Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tips for Attachment {a repost}


There are so many great books and resources on attachment.  We have many listed on our website and are always looking for more good ones. 

We thought it might be helpful to post a list of strategies that are targeted by age group.  Not all of these will work with your child’s temperament, developmental age and learning style but these are some proven strategies that promote healthy attachment.  Pay close attention to your child’s comfort level as you choose activities to help them attach.  As we often tell our families, high structure (consistent, repetitive, predictable, boundaries) and high nurture (affection, compassion, loving touch, mercy) are the key elements for children in the first months and years of being home.  Noticing their needs and meeting them immediately, over and over.

  1. Wear your baby (sling, Snuggly, Ergo-type carrier)
  2. Read, sing and talk to your baby
  3. Play games with baby on your lap (peek-a-boo, patty-cake)
  4. Eye contact while feeding (good reason to keep bottles for as long as possible – sippy cup also works), rocking, singing
  5. Skin-to-skin time - kisses, rocking, and holding
  6. Talk to your baby when you are out of sight
  7. Be there when baby wakes up
  8. Cereal or cracker kisses game – put Cheerio between your lips and allow baby to eat it from your lips
  9. Learn your baby’s cues and respond to them quickly
  10. Mimic baby’s vocalizations and expressions

  1. Eye contact games (get at eye level with your child):  rolling ball to him when he looks at you; mirror images of silly faces with each other; games w/stickers on nose or between eyes; blinking games;
  2. Where is Mommy/Daddy? – use those names to describe yourself and reinforce who Mommy and Daddy are
  3. Go fishing – use goldfish crackers, pretzel sticks & peanut butter on three separate dishes.  Child has to dip pretzel in peanut butter and stick a goldfish on it then feed it to Mommy or Daddy while making eye contact and vice versa.
  4. Singing familiar songs and make up lyrics using child’s name and the fact that you are her forever mommy or daddy
  5. Face-to-face games to encourage eye contact
  6. Caterpillar game – pretend you and your child are caterpillars in a cocoon of blankets or a sleeping bag, laying quietly or singing together.  Then break out of the cocoon and become butterflies, flying around the room.
  7. Put lotion on after baths – make this a routine
  8. Give ‘bear’ hugs – baby bear: soft and gentle, mama bear: squeeze tight, daddy bear: with a loud roar
  9. Play ‘mirror’ – take turns who is the person and who is the mirror
  10. Hold them in your arms and feed them 10 M&M’s/raisins/grapes one at a time, telling them 10 reasons you love them

  1. Frequent verbalization of:
    * family rules and norms (ie. In our family we say please)
    * basics of relationships (ie. Mom and Dad will always keep you safe)
    * similarities between adopted child and others in the family
    * yourself by name to reinforce your relationship (ie. “Daddy loves you”)
  2. Encourage but don’t force eye contact and touch - Touch your child on his head, knee, arm, shoulder as you pass them
  3. Go back to developmental stages you missed with them – holding, rocking, lap time, reading to them, singing to them. Children regress during times of stress.
  4. Define what you’re doing as you teach what your family rules and expectations are (ie. A good mother makes sure her child has plenty of sleep)
  5. Be willing to discuss their past and their adoption with them –
    What happened to me?  Did I make it happen?  Who’s going to take care of me?  Will it happen again?
  6. Encourage them to verbalize their feelings instead of acting them out.  Take advantage of meal prep time and time in the car, even if no eye contact happens.  Tally the number of emotional expressions and work to increase them.
  7. Play with them at their level. Build fun and silliness into daily routines – this is especially important even when they’re being difficult and challenging because it communicates unconditional love
  8. Chew bubble gum together and have bubble blowing contests or style each other's hair, using these opportunities for eye contact
  9. Take him or her on a special date somewhere they would love
  10. Minimize extra-curricular activities and strive for consistency in mealtimes, bedtime and schedule.
Please remember:  Don’t hesitate to get professional help when you need it!

Sources:  Sally Carmen – Center for Therapeutic Intervention,,,


Monday, February 24, 2014

Have you called?

Last October we posted about an easy way for you to make an impact in international adoption reform... and we asked if you would take just a few minutes to get involved.

