Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Adopting a Toddler, Part 1

I can't believe that we are approaching our one year anniversary of our Referral Day. It has almost been one year since we saw our sweet Abeba's face for the first time and were actually able to put a name to the prayers that were being said on our daughter's behalf. It has been a precious year. We have gone through so many different stages of an adoption and that will be my topic of discussion for the next several posts.

I remember longing for and reading any information I could get a hold of while we were preparing to bring Abeba home. I guess it is now my turn to inform others and try to help them. It is certainly my pleasure to do this as we want to help and encourage people pursuing adoption. Justin and I like to be transparent, not hiding our experiences and things that we have learned through life's journeys. This will be no different!

Adopting Toddlers and Feeding them...

Food was something I thought would be pretty easy with adopting a toddler. I was not prepared for the many transitions that we went through at the dinner table. When we first got Abeba she was basically on a bottle only for nutrition. She was drinking powdered whole milk at the Gladney Care Center. They said that she was on some cereal as well. We took a can of toddler formula with us to Ethiopia, but I did not bring enough. I didn't know that we would go through so many bottles. She used the bottle not only to fill her tummy but also for comfort. I was able to get her to eat some puffs and some cereal (rice flavored with a little pureed fruit) while in Ethiopia, but I kept that to a limit. I began to realize that her little system was not used to the typical food that an 18 mos old would typically consume. I began to back off of anything new and kept her on bananas, rice cereal, and puffs until we got home in the states.

Once we returned home to the states, I started feeding her bland foods and introduced them slowly. The first week I began to mix her formula with whole milk in different proportions. By the end of the second week she was completely on whole milk. For solids, I started with sweet potatoes, bananas, applesauce, peaches and squash. She seemed to love veggies and fruit best and would not touch white potatoes or bread. I would introduce new foods every couple of days making sure that nothing was upsetting her gut too much. Slowly, she began to eat foods in chunks and started eating meat. We let her go at her pace, but we tried to encourage her to try new things, but milk was still her favorite main course.

After about 3 mos. Abeba started getting picky on us. She was on table food by this time .She began to not like the foods that she liked at first. She found she preferred that junky American food....chips and the like! What happened???? I was afraid she would not return to the healthy stuff I had introduced her to. We began to have tears at the table on certain days. That "I want it my way" kind of attitude showed through, but we stuck it out and she eventually figured out that she could not eat just chips for a meal. Thankfully, this was a short lived stage! We kept putting the veggies on her plate hoping that she would go back willingly. She did, thankfully!

Over the past month, Abeba has really shown interest in a variety of different foods. We still have to encourage her to try new new things and she usually likes it once she tries it. She is still not a big fan of wheat or white bread and still will not touch white potatoes. She likes some sweets especially if it has fruit in it and she still loves candy and chips, but if you don't have it in the house often, she can't eat it often!! I still have kept her away from pop. Why start that bad, teeth rotting stuff??? She still prefers milk, but I don't offer it to her as much. She drinks about 30 ozs of 2% milk a day now, and she still downs it quickly before she touches any food on her plate. I suppose it will be like that for quite a while.

We are thankful that the food obstacles were not too big of a hurdle. It just took a lot of time to introduce things and teach good habits. She has learned a lot and so have we!

1 comment:

Amber said...

I really look forward to reading this series of posts, and comparing our experiences. Maybe after we're a little farther in, I'll do something similar and link your blog to those posts because already our experiences differ! Blessings to the Darling family :)