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Minding Their Manners

I just spent a week caring for my 22 month-old granddaughter while her parents took a much needed anniversary trip. As her Mumzi, I was thrilled to do this because I simply cannot contain my joy when I am with her. However, this week of being her one-and-only caregiver has also given me a much …


Traveling with Children: What Was I Thinking?

Ahh…the dreams of a big happy family riding blissfully over hill and dale in the packed-to-the-brim SUV, with each child melodically singing Disney songs together, and Mom and Dad glancing affectionately at their lovely travelers, knowing the beach vacation is not far away.  WAIT! STOP THE PRESSES! This NEVER happens in real life! True, but …


The Importance of Post Adoption Reports

When parents begin their adoption journey, they are usually overwhelmed by a barrage of paperwork they need to complete. One of these papers is a document whereby you agree to complete post adoption reports for the courts, international country, your adoption agency, the State of the child’s custody, and/or the Department of State. It can …


Mama Stories

I hesitated regarding the title of this blog, because I feared it was a little too Southern, but honestly, I know you know what I mean by saying “Mama Stories.” With Mother’s Day coming up soon, we all recall our favorite Mama Stories; those gems of fond memories where we remember our own Mama’s or …


Discovering Your Child’s Culture: From Good to Great

Adopting internationally gives you the opportunity to explore a culture and country which is often much different from your own. It leads you to learn what life has been like for your adopted child while in that country, and exposes you to a plethora of new tastes, smells, sights, and sounds. Going to visit your …


Why Should I Choose MLJ Adoptions To Complete My Home Study?

Do you live in Indiana? Do you need a home study or family assessment for your domestic, relative, kinship, step-parent, international, or embryo adoption? Do you need a host home safety review for hosting an international orphan? Do you want professional services, experienced staff, a licensed and accredited agency, and timely responsive assistance? Do you …


Make a Difference During National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Since 1983, we have officially been celebrating and publicizing National Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States. Designed to bring together families and communities to work to prevent child abuse and neglect, the month of April challenges all of us to promote abuse prevention within our cities and towns and to help strengthen the families …


Teaching Your Adopted Child to be Resilient

Internationally adopted children have had their share of negative influences in their young lives, whether from separation and loss, abuse or neglect, loneliness and lack of affection, homelessness or institutional care, racism or rejection, or poverty and malnutrition. Whatever trauma they experienced, these powerful events have no doubt affected their well-being, self-esteem, views on life, and …


A Tale of Three Crèches

In Haiti, most children eligible for adoption live in crèches, or orphanages. Crèches may be funded privately or publicly, but a crèche must be approved by IBESR, the Haitian government body that oversees international adoption. From what I have observed, crèches take on the “identities” of their funders and directors; for this reason they can …


Getting Your Child to Ride in Their Car Seat

Most young children simply do not like their car seats at first. Especially when they are a toddler and mobile, they love the freedom that being unattached to Mom and Dad can bring. They are unrestrained and unencumbered and can do whatever they want. Confinement in a car seat takes away all of that newfound freedom …


What Kinds of Foods Can I Expect to See in Haiti?

In June, I was fortunate to go to Haiti, one of our partner countries which comprises the western third of the island of Hispaniola. It is a relatively small country with large mountain ranges, open plains, some virgin forests and, of course, the beautiful waters of the Caribbean Sea. Many of our clients often ask …


Facing the Bathroom Blues

Every parent seems to have questions about potty training, and new adoptive parents often wonder if their child’s behavior is “normal” or not. Recently, a parent contacted me about her child who had just arrived in the US. She was definitely experiencing the “bathroom blues” with her toddler- see if this sounds familiar: “Potty training has …


Taking a Drive Through Haiti

Parents adopting from Haiti often ask us what it will be like when they arrive in their child’s native country. They want to know what to expect, what to prepare for and what to bring to make their trip more meaningful. One of our families actually asked if we could shoot a video while driving through …


What’s the Big Deal About Birth Order?

As a budding young psychology student in the ‘70s, I remember reading The Birth Order Book: Why You Are The Way You Are by Dr. Kevin Leman and thinking “Wow, that explains so much!” As the oldest child in a large Catholic family, I now had an excuse for being an over-achieving, conscientious, cautious, perfectionistic, …


When Can My Child Stay Home Alone?

The children are back in school now, and Johnny comes home and asks, “Why can’t I come home after school like Bobby does, instead of going to the babysitter?” Regardless of the answer you give, his response will likely be “That’s not fair,” but it is up to you—the adult—to make this all-important decision for your …


What Can I Do with my Host Child?

You’re about to have an exciting time with your host child from Ukraine! They will be on their first overseas trip, and will be visiting a new country. You will be bringing a child into your home as you decide if international adoption is for you. You both will be building a new relational bridge …


Why I Like Working in International Adoption

About two years ago, I began working for MLJ Adoptions International as the Director of Social Services. Prior to that time, I worked for 23 years (yes, a while!) with a large child welfare agency that specialized in many services for children and families, including adoption. During that time, I supervised, developed and worked in …


First Experiences With Your Child

When you bring your child home to the United States, you will experience a world of “firsts” with your child: first time in an airplane, first time in a car seat, first time at the mall, first time in a church, etc. The list is endless! It is important, however, to remember that these moments …


Need a Step-Parent Home Study Completed in Indiana?

Step-parent adoptions are becoming increasingly common in Indiana. When a step-parent wants to become a legal parent of their spouse’s child, they begin this adoption process with the approval of their spouse. Step-parents can decide to adopt for many reasons, but the major reasons are as follows: (a) the child has grown attached to the …


Preparing Your Anxious Child for the Start of School

Is it that time already? With summer winding down and teachers prepping their classrooms, you can almost hear the schoolyard noises starting to rise to a level of chaotic excitement. Sometimes, however, you may see that your child is not excited, but anxious and fearful over the start of school. School anxiety is common among …


Markers and Mandalas and Coloring Books, Oh My!

If you have gone into any bookstore or big box craft shop lately or looked on Pinterest, you have seen them: the rows and rows of adult coloring books, in all shapes and sizes, with geometric stained glass windows and Hindu mandala designs, all begging for your individual time and attention. There are even themed …

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