Kelly Ensslin has written an excellent article describing a case that could happen in many countries - please be sure to read it:  Department of State Plays Games and More Kids Lose 

Here is an opportunity to really DO something about reforming the international adoption process.  And it’s EASY!

The ‘Children In Families First Act of 2013’ is a bill recently introduced to the legislature.  From the CHIFF website:

Children without parents are the most vulnerable children in the world. They are alone, they are often out of sight, and they are voiceless. They cannot fight for themselves; they need YOU to be their voice. CHIFF Children in Families First calls for the redirection of a modest portion of the $2 billion the United States currently spends on children living abroad toward ensuring that all children grow up in a family. What’s more, it calls for programs funded with US tax dollars to focus on reducing the number of children living without families and increasing the capacity of other governments to better protect their own children. The best protection for a child is a family. We protect children by preserving families, reunifying families or creating families through adoption.

You can read more specifics about the bill on the CHIFF website.  Here is what YOU can DO:

1. Call Your Members of Congress

callIf constituents let their elected officials know how they feel, this bill will get their attention.  Calling is one of the most important things you can do! 

2. Email your congress person

emailTell them you’d like them to support the Children in Families First Act of 2013.  Their email address should be available at the links above.  You can use the same information found in the telephone sample script to create your email.

3. Connect with CHIFF

Spreading the word through social media is easy! 

“Like” CHIFF on Facebook

Follow CHIFF on Twitter

Thanks for joining the effort on behalf of children without families and for making your voice heard!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Difficult Parenting Decisions

This article comes to us via Empowered to Connect.

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When Good Things Aren’t Good
by Michael Moore

This summer we made a difficult parenting decision. It was the decision (made together with one of our sons) that he would not play competitive summer baseball. Now before you roll your eyes and conclude that we must not have many “real” challenges, let me explain.

You can’t be around our family long before quickly concluding that we have our hands full. We are a “real” family with “real” issues, just like many others. And a few months ago baseball had begun to create its own challenges for our son and our family – challenges that we could no longer ignore.

What made our decision so very difficult was that it involved something entirely “good” – baseball. Our son truly loves the sport and we’ve learned to love it too. He’s got a fair amount of talent and it gives him an obvious sense of joy and satisfaction, as well as a much needed opportunity to succeed and excel. It’s also helped to teach him some valuable life lessons. So why did we give up baseball if it is such a good thing?
Continue reading here

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

An urgent need

**Thanks to a generous donor, this woman and her children have been adopted!!

All of the families in Ethiopia who are in our Adoption Ministry 1:27 program are in deep poverty and at risk of collapse without the intervention of a sponsor.  But some are in very dire circumstances and today I want to share one woman’s story…

Tarfatu is a 35 year old single mother of six children, ages 3-15, and she is HIV+. She is taking antiretroviral drugs provided by the government but she is very sick.  She rents a two room house for about $2.50 a month. Her first husband died and her second divorced her. Without a husband’s income and with her very precarious health, she is unable to work and simply cannot feed her children. She is destitute. 
For just $40 per month, you can provide food, rent, help with school fees and medical care for Tarfatu and her children.  Your help will be giving LIFE to this mother who worries about what will happen to her children if she is not there to care for them.  I cannot even imagine what that must feel like - the likelihood of it.

Please visit our website here and click on the yellow ‘I Want To Adopt A Family’ button.  There you can find Tarfatu’s bio as well as several other families who need to be adopted.  Thank you for your part in keeping six children from becoming orphans.

There's no one like you

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Birthday to a Hero

In Ethiopia, it isn’t an exaggeration to say that the most dangerous thing a woman can do is to become pregnant.  Every year, 22,000 women and girls die during or as a result of childbirth* – one of the highest mortality rates in the world.   But an Australian gynecologist, Dr. Catherine Hamlin, has spent her entire professional life bringing this issue to the world’s attention. 

On January 24th, Dr. Hamlin celebrated her 90th birthday.  She has spent most of her life in Ethiopia working to treat women with fistula.  Because of her determination to end the suffering which results from this very shameful but treatable condition, she really is a hero to women in Ethiopia.  Her son Richard has said, “Catherine has one son and 35,000 daughters.”

