My three youngest cherubs were lovingly cared for in a Christian foster home.  Their foster mom made every effort to give them a good foundation before adoptive placement.  She read to them, sang to them, took them to church, and planned fun outings that exposed them to God’s world around them.  The two youngest were placed with her as very young infants.  The older of the trio spent significant time with their birth mother before and during foster care placement.  They came to us at ages 1, 2,  and 3.

My two older adopted kids were with their birth mom through the ages of about 2 and 4 y.o., then placed in foster care, experiencing a series of homes we don’t know much about.  They came to us after the last foster/adopt placement failed, when they were 5 and 7 y.o.

The varying degrees of parenting ability in the different situations faced by these 5 kids during their first 3 years of life, has had a direct effect on how each of these kids have navigated life, since. The kids that had a great start have flourished.  Those with less than great, have floundered.

If  high quality parenting is provided early on in an adoption placement, babies are more able to adjust, bond, and grow to become the joyfilled, capable men or women that God planned from conception.  A great start is what babies need to successfully grow in all areas of their life at their expected/intended pace.

A.  Physical: 

  • frequent, close physical attachment, especially at the chest level to feel/hear parent heartbeat
  • adequate nourishment on a regular schedule that is digestible and healthy
  • daily exposure to fresh air and sunshine 
  • safe, nurturing physical touch such as hugging, kissing, massaging, tickling, gentle wrestling
  • safe and secure bed, cushioned seat, car seat, or baby sling wrap
  • safe boundaries, with consistent gentle, loving correction if boundaries are crossed

B.  Social:

  • cheerful voices happily stating the baby’s name and family members names
  • encouraging words and statements that bless 
  • close interaction with family members, then later on with others in family’s social circle
  • stories, word games and songs with family members
  • lots of time everyday with forever family members
  • as little time in day care, or with non-family members as possible

C.  Emotional:

  • regularly hearing “I love You” and other life affirming phrases
  • close, appropriate, physical expression of love such as cuddling, rocking, or family bed sleeping
  • compliments and encouragements such as”‘good job” or “I’m so proud of you”
  • soothing, joyful background music or singing
  • relaxed, joyfilled parents and siblings

D.  Spiritual:

  • regular family devotions; even a baby can hear, see, and feel the love and worship
  • regular church worship service attendance with the family, not in age-segregated nursery
  • Bible stories and hymns at bedtime or anytime
  • Christian art or scripture throughout baby’s room and home
  • teaching the 10 Commandments as the basis for house rules

These are the essentials from which one can begin to create a loving home.  Each family has traditions and life-affirming experiences that can be included to make their family unique, bonded, and successful.  It isn’t an instant fix-all, but a foundation from which to build a child’s life.