A major theme for this month in the adoption blog was discussions—especially discussions with your child, but also discussions with others. I began the month sharing my four-year-old daughter Regina’s questions about her droopy eyelid in Talking With Kids About Special Needs, and in Principles for Talking with Kids About Special Needs I discuss how I tried to use the same tenets for talking about her eye that I use when talking about adoption issues.
Regina also figures prominently in the next blogs. She told me, “I Don’t Like My Skin”. I stumbled through a response, shared in I Don’t Like My Skin, Part Two, then share Resources for Talking About Skin Color–books and videos you can use to show and explain the many variations in skin, eyes, body shapes, feelings, abilities, hair, noses and more.
My other daughter provided the fodder for another blog when she said what almost every adoptive parent dreads hearing at some point, “You’re Not My Real Mother!” I also reminisce not-so-fondly about jet lag and its impact on children who travel eight or more time zones in Coming Home: Don’t Underestimate Jet Lag! Later in the month I discuss the related topic of Sleep Issues in Adopted Children and Sleep Issues, Part Two.
I turned the topic to children’s communication skills in Language and Learning in Adopted Children. I discussed research showing that children who were exposed to little language or to a different language sometimes seem to learn conversational English quickly, but as they move up in school have difficulty with higher-level language tasks.
I reviewed the book Making Sense of Adoption by Lois Melina, which gives practical guidelines for talking with children who joined the family by adoption or through use of donor sperm or egg. This book, as well as others I’ve been reading, gives examples of ways to talk to your children about tough topics that may be part of their adoption story. I follow this blog with a series beginning with Talking About Tough Questions. The series continues with: Tough Issues: Abandonment; Tough Issues: Drug Abuse; Tough Issues: Child Abuse; Tough Issues: Rape; and Tough Issues: Criminal Activity/Birthparents in Prison and Incest.
I did two more media reviews, one on the bimonthly magazine Adoptive Families and one on the book The Open Adoption Experience by Lois Ruskai Melina and Sharon Kaplan Roszia. Finally, I wrote a commentary on how many children’s books and movies have plot themes highly relevant to adopted children, even if they are not specifically about adoption. I caution parents to preview movies involving characters dealing with loss of parents and/or “discovering the truth about their past”. I called this blog Mixed Media Messages About Adoption Issues.
I hope next month will continue the discussion with my readers feeling free to contribute their comments. Thanks for reading!