Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cultural Differences In Raising Babies

I have read a lot of information in my years of waiting for Hannah and have tried to do my best to prepare for her. I still have much to learn but I'm working on it. Today Rumor Queen added a post that is SO helpful in helping me to realize some of what Hannah may be experiencing now and how best to help her through our initial time when we meet one another. If you're adopting or even family/friends reading this post, please take the time to hop over to RQ and read her very informative post.

I will choose to do things differently for Hannah than may be the 'norm' but this post will help us all realize that the beginning days of her life are not what most Canadian babies experience. One of the very best things I can do for my little girl when we first meet is to meet her needs in the way that she is accustomed and then in time, as she is ready, slowly transition her to what will work for she and I as a family.

Topics covered in the post are: Potty Training; Split Pants; Changing (or more likely not changing) clothing on a regular basis; Bathing; Bottle Feeding; Feeding, Attachment, Mongolian Spots and more.


  1. I saw her post today and thought, "excellent!" It is so very important to read, especially since so many of our children come home with sensory issues - which can easily be explained by these cultural differences as well as their institutional environment.

  2. REALLY REALLY great post RQ did! I totally agree with everything she said.

    Even with our girls that we adopted from the BC ministry here we worked in THEIR routine and environment first for a week and then ever so slowly moved them to a little different routine and environment. After going through that twice now I'm such a believer in the way its done here! It made a huge difference in the way our girls transitioned home!

    We spent a week in the foster families house each time and for the first few days we just "shadowed" the foster family. We were where ever she was watching foster mom. Slowly we started to interact with her and do little things that are routined for her. By the end of the week we were her full time caregivers but by then she knew us SO well that it was no big deal that we were now the ones changing her diaper!

    The whole week I watched our little girls process the situation and would shake my head and feeling such heart ache for the little china babies who get plunked into new parents arms having EVERYTHING they know change in an instant!!

    I'm praying already for Miss Hannah!! That God will be her understanding and peace during her home coming time!! I can't wait to see her home with her mommy!!!!

  3. That post was great for everyone to read. Our little ones have a difficult road to travel at the beginning. I look at Lauren and cannot imagine what goes thru her little mind. She has been through so much before she was 2 and yet she is opening up and you can see how she is feeling more secure. Donna was very careful to not let anyone hold her, but Lauren would not go to anyone anyway. She let us know when it was comfortable. I don't think I held her for 3 or 4 weeks and then she put her arms up to me. You know Lauren had a hard time in China, Donna tried to do what was comfortable for her.. RQ is right to let people know to think about what the little people(babies) need to be able to adjust to their new lives.
    I know you will be a wonderful parent, who will really help and love their little one. Praying for China to speed up so we get thru March.. Linda

  4. Hi Catherine,

    If you want to try continuing with the type of potty learning Hannah has probably been accustomed to you may want to check out a book called Diaper Free by Ingrid Bauer and do a search on "elimination communication". It's fascinating stuff.


  5. That was a good post of tips. Mia's bottle had to be hot and add in sugar for her to eat it. As time went on, the hotness went away.
    I read about them going on the potty before we went and tried Mia on it while we were in China. It was great. She didn't give any signs but we could see that had to go. This was very helpful with training because she wasn't afraid of the potty. She was on it since 8 months when we got her.
    One thing she didn't mention about the formula was to try to keep them on CHina formula until you get home. We brought a conainter of soy formula with us, but we figured that she had so many changes that it only made sense to keep this the same until we left. Our guide also didn't want us to change right away.
    We did give her a bath in the sink the second day we had her. Once we were sure she liked them, she took a bath with me while we were in China.
    There is so much info to gather before you go.

  6. I read RQs post and just wanted to let you know how Grace was:

    Bottle - At first the fast flow nipples seemed too fast, but she caught on. I don't think she'd been fed with half the nipple cut off. She seemed happy with the "wrist test" temperature of bottle - but we have noticed since that if she's sluggish to finish it, we heat it up and she loves it!

    Toileting - We're not sure! She has been a little constipated since coming home, so maybe she sat on the potty. In China, however, she went fine in her diaper and never gave us any cues that she needed to go.

    Changing Clothes / Baths - We didn't change her clothes until the next day, which worked out well. We didn't attempt the bath for a couple of days - she smelled great and was very clean when we received her. We don't think Grace had ever had a bath. Murray went in with her the first time (as this was before she liked me!) She calmed down quite quickly, and by the end of the trip would point at the tub and throw in the toys!
    We didn't try to scrub or clip her nails until we got home.

    Grace really liked being fed by chopsticks... but she also used her fingers a lot. She has since become very good with a fork and spoon.

    Hope this helps! Looking forward to "watching" you go through your incredible journey with Hannah!

  7. I thought it was a very enlightening post too. And certainly worth thinking about. When we went to China to adopt Gwen and then Maddy, I had no set expectations about anything. If we tried something and it didn't work, we tried another. Our girls knew how to suck and didn't seem to care about the temperature of their bottle and nobody had trouble pooping. Maddy had just turned two and was trained to poop in a potty. We brought a small plastic potty and that worked just fine for her. We introduced her to her new environment and just watched her to see if anything looked familiar to her so she taught us how to be her new parents. She was not pee-pee trained so we used diapers. But we came prepared for everything and just figured it out as we went along.

    Gwen was just 13 months old and only wanted to be held. She was happy to do anything as long as it didn't require that I put her down. But she did like her stroller and seemed to appreciated having some place to escape from all the physical stimulation (of being constantly held). Maybe RQ could have also mentioned that our babies are NOT used to being held for long periods of time and even though they love the attention, it eventually wears them out and makes them really irritable. We found that having a stroller was helpful because she could have her own space but still see everything that was going on around her. Even today, almost four years later, she still likes her old familiar private spaces (car seat, crib, stroller).

    Anyway, this went waaaaa long!


    Our blog: Double Happiness!

  8. We have read it too AND I printed it out and put it in our new folder together with the packing lists we have started to collect and write realizing that it is not so long now until we are leaving !
    Time is a strange "measure", now I feel like it is very soon when we hope for travel by the end of August. Three years ago that was about half the time of our total expected waiting time and that felt long then.
    Best regards,
    Marie, Sweden with LID 2006-03-23


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