One of our family’s favorite classic movies is the musical production of Oliver!  The scene and accompanying song wherein the street orphans are singing about the wonderful kinds of food they dream about, but can never have, is near and dear to us.

We are foodies in our family.  We love to grow it, harvest it, prepare it, eat it, and talk about it at the table after we have stuffed ourselves.  No one enjoys it more than our two older adopted kids.  My very tall 13 y.o. daughter, who seems to have the most incredible metabolism ever and so is always in perfect shape – never the slightest bit overweight – will eat 3 and 4 helpings of everything, matching the appetite of my 200 pound, 21 y.o. son who physically labors all day.  Perhaps only once did I lovingly suggest to her that she needed to let others have second helpings before she dished up her third! 

I love it that our farm produces such healthy food, and we can prepare it in such a delicious and nutritious way that my adopted kids can relax at the meal table, eating to their hearts’ content.  We seem to be passed most of their food issues.  Orphans who have been severely neglected, often have the greatest struggles with appropriate food consumption when placed in adoptive homes.  Our two older adopted kids struggled with:

  • gorging themselves with food so quickly they choked
  • ate so fast they didn’t chew enough to savor the taste, or make food digestible before they swallowed
  • ate only carbs, neglecting fruit and vegetables until the end when there was no more room in their bellies to consume greens
  • overate sweets, sometimes going for 6 servings minimum at buffet lines or potlucks
  • stole food from the pantry and fridge, hoarding it in their room or other secret stash places on our farm
  • lied about the food stealing even though we told them they could eat anything, anytime
  • ate with both hands simultaneously and talked with food in their mouths 
  • snacked so much between meals they couldn’t eat the nutritious food on the table
  • literally experiencd brain-freeze because there was too much to choose from at restaurants; it overwhelmed them and they couldn’t order for themselves
  • obsessed about food constantly, and asked over and over again daily when the next meal would be served
  • worried and focused way too much on whether they were too skinny or fat, when neither had any issues in reality

With extreme patience, creative problem solving, consistent schedules, and table training we have helped our adopted kids realize that:

  1. they will never go without a meal in our home
  2. meals will be served 3 times a day on schedule, or we’ll let everyone know ahead of time if different
  3. dishes are carefully planned for nutritional value and complimentary flavors, and should be eaten in rotation
  4. desserts are a wonderful treat to be enjoyed after the nutritious meal, but not at every meal
  5. snacks are for getting through to the next meal, not in place of it
  6. they can appropriately ask permission to have a snack between meals, and eat it at the kitchen table
  7. table manners are important for individual dignity, as well as the comfort of other folks around the table or adjoining restaurant areas
  8. they can select appropriate restaurant menu items and confidently order for themselves
  9. food is a gift from the Lord that is meant to give us health, energy, satisfaction, and fellowship
  10. stealing is never appropriate, nor necessary, as what we have is for all to share
  11. it is okay and right to discuss problems and issues surrounding food to achieve the right frame of mind regarding same
  12. have a good self-image about their bodily confirmation, and are not overly concerned about their physical appearance as teens
  13. meal time is fellowship time; enjoying conversation at each meal, with a family bible study at least one meal a day, promotes lifelong relationships and sets a firm spiritual foundation

Adopted kids, especially those that come to their forever family as toddlers or older, have survival instincts when it comes to many things, especially concerning food.  Time and attention will diminish these sub-concious natural tendencies with careful actions by concerned parents.