Part of the November series “30 Things I Know About Adoption.”
Guest post by Allison Schumm
When we welcome a new child into our home we seldom think about the fact that it means we will likely change what we eat.
Many children who come from hard places come with allergies, sensitivities, and health problems that require special diet or deficiencies from malnutrition. These dietary changes may remain unknown until the child has proper medical attention.
Your diet may also change because as you meld the children into your family you’ll realize they have different ideas of what tastes good. One thing is certain, your diet will not ever be the same after you adopt.
When we adopted our 2-year-old son he had been extremely sick most of his life. We knew that most people are not sick most of their life for no reason, and decided to have him allergy tested. We found out he was allergic to dairy and eggs. This took care of most of the problem, but he would still get occasionally get sick. Through trial and error we also found out he was allergic to coconut.
With our 9-year-old son, when he came for visits sometimes his foster family would forget to send his ADHD meds and he would not be able to cope without them. We eat a very clean, unprocessed diet because of my sensitivity to processed foods. (I was adopted at birth). After he had been in our home for 3 months, we were able to take him off all medications and we have not seen any ADHD symptoms.
Many children born addicted to drugs, or with moms who are mineral deficient, are more sensitive to processed foods. Some may need to learn to follow GAPS diets or go gluten and casein free. Others may need to learn to cook from scratch because their children’s already over-stimulated brains are being strained by chemical additives in our foods.
Even if your child doesn’t come with a need for dietary changes, they may come with specific tastes which will affect meal times. Our first group of children came from a background where they put hot sauce on everything! Every meal is covered in it and I came to a point that I was offended because I felt my cooking wasn’t good enough. When it turns out that, they just like a little heat in their food. We now go through almost a gallon of hot sauce a month.
Adoption is never easy and you never have all the answers as you enter into the process of bringing your new blessing(s) home. Know that you aren’t alone in your your adventures, and that there are many families out there who can help you. There are many recipes and ideas online and in your local library that can help make the transition easier. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
(Julie’s Note: We’ve seen TREMENDOUS changes in our ADHD son by removing all dyes, preservatives and corn syrup. After several months we also went gluten and casein free but didn’t see any additional changes so we went back to the first diet. He still takes meds but his dosage is about half what it was before dietary changes.)
Allison is a busy mom of 14 beautiful blessings ranging from 18 to 1 year old. She married her knight in shining armor in of May 2004 and they started the first step in their adoption journey in the end of 2005 just 18 months after they were married. Jonathan and Allison are vocal advocates for adoption, they believe that God places the lonely in families – and keeping siblings together is the best course of action when possible. They have adopted 2 sibling groups of 5, with the adoption finalizations occurring five years apart, to the day. Allison is certified to teach PS-MAPP and Jonathan and Allison do everything they can to help their favorite ministry Project Belong
Allison blogs at Schumm Explosion and James 1:27 Moms, she also has a passion for her work with Project Belong and their ministry. Currently, Jonathan and Allison reside in Topeka, KS and home school all 14 of their children. Allison enjoys writing, traditional cooking, crafts and spending time with her family