Daughter Dates.

I’ve heard it over and over from adoptive parents: don’t forget about the needs of your biological child(ren) when your adopted child(ren) comes home.I thought we had pretty much avoided this issue. Yaya adjusted beautifully when Baby Boy came home — better than we had hoped or imagined she would. She loves and adores her brother (for the most part).


We have had a couple of “girl days” over the past six months. In April, we went to see her first Broadway show (pictured on the left) and last month we had a fun afternoon of pedicures and going to see Despicable Me 2. But these things weren’t really a necessity — it was more just about having fun together.I have taken it for granted that Yaya was doing well because she has been for so long. My first clue that I was overlooking some things happened a couple of weeks ago, when she pretended to hurt her knee so she could go to physical therapy like her brother. And as I talked with my adoption group about some meal time struggles that have arisen lately with Yaya, my wise friends pointed out that so much of our meals revolve around Baby Boy — the fuss over his food, the constant screaming (by him) about food that isn’t in his mouth, etc. — that perhaps Yaya was acting out in an effort to get our attention.

So I decided it was time for some intentional attention. Joel and I have been working hard the past few nights to make sure that we are including her in on conversation at dinner time and asking her questions about her day. I’ve been feeding Baby Boy his lunch before hers, so that we can get the screaming out of the way and Yaya and I can enjoy a quiet chance to chat while we eat and Baby Boy plays with his toys.

We also decided to do an impromptu girls day today. First, we went to a lunch place of her choice for her favorite macaroni and cheese with the “silly noodles.” Then we went to our local museum. We recently finished a book about Sioux Indians, so she was super excited to see the Native American clothing, toys and pictures of tipis at one of the exhibits.


We stopped at the Old Faithful “lodge” at the Yellowstone exhibit, where we spent a good half hour preparing a feast together.We watered the gardens at the living history farm and watched a show together at the planetarium.

I stretched the date out longer than the other dates, asking her lots of questions and giving her plenty of opportunity to talk (those of you who know Yaya know that she chatters endlessly). It was a really wonderful time for both of us. I think Yaya enjoyed the individual attention and the opportunity to do things at her own pace, and I enjoyed the uninterrupted time with her. Let’s be honest — parenting a toddler is exhausting. Spending the day walking around with an independent 4-year-old at a museum is pretty leisurely and refreshing (especially after trying to contain said toddler during a church service)!

I think that we adoptive parents who are parenting a child that has been through trauma, can easily neglect the needs of the child who is supposed to be well-adjusted, secure and attached. I’m grateful God used the friends around me to help me realize my daughter was hurting and needing my attention. I’m grateful for the gift of a resilient daughter, whose company, endless chatter and sense of wonder refresh and enrich my life so much.


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