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  #1  
Old 03-26-2009, 02:03 PM
smitnlit smitnlit is offline
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Adopted children and food obsession?

I have 3 wonderful children. Two are from china. One was adopted at 11 months of age and had a VERY hard transition. One was brought home at 2.9 yrs of age and had an easier transition. BOTH seem to be food obsessed.

My daughter who was adopted at 11 months did hoard food. It was typically food she wasn't allowed to have often like candy. I would find the wrappers. Then chips, etc. That behaviour has subsided somewhat but she and my other adopted son are OBSESSED with food. I mean, she could be eating a meal and then ask when her next one would be. He hovers around food constantly.

She has a cholesterol problem, so we need to watch what she eats a bit, and he is getting to be quite portly. He will ask for 2nds and 3rds on meals.

I'm not sure WHAT I should be doing.

I started a "snack" draw filled with healthy foods in the bottom of the fridge. Apples, nuts, yogurt, cheese, etc.

Now the snack draw is an obsession. They could go in and grab something and then ask for another snack immediately after and keep going.

My biological son doesn't seem to exibit any of this behavior. He eats his meals and typically doesn't even think about any more food unless he really is hungry. He doesn't ask when his next meal is when he is eating.

So, how do I handle this? There isn't a lot of information on the internet. Her cholesterol (she is 5 yrs) and his chunkyness (he is 4) is a bit of a concern in how to handle, yet not have the focus always be on food.

Any suggestions? The snack draw backfired immensely.
Now what?
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  #2  
Old 03-26-2009, 02:41 PM
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Both my daughters (who came home as toddlers) were food obsessed. The oldest always wanted to look in the refrigerator each night to be sure there was food for the next day. The youngest hid food in her bed -- sometimes she ate it, but frequently it was bread and just disintegrated into crumbs under the sheets. The youngest also had a problem with obesity and high cholesterol by age 8.
I started a snack drawer in the fridge with healthy snacks. I filled it each day. When they had emptied it, that was the end until the next day.
I also stopped buying sweets (chocolate milk, cookies, etc. to keep in the pantry.
Finally, I got a tupperware container and filled it with healthy food -- apple slices, a biscuit, etc -- and put it beside my younger daughter's bed every night. She could eat it if she wanted, or she could just keep it to look at.
My youngest continued to have weight issues until she became a mother. Then she developed healthier eating habits because she wanted to be a good roll model for her child.
This is a hard one. Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 03-26-2009, 02:55 PM
NicoleP80 NicoleP80 is offline
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I would probably make a lunch like bag in the drawer for each child. Then each child has one and like another poster said, once it is gone, its gone..

Apple slices
Carrots
Broccoli
1 string cheese
Bottle of water
Grapes
watermelon slices



I stick with mainly fruits and veggies and I wouldnt "fill" the drawer/bag for them. Just a few things here and there.

Good luck!
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Old 03-27-2009, 05:35 AM
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We have 4 adopted children. Only our daughter, who was 2 when she came to us, had (and still has, to some degree), food issues. The other 3 children were infants and have no issues related to food. Samantha is now 10, I constantly find candy and food wrappers in her room despite the fact that we have plenty to eat here, she gets healthy food and treats. I've learned to relax about it, it has gotten better over time. Still, I think she's going to make a great chef one day due to her obsession with being in the kitchen when I'm cooking. I'm amazed that these issues haven't really gone away in all this time. She was with her bio mother for 6 mos., removed and placed in foster care, and then to our home. I doubt she really had all she needed in foster care. I saw her foster mother, myself, set her and her foster brother on the kitchen floor with sippy cups full of juice to keep them content and quiet whenever she didn't have time for them. Now, I think that our daughter uses food as a comfort (not surprising, actually so do I). Thankfully she is built beautifully, very, very tall and very slim. She's also very involved in sports and quite talented in that arena so I don't think her food issues will be much of a problem. She also LOVES yogurt and fruit so whenever she wants a treat, she's more than happy to eat more healthy food. I don't like food eaten anywhere in the home except for the kitchen, so the food in her bedroom is my biggest issue.