Most women in Ethiopia – 85% - labor and give birth without any doctor or medical professional present. Obstetric fistula occurs when a baby gets stuck in the birth canal and there is no doctor to perform a cesarean section.  The baby dies and the woman is left incontinent with urine and sometimes feces trickling through her vagina.  Untreated, she is left in complete shame and hopelessness, stigmatized by her family and friends who believe she is cursed.  If she is lucky, she is relegated to a separate shelter apart from her family because of her smell.  Many women, though, are simply cast out of their village completely.

Dr. Hamlin and her late husband built a hospital in Addis Ababa which has trained several generations of doctors to repair fistulas, proving that it is possible and relatively inexpensive to treat this very common condition for many women in Ethiopia.  Several of her former patients now also perform fistula repairs at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital.  Dr. Hamlin said at her recent birthday celebration, “We have to eradicate Ethiopia of this awful thing that’s happening to women: suffering, untold suffering, in the countryside.  I leave this with you to do in the future, to carry on.”

If you haven’t yet seen it, be sure to watch the documentary about Dr. Hamlin’s lifelong work, A Walk To Beautiful

1854246739I hope you’ll also read Dr. Hamlin’s book The Hospital by the River: A Story of Hope.  Her story will open your eyes and heart to so many of Ethiopia's women.

Dr. Hamlin has been nominated by the Ethiopian government for the Nobel Peace Prize.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she received it?  She is most certainly deserving and it would be an incredible way to bring more visibility to this very preventable tragedy happening in Ethiopia.

*World Health Organization statistic

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The ‘Radical’ Church

by Joy Casey

David Platt’s book Radical has, I hope, started us (His church) thinking. When I read the book several years back, I was discontented with the status quo of my church but couldn’t put my finger on why. After my Radical experience, I started looking for a church body who intentionally served my local community and had a strong international missions thrust as well. I am not alone in wanting my church’s resources, human and otherwise, spent on people and I am happy to have met some visionary pastors who take Christ’s command to disciple the world and care for the poor quite literally.

Many churches want to invest long-term in a specific area of service. They want to invest their money and their people in ways that will sow into eternity. Adoption Ministry has been supremely honored to link arms with several dynamic bodies of Christ, and these churches have added strength and stability to much of what God is doing in Ethiopia through our shared endeavors.

Two churches in Washington have adopted YWAM project areas.

Lake City Church has adopted a town called "Ad*e" in southern Ethiopia. This is a town of about 50,000 people and 99.5% are M*l*m. There is a church plant there, and Lake City’s pastor has met their leadership team and preached to their congregation.
Lake City parishioners …
  • Have “adopted” 50 extremely poor M*l*m families and provide for their basic necessities through Adoption Ministry 1:27
  • Have provided funding for 7 evangelists to start an income generating activity (IGA) to support themselves and their families so they can wholeheartedly share the gospel. The evangelists are all former M*l*m believers.
  • Are building three kindergarten classes for the children of the families they have adopted. Christian basics will be taught along with the 3-Rs and a nutritious lunch served daily.
A year-and-a-half ago, two pastors and an elder from Brooklake Church  went on an exploratory trip to Ethiopia with YWAM as their guide. They wanted to invest their people and resources in a long-term relationship and subsequently adopted Shashemene as their ministry focus.

Brooklake is …
Other churches are partnering with us in more eclectic yet sustainable ways. Life Church in Kansas has been a huge supporter of our M*l*m evangelism work and provides 50% of the support for one of our orphanages. This congregation has been a major donor for the worship center in Gutumuma and they are now our partner establishing a Christian presence in a remote unreached area in western Ethiopia.

Lighthouse Christian Center in Washington generously supports our YWAM missionary staff as well as our general operating budget, both of which are crucial for sustainability. Life Church and Lighthouse have sent people to Ethiopia from their congregations and will continue to invest people and finances into the work being done by YWAM. There is also a church with a huge heart that gives Adoption Ministry money each month for formula. A marvelous and much needed gift!

It is fulfilling and encouraging to work alongside congregations with leadership that “gets it” and who thoughtfully and generously invest in kingdom work. These churches have all expressed a desire to provide a hand-up to both the local Ethiopian church and the people they serve with the goal of forging strong personal relationships and a brighter sustainable future for the church and community.

Perhaps your church would be interested in partnering with us in evangelism or in serving widows and orphans in Ethiopia.  We would love to share our ministry!  Contact us at for more information.

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