Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What's Working for Us #2 - Teaching about Family

Lots of times when I need to correct Wenxin's behavior, I preface my correction with the phrase, "in our family." For example, "In our family, we use kind words," or "In our family, we don't hurt each other."  We don't punish bad behavior until we've taught the correct behavior. And we usually teach it in the context of "our family."

Children who've been living in state care, don't automatically know how to live in a family. It's the job of parents to teach them what family means.

As I go through my day to day life taking care of Wenxin, I often explain to him that "this is what Mamas do." When he falls down and scrapes his knee I scoop him up and whisper that he'll be OK. I clean his knee and apply first aid cream and a colorful band-aid. All the while, I'm narrating, "Mamas take care of their children when the children get hurt. That's what Mamas do."


  1. Dear Dana,
    Thank you so much for these posts. We are adopting a 10 year old from China this spring (LOA arrived this week), and I so appreciate your advice about touch and other things that are working for you. I was sent a link to your blog by Chris, who also adopted (maybe on same trip with you?). I would love for all of our boys to "reunite" in America. We're in California so probably we'll need to come your direction. Your son is adorable. And thank you again for sharing so openly about what's working for you. I will definitely read all of your tips!!!!

  2. Miss your posts. These last two have been very valuable. We are just starting the process of adopting a little boys (7) from China. Is there anything you would have done differently to make your process go faster? I know, I know everyone wants that but our little guy has a very serious heart condition. Hope you post soon. Your blog is one of my favorites.

  3. Thanks so much Audrey and Jennifer. It's great to have a network of parents adopting older kids from China.

    Jennifer, you can see my timeline on the sidebar. We did not even start our homestudy until we had PA from China so our timeline would have been quicker if we were already in process. Our homestudy took longer than I'd expected because we had lived in so many places and had to get child abuse clearances from every state we'd lived in since we were adults. After the homestudy, we could've shaved off maybe 2 weeks max if I'd have been quicker with the paperwork. That's about it. Hope you are able to travel to adopt your son quickly.