I also had a foster son who came at the age of one year. He had HORRIBLE food issues, stuffed himself without stopping, screaming and screaming for more food after he had more than enough for a child his age. I had a real problem with it and, aside from giving him more healthy treats, his issues have carried over into his adoptive home.

There is a "food issue" program associated with our local Children's Hospital. You might want to check in your area to see if there are any similar programs available to you and your child.

I DO KNOW how frustrating these food issues can be. I wish I had more advice to offer you.
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  #5  
Old 03-27-2009, 05:50 AM
smitnlit smitnlit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joskids
We have 4 adopted children. Only our daughter, who was 2 when she came to us, had (and still has, to some degree), food issues. The other 3 children were infants and have no issues related to food. Samantha is now 10, I constantly find candy and food wrappers in her room despite the fact that we have plenty to eat here, she gets healthy food and treats. I've learned to relax about it, it has gotten better over time. Still, I think she's going to make a great chef one day due to her obsession with being in the kitchen when I'm cooking. I'm amazed that these issues haven't really gone away in all this time. She was with her bio mother for 6 mos., removed and placed in foster care, and then to our home. I doubt she really had all she needed in foster care. I saw her foster mother, myself, set her and her foster brother on the kitchen floor with sippy cups full of juice to keep them content and quiet whenever she didn't have time for them. Now, I think that our daughter uses food as a comfort (not surprising, actually so do I). Thankfully she is built beautifully, very, very tall and very slim. She's also very involved in sports and quite talented in that arena so I don't think her food issues will be much of a problem. She also LOVES yogurt and fruit so whenever she wants a treat, she's more than happy to eat more healthy food. I don't like food eaten anywhere in the home except for the kitchen, so the food in her bedroom is my biggest issue.

I also had a foster son who came at the age of one year. He had HORRIBLE food issues, stuffed himself without stopping, screaming and screaming for more food after he had more than enough for a child his age. I had a real problem with it and, aside from giving him more healthy treats, his issues have carried over into his adoptive home.

There is a "food issue" program associated with our local Children's Hospital. You might want to check in your area to see if there are any similar programs available to you and your child.

I DO KNOW how frustrating these food issues can be. I wish I had more advice to offer you.
Thanks all.

I like the suggestions on limiting the snacks to 3 in the bag. That might work.

I guess I'm wondering how to handle the request for 2nds and 3rds on meals? I know after eating one meal it takes us 20 minutes to even process we're full, but my one son who constantly wants his bowl filled 3-4x some nights has his meal FINISHED before I sit down sometimes.

One night I made Chili. I got the kids their milk and some cheese and by the time I sat to eat, he had finished his bowl and was looking for his second helping. I hadn't even taken a bite. I try to encourage him to put his fork down between bites, but it's a constant reminder and then I think, "Am I putting to much attention on this?"

My daughter could literally have just started eating her meal and then start asking, what she can have for dessert.

It's very apparent they both have issues related to food, but I'm trying to find some way to address it so they both stay healthy and they both know food will be there for them.

I think the snacks in bags is a great idea, but what about mealtime and 2nd-3rd, 4th helpings?
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  #6  
Old 03-27-2009, 06:08 AM
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My oldest is a bit food obsessed too. She was 19 mo coming home. She hoarded for several months and would eat until she threw up.
She is also an extra helpings queen. I usually allow her to have one extra helping and then I switch her to salad or fruit if she asks again. I'll say something like I cannot get you any more macaroni and cheese but I will get you some apple slices if you like. Usually this makes her happy.
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  #7  
Old 03-27-2009, 06:31 AM
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I myself have food issue...not sure if it is because I am adopted. I grew up in a great home with plenty of food, but my parents never gave me sugar foods etc, so when I moved out that is what I went too. All the stuff I couldn't eat growing up!

What I do for kids is we eat things high in fiber and protien. I find that fills everyone up, and the weight stays of those that need it, like my adopted DS! But keeps the rest of us in line

We have oatmeal, yogurt in the morning etc.

