Category - Support Services

5
Jul

Self-Care in Adoption

Adoption is a stressful process. On the surface, it is portrayed as an act of altruism and a way to expand your family, it is also seen by many as a helping hand for children in need of forever families. There’s no doubt that all these statements are true, but what about all the arduous ...
25
Jun

My Lessons Learned About International Adoption

During my time here at MLJ Adoptions I’ve grown significantly both professionally and personally. I’ve learned more than I can put into words or fit into one blog, but I do want to highlight a few of the most important lessons I have learned. Trauma All children who join their family through adoption have experienced some ...
24
May

We Can Do Hard Things!

A good friend and colleague of mine has a sign in her office that says, “We can do hard things.” During the last year I have found myself reminding myself of this phrase often, mostly in reference to my personal adoptive parenting journey. I’m sure I’ve said it many times that adoptive parenting isn’t easy, ...
23
May

Ten Tips for Making Family Road Trips Bearable!

“Are we there yet?!” “How much longer?!” “I’m bored!” Road trips can sometimes feel like they’re never going to end! With summer break just around the corner, you and your family may have road trips planned. To some, long car rides can be stressful and boring. Your children might be over the road trip after ...
16
May

A Cry Like No Other

I was reading Shaoey and Dot by Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman one day during the time I was waiting to adopt my two Ukrainian daughters, and the words in the book shook me to my core. I was so devastated I had to stop reading the book and get myself together before finishing ...
7
May

Protecting Adoptive Children’s Privacy While Fundraising

I recently saw a picture of a young child and his prospective international adoptive parents on the front page of a local paper. To my surprise, the picture showed them at their child’s orphanage, listed his name and age, identified his particular special medical needs, as well as stated the particular country they were visiting! ...
30
Apr

Using All Five Senses to Calm Down

If you’re a parent or have been around children often, you’ve likely witnessed a child (or more!) melting down or throwing a temper tantrum. Children can sometimes have difficulty regulating their emotions, especially if developmentally they have not yet reached that milestone.  Parents need to have tools to help their children regulate their emotions when ...
4
Apr

Can I Adopt Internationally if I have a Mental Health Disorder?

Having a mental health disorder may not automatically disqualify someone from adopting internationally. Each case is reviewed on an individual basis to determine eligibility. Prospective adoptive parents must be approved to adopt at several different stages in their journey. When a prospective adoptive parent first initiates a conversation with their adoption agency they will discuss ...
26
Mar

Raising Your Child to Embrace Multiculturalism

Appreciating, understanding and thriving in our multicultural world seems like an obvious goal for families who have adopted internationally. After all, you agreed to support your child’s interest in and ties to their home country and you purchased some toys and books for them while you were in country. You even prepare country-familiar foods for ...
31
Jan

What Country and Child-Specific Information Does MLJ Provide to Families?

Communication is always key to developing relationships. In adoption, we’ve found that whenever we can share information specifically regarding a family’s country program or about their referred child, that is the most helpful and appreciated communication. For this reason, we are always working to provide more and better country specific and child specific information. This ...
8
Jan

Why Must I Take Pre-Adoption Education?

I always know when I send a new international adoption family their Individual Education Plan, that there are probably some grunts and groans as they read the list of requirements. I get that. Yes, education is part of the process, possibly not only from the State you live in, but definitely from The Hague Convention ...
3
Jan

Helping Your Child Overcome A Fear of Dogs

One question I always ask parents who have pets in their home during their home study visit is, “What will you do if your child has a fear of dogs?” For many, this is a question they haven’t quite thought about, but I generally get a response similar to the following: “We will do what ...
18
Dec

Post Adoption Services are for Everyone

Let’s face it, the adoption journey can be hard! Really hard. It can be stressful, confusing, frustrating, and expensive. During this process, you have family and friends rallying around you, other adoptive parents encouraging you, and your adoption agency staff supporting you. Their help and guidance make the difference. Then, your precious child comes home. ...
4
Dec

Self-Soothing Behaviors

In orphanages or foster care, many children learn self-soothing behaviors such as rocking, head banging, or sucking their thumbs to comfort themselves. These behaviors are learned due to neglect, limited social interaction, and a lack of loving caregivers who consistently meet their needs. When raised in these environments, children learn how to take care of ...
27
Nov

Empowering your Child to Answer Tough Questions about Adoption

“Why don’t you look like your mom and dad?” “Where are your REAL parents?” “Where are you from?” “Why didn’t your parents want you?” “You’re lucky to be adopted!” “I wish I was adopted.” These are all questions or comments that adoptees hear from classmates, friends, and even adults. Even though most people don’t mean ...
20
Nov

Separation Anxiety in your Child: Normal Behavior or Problematic?

When my daughter recently started her 2-year-old in day care, the phone calls increased to me during that first week—“She’s so upset, crying and clinging to me the minute we enter the parking lot. I hate leaving her!” Of course, my own memories of waiting outside the day care front door listening to her and ...
13
Nov

Helping Your Child with Self-Hurting Behaviors

Self-hurting in children is often seen as a coping mechanism when difficult feelings arise. Some of these difficult feelings that your child may be unable to express can include but are not limited to: guilt, sadness, anxiety, frustration, low self-worth, and self-blame. When a child goes through a life-changing transition like adoption, they may not ...
7
Nov

How Does MLJ Support Me During the Dossier Process?

The paperwork required during the adoption process can be overwhelming. There are applications, surveys, letters and endless forms to complete. First, families must complete a home study, and gather and fill out the numerous documents that go with it. When the home study is finished, it is time to compile the dossier, a collection of ...
23
Oct

Car Seat Troubles

“Don’t unbuckle your seatbelt!” “Stay in your car seat!” “Stop screaming, Mommy is trying to drive!” Do these sound familiar? It’s a parent’s worst nightmare to be driving down the road while their child is screaming and/or climbing out of their car seat. Children who have been adopted from another country have often spent a ...
16
Oct

Alternatives to Traditional Discipline

Traditional parenting techniques are not always effective when parenting a child with a history of trauma. Traditional parenting techniques include time-outs, behavior charts and removing privileges due to poor behavior. Sending a child away to a corner or to their room can cause them to feel rejected, afraid, unworthy, unlovable and alone. Before your child joined ...
20
Sep

Why is Back to School Especially Difficult for Children from Hard Places?

Back to school season can be difficult for all children, but especially for children from hard places. Before we officially dive into the “why,” it’s helpful to define the “who.” For the purposes of this topic, we will be talking about children from hard places. “Children from hard places” is a term coined by Dr. ...
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