Monday, February 14, 2011

Birthday Blues, Eating and What's Next?

Celebrating our nephew, Sean's 17 bday and our son, Gaven's 9th!
Birthday Blues
My son turned 9 years old this past week. His birthday brought a sadness to my heart - not about him getting older or anything - but about my son in Rwanda getting older without us. We are all longing to have him here and celebrate our lives together everyday. My son talks about him, I talk about him, my husband talks about him. We are so excited to have him come be part of our family and can't wait!! My son's birthday was just a reminder of time ticking away. He was 7 when we started this process. It's been about a year and a half. Our paperwork has been in Rwanda about 5 months now.

Part of what makes it hard is we don't know what to expect as far as a time line goes. From what I've heard Rwanda is processing dossiers in the 40s (we are 143) but we don't know how fast/slow things are going. After they approve a family,  the paperwork then goes over to the orphanage to match a child(ren) with the family . Then the paperwork goes back to the government to start the adoption process. All this is done by 3 people (it use to be only 1 lady doing all this work but they have recently hired 2 more staff). AND they are trying to structure their HAUGE status simultaneously.... all this is why we have no idea what the time line is. I thought we would be matched and ready to travel in April or May... but now I'm hoping summer at the latest... I pray "please Lord soon."
I took this picture just for fun while I was waiting for the presentation to begin.
I took a class for my continuing education as a Dietitian on kids with eating issues. It was great! I learned a lot of helpful tools on how to expand a picky eaters diet. There was a lot of collaboration, with several of the participants from local feeding clinics. I had no idea of how many kids have problems related to eating for such a variety of reasons. Two of my favorite ideas that could be used for any kid trying new things are a check list & dog bowl and chaining. Here's a brief discription:
  • The check list & dog bowl (side note- these are my own titles just to try and summarize in an easy way they are not the professional used names): If you are trying get a child to try a new food you allow them "x" number of times they can scrap the food item into the dog bowl instead of eating (keeping track on a chart they can check off). This allows the child the opportunity to tolerate the food on their plate before scraping it off. Then you can progress from there, depending on the child and the number of times necessary before they can tolerate moving to the next step. (You should never make food issues a battle, it should always be fun and playful. You do not want to risk them going backward and limiting what they eat even more if they already have a limited food list.) Then you could try touching to your mouth without tasting it "x" number of times or touching to your tongue (without having to eat). Then putting in your mouth and getting to spit out - you can have a lot of fun with this skill ;) You can teach them how to hide it in their dinner napkin... who hasn't done that as a kid! Then they need to do one chew and can spit out. Then two chews, then three chews.... you get the idea. These are things you would try slowly at the child's pace- do the same step over and over "x" number of times until they are ready to go to the next step. 
  • Chaining: This was a great tool for kids who are brand or color specific (did you know some kids will only eat foods that are a certain color) . Basically you try and start expanding their food list by finding the same food item in a different brand (you can apply the above method of getting use to) then jump to a similar style or color of same item. It probably sounds confusing the way I described it but it's just using baby steps in adjustments.
What's Next?
My husband and I are super excited about a trip we are taking next week to our adoption agency, Gladney. They are hosting a free two day workshop for their parents who are adopting older kids (or have adopted older kids). One of the cool things that Gladney is doing for the parents they invited is giving them a credit on their adoption fees if they attend - basically reimbursing them for the travel expenses. How cool is that?! The other really cool thing - my husband is thrilled to go! I know that may sound strange but he is not a class taker kind of guy yet he was the one who first said we should go. I think it will be a great experience for us as a parenting unit. I'll try to summarize and post some of the golden nuggets we get... I tend to post a lot more entries in my head than actually typed entries to my blog - lol!