06
Nov
09

Be Prepared, Part 2–The Expanded Version

Last week I wrote about what to do while you’re waiting for your child to come home to you. But I felt that I should expound on some of those ideas, as well as add some that weren’t included in the first round.

Learn the Language. Of course, you probably aren’t going to become fluent in the language of your child’s birth culture while you’re waiting. But you can learn some important words and phrases that might help with the transition. A few such phrases might be:
Yes
No
Hello
Goodbye
I love you
I don’t understand
Don’t be afraid
It’s OK
I plan to do a post in the future with some of these words and phrases in Korean that you can use.

And learn some songs in that language to sing as lullabies once your child is home. If your child was born in Korea, you can check out the links I’ve previously posted to songs on YouTube. There are also several shopping sites that have CDs with Korean children’s songs or lullabies. I’m sure you can find the same type of CDs in other languages too. We bought a children’s song CD in Korea and used it every day at nap time. Our son loved hearing the language that was familiar to him.

Find out about foods your child is eating. In Korea most babies eat jook, which is a rice porridge. Eating similar foods may be comforting to your child, so why not learn to make a few things now. Here is a recipe for jook, although I’m sure you can find many variations. Babies also drink barley tea in Korea. Our son’s formula was even mixed with barley tea. You can find it at your local Korean market, or if there isn’t one in your area, Komart online has it too.

Make a list of questions, if you’re meeting the foster family. This can be invaluable to you as you learn to parent to your child. What is your child’s daily schedule like? What is his temperament? Ask about the day before and the day of pick up. What did the foster family do with and for your child? Did they have a party? Or pack bags of clothes and items that will go home with the child? If you’re child has a sudden outburst once you’re home, knowing these things can help you understand what’s triggering it. (Maybe the child associates parties with getting a new family.) What about favorite TV shows? Many of the Korean children’s shows are available on DVD and VHS. If you know which ones she likes, you can purchase some either there or once you’re home (several shopping sites have them). Does your child have a favorite toy or blanket? If so, ask if the child can take it with them.

Line up help, but not for the baby. For bonding, it’s best if the parents do 100 percent of the baby care. Feeding, soothing, diapering, and bathing should all be things that only the parents do. But that doesn’t mean that others can’t help you. Ask your family and friends to provide meals for you. It might be best to have the meals brought before you travel and have them in the freezer. You’ll all be tired and jet lagged once you get home, especially during the first week or so, and may not be eating on your normal schedule for the first several days. Family and friends can also help with cleaning or laundry or grocery shopping. If you have older kids, family and friends can help by taking the older kids out for special activities or making sure they get where they need to go (school, activities, etc.).

Having a new baby home is exhausting; having a newly adopted baby is no less exhausting. Our friends didn’t seem to understand that we essentially had a 20-pound newborn when we arrived home from Korea. He was 9 months old so they assumed he would be sleeping through the night (still not at almost 4). “You’re past all that newborn stuff,” they said.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. We had a baby whose whole world had been turned upside down. He had no idea what was happening and was starting over, just as if he were a newborn. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be. I tell parents to expect and be educated for the worst. More than likely, it won’t be that bad but at least if it is, you’re armed and ready to do what you have to do.


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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.

Favorite Korean Movies-TV Shows

Be Strong, Geum-Soon
Please Teach Me English
Spy Girl
Tae Gu Ki
Chunhyang
2009 Lost Memories

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2worlds1familyblog at gmail dot com

It’s a Small World After All


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