Did you have a honeymoon phase after your adoption? If you are
considering adoption or in the process, don't count on it. Every
child adjusts differently, sometimes there is a "grace period"
before they start testing limits as every child shall, and
sometimes they start right in and never let up.
I learned the importance of adhering to my Ukrainian adoptive
son's orphanage regimen. If I kept to his schedule of breakfast,
play, snack, play, lunch, play, long nap, play dinner, early bed
- everything was great. When travel and life got in the way and I
missed nap time, I had a screaming, squirming nightmare on my
hands at a lunch cafe. Nightmare. I had to leave. My
recommendation: find out the schedule and stick to it as much as
It is a wonderful thing about Ukrainian adoption that you get to
spend some time with your adopted Ukrainian child in his or her
orphanage and get to know his schedule. Generally I have found
this smoothes the transition a bit.
Also, every child is different! Share your experience or stories
you have heard!
The Honeymoon Phase of International Adoption
Destinations, Dreams and Dogs Blog
"Ah, the honeymoon phase," other adoptive parents would smile
benignly when they heard we had nary a problem with our first son
from Russia. "Just wait."
This common adoption legend persists to the present day: that
children arrive after court, fresh-faced and angelic, and then a
week later, or several months later, descend into the depths of
whirling-dervish demon possession when the honeymoon phase is
Tell that to any adoptive parent whose child is screaming bloody
murder in a hotel room all night long the first night, or wailing
and kicking before stepping into a car for the first time, or
heading out on an airplane, bound for who-knows-where with atomic
diaper blow-outs. Those parents are still waiting for the
In our case with Petya, brought home at 7.5 years old, the
honeymoon never ended. He was delightful and helpful,
enthusiastic and energetic from Day 1. Our first morning home, he
fed me the blueberries out of his yogurt, "Mama, taste this, it's
amazing!" and picked me wildflowers from our garden. I loved him
unreservedly and unconditionally.
Our second son was adopted four years later at 11.75 years old,
followed by our daughters arriving a year later at 8.5 and 11
years old. None of them believed in happily-ever-after honeymoons
by the looks of things. Or, if this was their idea of a
honeymoon, God help their future mates-!
No, they came to us pouty and problematic, and in Pasha's and
Sashenka's cases, pretty pukey, as well. Anytime we were in a
moving conveyance, the projectiles would hurl forth, which for a
jet-setting family, was most of the time. There's nothing like
setting off for a new life in a new land while changing your
daughter's soaked and stinky clothes on the side of the highway
in a freezing drizzle and then washing her matted hair in the
airport sink- sans soap and sans paper towels.
So maybe the "honeymoon" was doomed from the start, lol. I
learned to carry plastic bags in my purse at all times. With
prayer, they overcame the motion-sickness, slowly but surely,
along with the other pukey behaviors.
If it wasn't coming out one end, then we had problems on the
other. Some honeymoon. I broached the subject with Pasha,
reported to be a bed wetter.
"Privyet, welcome to the family," came my rehearsed speech.
"Maybe you've never heard of it, but some children wet the bed at
night. There is special underwear to put on so that the bed stays
dry. Would you like some?" I asked as we entered our hotel suite.
"Nyet, spaseebah," he replied, as though politely refusing
another bit of caviar on toast points.
"Umm-hmm…" I didn't give in so easily, for his sake, as well as
mine. For some reason, I had been nominated to share the bed with
him. "Maybe we should wear these "troosee" at least for the first
But he was adamant.
Fine. Far be it from me to embarrass the guy and treat him like a
And thus, he awoke with a start in the early-morning hours as his
urine saturated both himself and the hotel bed sheets.
Stripping them off immediately, I washed the sheets in the
bathtub and miracle of miracles, they dried before any maids
These were the bumps in the road, the little surprises that
surfaced after we were already committed for life. Benedetto and
I had walked the aisle and said "I do" for these children before
a Russian judge. For us, we had massive amounts of time, and
money, and documents invested in these kids, whereas for them, it
was a whim, another disconnected, disjointed event in their life
that might turn into yet another detour. These were not kids on
their "honeymoon", on their best behavior for a week or so and
headed for a specific destination in life. Instead, they
continued their chaotic past into their present, letting it all
hang out from the very first moment.
"Sashenka! What's all this trash?!" I gasped in horror as I
entered our Russian apartment's living room. She had gathered
water bottles, juice bottles, and assorted debris, playing with
them, and then tossing them helter-skelter on the floor, rather
than placing them in the trash bin. It looked like an alcoholic's
"Here, let me help you put these in the trash. Do you know where
the trash can is?" we walked together to the kitchen.
A few minutes later, we were ready to go out on some official
appointment. My eyeballs nearly popped out at the elder sister's
"Mashenka! Stop rolling down your pants. I don't care to see your
popa. And what's on your face? You're so pretty you don't need
makeup," I say for the hundredth time in Moscow within days of
taking custody. I have adopted a floozy, intent on having her
front and back side hanging out of her clothes, as well as
wearing heavy, cruddy old makeup no doubt retrieved from some
"No, Mama, they're not rolled down, I swear it," she says so
innocently with the face of a liar. "Cosmetics? What cosmetics?"
We could only go up from here.
For these last three children, our love grew over time, more of
an arranged marriage, getting-to-know-you phase, instead of any
happy-go-lucky, swept-away honeymoon. We saw them trying to
please, trying to fit in, trying to adapt to a new family- on the
even days of odd-numbered months whenever the moon was not waxing
nor waning. The good times gave us hope for the grueling times.
I've heard that a number of married couples take no honeymoon,
preferring to wait until later for any celebratory travel. In our
lifestyle, we travel, and we generally celebrate every step
forward, great or small. So, I guess, in essence, every day is a
honeymoon at our house.
Whether sooner or later, take time for a honeymoon. Enjoy what's
right about life and what's cause for celebration. Make the
honeymoon more than a passing phase, make it a way of life for
the whole family. Bon voyage!
Adoption Services International unites loving US families with
Ukrainian children. We provide a unique combination of
professional, individualized, quality service (including a
maximum guaranteed adoption fee), personal adoption experience,
affordable local cost and 20 years Ukrainian experience.
If you or someone you love would like to expand your family,
provide a permanent home for a needy orphaned child, welcome a
sibling for an existing child or discover an alternative for
infertility treatments - contact us to learn more about Ukrainian
adoption, Adoption Services International can help.
Ukrainian Adoption 101:
Conversation On International Adoption: Opportunity, Process,
Concerns and Questions
Monday, November 12, 2012 6:00-7:00PM
Location: Califon Book Store: 72 Main Street, Califon, New Jersey
Ukrainian Adoption Information Meeting
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 7:00-8:00PM
Location: Wellness Rocks: 133 Rupell Road, Clinton, New Jersey