistance might be necessary.

Here's what I learned:

  • I learned didn't need a webinar to tell me how I'll handle intrusive comments.  It'll go down one of two ways.  Here's an example question from the webinar: "If someone asks you if that is your real daughter, how will you respond?"  One of the responses was, "No, that's my fake daughter."  And that's the one I chose.  So I'll either be sarcastic....or just look at the person like they're dumb.  I don't mean to do this - honestly, truly I don't - but when someone asks me a question that I think is so basic or shouldn't even be asked in the first place, I give them a blank look.  I'm honestly trying to come up with an appropriate response, but unfortunately, the look on my face says otherwise.  So maybe I need to work on that.  Or maybe we're all so culturally advanced now that I won't have to answer any awkward questions.  Ha.

  • Medical Issues - Obviously I understand our child will come home with some (hopefully fixable) medical issues.  I'm thankful I married a former paramedic and nurse - someone who is good under pressure and understands lots of medical jargon.  I'll let him handle a majority of that.  Even though this shows how shallow I am, full disclosure here -- what I took away is the info about lice, scabies, and parasites.  That stuff really freaks me out.  Like a lot.  My charge now is to travel armed with the best, most expensive medicine the western world can provide me so I nip these problems right in the bud.

  • Attachment - Sarcasm and shallowness aside, I did pick up some good tips about attachment.   I'm sure I'll have the opportunity to discuss this more in the future, but attachment really is a big deal and luckily, I took away some nice little tips that we plan to use.  For instance, I hope our daughter or children have one special item in the orphanage that we can take and replace with a newer item, the idea being that that item will have a familiar, comforting scent.  Another tip was to purchase a CD of lullabies in our child's native language.  Great idea.  Another suggestion was to purchase and use a baby carrier both in country and at home.  Bottom line, we need to find ways to make our transition as smooth as possible so our child attaches to us quickly, learns that we aren't going away, and learns who mom and dad are.

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