23
Apr
09

A Must Read for Adoptive Parents

I’ve just finished what I consider to be the best adoptive parenting book out there. It’s Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child: From Your First Hours Together Through the the Teen Years by Patty Cogen. I have so much good to say about this book, I almost don’t know where to begin. So I’ll start by explaining a little about how the book is set up.

The book is broken down into three parts, with the last part divided into sections by age and detailing some of the issues that adopted kids are likely to experience at these ages. The majority of examples in the book are gleaned by following five different adopted children and following the different ways each of them copes with their adoption. One is an infant adopted from Korea, another is an infant adopted from Guatemala, the third is a toddler adopted from Russia, and the last two are preschoolers adopted from China.

I love this approach because before this book, I didn’t feel that any of the books really addressed my child’s situation–having on only prior placement to a foster home where he was well cared for and received lots of attention. Most of the adoption books I’ve read deal mostly with extreme cases of attachment disorder, PSTD, or sensory issues.

While I know that my son’s situation didn’t preclude him from having any of those issues, once he was home and we were watching him, he didn’t seem to have servere problems. But he did have attachment strain and few books seemed to help me understand what he was thinking.

This book does that! It helps you see things from your child’s prespective and she gives you tips and advice on things you can do to nurture a deeper trusting relationship with your child. In fact, her advice worked for us just days after I finished reading the book.

We had a relative visiting and staying with us. My husband and I had noticed that our son’s sleeping issues have seemed to esclate when others stay with us, which didn’t make a lot of sense to us. His routine is the same, he’s in the same house with us here, so what’s the problem? Cogen helped me to see that this situation might remind him of another time when he meet and spent time with new people (who were white and had blue and green eyes)–the day we meet him. And two days later we took him away from everything he’d ever know. So after two nights of our son waking up crying and scared, I talked with him and told him that when his uncle leaves, he’ll still be here with us. That he won’t be going with his uncle but will still live in our house with Mommy and Daddy. That night and each night since, he’s back to his normal issues (more about those in another post). Maybe it’s a concidence but I don’t think so.

Another idea from the book that I put into immediate use is Cogen’s Three-Picture Story idea. The idea is to put the earliest photo of your child that you have, a photo of you picking up your child, and a current family photo on the same 8 x 11 page together. Then use it to talk with your child in basic terms about the Big Change that’s happened in the child’s life.

She includes ideas about talking with your adopted child about birth (another thing I’d been wondering about how to do), dealing with sleep issues, language issues, developing a cultural identity, and much more. The part listing age-related issues means that this book will be a resource for your family for years to come.

I honestly can’t say enough good things about this book. I’m so thankful it’s been published and can guide families to better understand and help their children. I first checked it out from our local library, and Amazon.com has it in both paperback and hardcover.

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My Korean Culture Blog

Just a reminder that if you want to learn more about Korean culture (both traditional and pop culture), language resources, and cooking, check out my other blog: thekoreanway.wordpress.com It's filled with resources for adoptive families or anyone interested in Korean culture.

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Be Strong, Geum-Soon
Please Teach Me English
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2009 Lost Memories

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