Resolutions of a New Adoptive Parent

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My uncharacteristic flirtation with holiday cheer started to run out around 11:00 p.m. on Dec. 23rd, but our first Christmas was still a success. There were some ups and downs–thankfully mostly ups–and I’m happy to report that we were all in good spirits to ring in the new year last night.

We spent New Year’s Eve watching The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers after going to see The Hobbit earlier in the day. That’s a lot of LOTR, even for a Tolkien fan like myself!

I have to admit though that I’m a little reluctant to bid adieu to 2012. It was an incredible year of firsts: the first time that we met DJ, our first overnight as a family, the first time that he met our extended families, being called “Mom” for the first time (although to be perfectly honest, he was trying to persuade me to run down a hill & recover a soccer ball at the time), and our first Christmas.

Frosty Footpath - winter snow

Photo credit: blmiers2

As I imagine they are for many waiting moms & dads, the holidays have been pretty difficult for me in the past. I’ve often felt more disorganized than usual amidst the hustle and bustle of Christmas. By Jan. 1, the introspective nature of the season has propelled me into an all-too-familiar cycle of self-pity. Despite my best efforts to be present and be grateful for all of the wonderful things that I did have in my life, I’ve struggled to be genuinely optimistic about the new year.

This year, of course, my attitude about the new year is dramatically different. Instead of my standard resolution to work harder on the adoption process, I’m resolving to make 2013 the very best possible year for our new family–physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Here are a few of my parenting resolutions:

1. Continue to work on DJ’s self-esteem. Like many adoptive children, he’s developed a very negative image of himself. We’re very quick to correct him when he says these types of things, but I’m hoping with the adoption finalization and our continued reassurances that we’re his forever family that he’ll learn to be kinder to himself.

2. Work on incorporating more whole foods into Dom’s diet or at least expand his daily menu beyond boxed mac & cheese, mini ravioli, frozen burritos, and candy.

3. Keep up the good fight against screen time (video games, TV, computers) and promote DJ’s creativity and appreciation of the arts in any form. In particular, I’d love to see him spend more time drawing, writing, and knitting. He got lots of great art stuff for Christmas, and we bought him both a diary and knitting book for kids.

So what kind of family resolutions are you making this year? Any advice on how I can accomplish mine?

Happy New Year! May 2013 be filled with health, happiness, & peace.

New year's eve, 2000, pittsburgh

New Year’s Eve, 2000, Pittsburgh (Photo credit: DeathByBokeh)

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9 responses »

  1. There are a lot of really great art classes around at the Carnegie and PCA. I could even do a few drawing sessions with him!

    • Shelly,
      So sweet of you to offer, but he has an incredibly short attention span and zero willingness to try art classes (or any non-school classes for that matter). I know that’s pretty normal considering his age & background. Still, I’m really looking forward to when we can start taking advantage of all of the cool kids stuff in the ‘burgh. Hope you are doing well & happy new year!

  2. Baby steps. I take them every day with my unwilling eater! Your resolutions sound much like mine. I’m sort of hoping consistency, love, and deep breaths will pull me through. I hope the new year brings exciting things for your family. I’ve enjoyed reading your heartwarming stories over the past year and look forward to more.

  3. Think: Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell Hoban.
    I had a mac-n-cheese kid, and so did my best friend. At the same time. First, buy your mac n cheese at Sam’s if you can, it’s the cheapest place. Then you can add things to it when you make it, like chopped cooked broccoli or cauliflower. This worked well for my son. You can also try this trick, which my friend did because her son resisted vegetables and was even more stubborn than mine: serve it every day. Every Day. Plain, She served it to him even if they were having something else. He was required to eat it. He tired of it after a while, and started complaining. (This lasted about 2 months) Then you can really make changes. Try adding a couple of spoonfuls of tomato sauce, even ketchup. The idea is to change the taste, get him used to other flavors. My friend’s son is grown up now, and a chef. He makes his own mac n cheese now.
    You can also ask your son what he might like to add to the mac n cheese. Teach him to make it himself. Try adding celery, or mushrooms, or french cut green beans. You come up with the add-ins and give him a choice.

    As for the art classes, forget about that for awhile. Just give him a clipboard with some blank paper and encourage him to draw anything. Especially if he’s bored and you have to wait for something. Tell him to draw the person behind the counter, or the car parked next to yours. Have him draw things for school projects too. Flowers, seeds, bugs, dinosaurs.Whatever. The more he does, the better he’ll get. Lessons can wait.

    My resolution for this year is to be positive and hopeful. Try new things and have the feeling that they will work or I will like them. As a family, this will be another year of cleaning out and getting rid of stuff; simplifying.

  4. Margaret:
    Love him with all you have because he has so much love to give and he will give back, although it may seem like he doesn’t give back with his whole self yet, he will. Be firm yet fair. He responds well to being held accountable although he may resist. Enjoy every moment of every day. You cannot get back lost time but you can make the most of evryday that you have together. Assure him as I know you are that he is a fantastic little who is loved by many. He will build self esteem. He has always struggled with this. And most of all have many more happy holidays, great new years, happy wakeups and first experiences. We love him and have grown to love to the two strangers that came into all of our lives to take over where we left off raising this young man who is so special.

  5. Love it! And congratulations! I did some summer adoption resolutions last year but kind forgot at New Year’s. It’s never too late is it? Sidenote: I find all outdoor activities a great counter to screen-time ;-O

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