March 27, 2014

On Meeting your Toddler(s) via Adoption

A couple of months ago we finally got the chance to sit down and watch Philomena, a movie about a woman’s search for her son.  As I was sitting there, horrified by past adoption practices, which sadly still occur today, I began to think, “what if we got the call tomorrow?”  We have done a lot of planning for our home environment, work schedule and emotionally/mentally to do our best to be ready for the call, but there always seems like there is more that one can do.  

I have several lists, one that includes questions we would ask when we receive the call, another that has a list of the items we need to purchase upon knowing the age of the child(ren) – bed vs. crib, diapers vs. underwear, etc.  We have been told that we may receive a call in the morning and pick up our children in the afternoon.  It could be quick, it will be emotionally overwhelming and I want to do my best to be present for the kids and not thinking about the details of where I need to buy a crib. 

Back to the movie.  As we were watching, I realized that our diaper bag is not packed.  While we may not use it for another year, we may be using it tomorrow.  So I got off the couch and started packing.  Below are a few items that I would encourage you to think about having when you meet your toddler via adoption.  Our hope is that we would have items to engage, connect with and comfort our children upon our first meeting.
My goal is to not overwhelm the children, but rather engage them in a trusting way.  I hope to communicate to them that I am trustworthy with both my actions and words.  It will be an emotional experience and I want to demonstrate the love and affection that I have for them, but I also want to do this in a respectful way.

Thus, I felt like it would be important to have some tools along to engage in play with them.  In our diaper bag, I have a few legos packed as well as two books that are very special to me.  One is, You are Important and the other is You are Brave.  I hope that our children understand how important they are to us as well as how brave we think they are.  I cannot wait to read these books to them.
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I also packed this adorable stuffed elephant and taggie blankets that I made for them.  They can hold onto these on our ride home.  I hope that these items can provide them a sense of security and safety as we leave all that they have ever known.
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Also included in the diaper bag are a couple of water bottles, calming lotion, diapers and wipes.  Once we receive the call, I will also throw in a few snacks along with a change of clothes.  I am not certain that we will need these items, but I thought they were helpful to include.  I want them to know from the very beginning that we will meet their needs. 
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Lastly, I have a printed document of questions that I would love to ask the center staff.  We would love to know more about our children’s likes and dislikes, routines and personalities, and look forward to having time with the individuals that have provided love and care for them.

This is what we have packed.  Feel free to suggest other items that may be helpful.

Oh, I will also have a camera along as I want to be sure to document our first meeting!


Heather Buys said...

You are going to be an incredible mother, Cassie! Your kids will appreciate the thought and love you put into making their first day home special!

Remington said...

You are from Iowa!! So is my Son who married a Nica and we are expecting our first Grandson. He now is in Pueblo Nuevo. I as a Mom am frantic with all the quakes and now just hearing of volcanoe activity.
We are from DSM and I have enjoyed your blog! Keep it up and be safe!

Cassie and Kevin Zonnefeld said...

Remington - it seems like the tremmors and quakes have calmed down a bit. Congrats on the arrival of your first grandson!