Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pulling Out the Soapbox

I was just watching a documentary about a family that was going back to China to adopt a second daughter, 8 years old.  I could only get through the first 45 minutes of the documentary, and can only implore future adoptive families to consider a few things . . .

Please arrange or create as quiet (audibly and visibly) a place as possible to meet your child.  They are under such enormous stress, that noise and chaos must only make things harder for them.  Don't expect them to know how to manage an introduction to their new parents.  Just read them a book, point to pictures and ask them to tell you want the names of things are in their native tongue, only request of them what they can already manage in a difficult social situation.

Do not cram English down their throats especially if you haven't bothered enough to learn any of their language before meeting them.  All they know is that they are being taken away from everything they know, even if it's better for them in the long run.  You are part of the different and unfamiliar.  The only thing you can have that's familiar is their language, because you, at least, have known and have the ability to learn some of their language before hand.

When they're at your home and yet homesick for their old life, being stern with them and telling them that it's going to be hard and they need to work hard is not what they need.  Instead, please try hugs, rocking, compassion, "I'm sorry it's so hard, what can we do to make this a little easier?"

Strongly consider NOT re-institutionalizing them by putting them in school, and certainly not right away.  They've already been left by their biological parents, and then they were dumped daily for academic institutionalization (school) by the institution where they lived (orphanage).  Institutionalization is not for children, and they don't need to be dumped so soon upon their arrival home.

If your child has to be institutionalized because that's your way of life, then so be it, that's your world view, and yes, to each his own and may the force be with you.  But when your child is upset or stressed or crying (or all of the above) about going to school, please do not scold him or her and tell him that they are going to have to work really hard to be able to communicate.  They are already working like dogs to adjust their heads, their hearts, and their souls to their new family, new house, new country, new smells, new language, new food, etc., not to mention have already been removed from every bit of security they've ever known.  They don't need to 'work harder' and they don't need your pressure.  They need your kindness.

And, by the way, if you didn't bother to work really hard to learn their native language even just enough to communicate on a basic level, how in the world can you possibly demand that they work hard to learn English?  Are you kidding me? Think about any children you already have - isn't it a ludicrous thought to imagine NOT being able to communicate with them?  Exactly - and this child is no different!  Learn some of their language, and make it a partnership of teaching each other your native tongues.  Level the playing field for this precious, precious child.

OK, I'm stepping off the box now.
Thank you for enduring my passionately felt post.


  1. We've known several families that have adopted and done such a beautiful job with bringing the children home and helping them to settle in. Yours included. Recently, a pastor friend of ours and his wife adopted a little girl from China. Here's how they brought her home:

    On their regular family blog they show her baptism, he baptized her himself. Anyway, it's just really beautiful. (

    She came into a family of three almost grown boys and an older adopted sister who is married and has her own baby. The Lord does amazing things. :-)

  2. Those were excellent points. The family that bought out last house is going next month to China to pick up the little girl that they have been working to adopt for the last year. She is under age 2.


Please . . . Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Eph 4:29