Wisdom from an adoptive mom
Cindy Rountree and her family just brought home their second adopted child … a 15-year-old from the new Vietnam Special Adoption Program. Hien is the second child to come home to the United States since the program was closed to American families in 2008.
Here, Cindy shares 10 ways that adoption is similar to bringing home a baby.
10 Ways Adoption is Like Bringing Home a Baby
- Sleep differences. When you first get home, jetlag and sleep differences (perhaps because of the new surroundings) cause you and your child to be up at all hours.
- Communication. You and your child may have to figure each other out in the same way that you observed your newborn and looked for their likes/dislikes and preferences. If they do not speak your language, the similarities to a (non-speaking) newborn are striking.
- Bonding. This is the best part! You will just adore each other. It will happen, even if it happens after a slow start. You will take on the role of Mama Bear or Papa Bear and they will copy your quirky behaviors (because they think what you’re doing is pretty cool).
- Immunizations (sometimes without explanation). Remember what it was like to watch that baby get shots? Well, you get to do that again! You might not always be able to explain why, “You only need two more injections.”
- Learning about food. A new culture means they get to eat new food. Don’t be surprised when your Vietnamese daughter loves spaghetti and meatballs but doesn’t want another pho noodle. *However, chili sauce never goes out of style. 🙂
- Things at home take more time. Remember the overwhelming feeling of having a newborn and all the extra work involved? It kind of works the same way. Around the house, you will have to help them to understand little things. You will need to watch and see if they have a grasp of the situation or if, instead, they have a quizzical expression.
- Public protector. If there is a language barrier and a culture difference, you’ll find yourself having to do a little more for your child. Modern conveniences need to be explained and you need to look out for that public moment when they are confused and need guidance (i.e., first experience in an elevator, airplane, etc.). *Remember to not let them get away from you in a public space. They may not understand their name being called over the PA system and that they are asked to “come to the front counter.”
- First day at school. Yep! Even though she is fifteen, you get to do the “first day at school” routine of conferencing with teachers, discussing what to expect, taking a photo of her in the school uniform — backpack loaded and ready to go.
- Tears. Sometimes there are tears. We all have to learn a new routine and sometimes Mom says no.
- Joy. She is yours!
Cindy Rountree and the whole Rountree family welcomed Hien home with Christmas in February when they arrived in America. Learn more about the Vietnam Special Adoption program.