My friend has a adopted daughter who eats and eats, so she will allow seconds but only of veggies...no meat or potatoes or bread. So you could think about that, if she has finished seconds of veggies, she will allow seconds of meat,veggies and potatoes.

We also switched plates around, we use smaller plates for meals, so we end up eating smaller amounts, but the eye thinks it is eating a big amount

Hope this helps!
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Old 03-27-2009, 08:52 AM
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What Mommieof2cuties said reminded me of something my grandmother did during the depression to help feed five children on less food. About 10-15 minutes BEFORE dinner, she called the children to the table and gave them a big bowl of oatmeal or rice and gravy. They ate that as an "appetizer". Then, about 20 minutes after they finished, she served the whole family the "dinner" -- bread, meat, vegetables, etc with a large glass of milk. There were no seconds. If there was any dessert -- usually bread pudding or fruit cobbler -- it was served after everyone was finished eating. So, fast eaters had to sit and wait for slow ones, which gave them time for the "full" button to click on.
Sixty years later, one of my uncles always wanted a bowl of rice with every meal! He said he never felt "full" without it!
Maybe this could help?
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  #9  
Old 03-27-2009, 09:03 AM
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Could you try simply explaining the concept of FOOD IS FUEL...talk about in the context of a car etc...

There is XYZ amount of calories and food types your body needs each day. That is all you should eat....period.

Kids with emotional issues sometimes cannot tell when they feel full or hungry. You need to explain to them that the stomach is like a balloon. It stretches and shrinks....so feeling hungry isn't always a reason to eat. Neither is feeling sad, or bored...etc...

This helped my dd normalize her food issues (starving herself). She was anorexic at age 3.
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  #10  
Old 03-27-2009, 10:26 AM
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How old are your kids? I might have some suggestions for the 3-4th helpings, dinner time etc., but depends on the age.
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:55 AM
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One idea that helped out my co-worker who is also a speech and language therapist....and something I'm keeping in the back of my mind for possible use is a food chart/step....

the hardest part is setting it up....think of all the foods you feed the kids and take pictures of them. then every night put a sheet ordered with 1, 2, 3...

(i usually do this with velcro when working with my kids at my work with other needs, but the chart/picture/visual board idea is the same)

then introduce them their foods that will be served that night (e.g. maccaroni and cheese, apple slices, breadsticks, peas, yogurt etc.)

explain, these are our food items and then let them velcro out what they want to eat first. When they are done with that item they take off the picture and go to the 2nd item...and so forth until they visually see what they have eaten. For my co-worker...it worked because her daughter saw that there was food and she could visually see how much she ate...

of course this was a preschooler hence the picture ideas. Forgive me,I don't remember the ages of your kids.
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:26 AM
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Dannie - OUTSTANDING idea. I'm going to pass it on to a friend of mine who is dealing with eating issues in her 5 year old adopted son.
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joskids
Dannie - OUTSTANDING idea. I'm going to pass it on to a friend of mine who is dealing with eating issues in her 5 year old adopted son.

great....obviously i have access to materials at my job, but for home, I would go the local 99cent or dollar tree store and buy a clipboard (for a hard backing) put on the hard/scratchy velcro on the clipboard and the soft side on the back of the picture/picture symbol to put it on.....i usually laminate pictures or what i'm using, but good contact paper works as well in order to give pictures more "life" time...(yes the downfall is that you have many pictures and you have to replace the pictures every so often because they bend/break/or get lost)
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Old 03-28-2009, 05:16 PM
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I LOVE these suggestions. My son has food issues and I suspect he will have them for life, on some level. He came to us at 11 months old. His foster mom said he he had issues at 3 months old and would rage for more bottle/food even though it would make him vomit.

Her take on it was to restrict him and put him on a "diet" because he was "too fat" he gained only 2 lbs from 3 months to 11 months. When he would see other children with bottles from 8-12 months he would rage and scream for their bottle. He was not very big when we got him but could out eat my 8 year old in pancakes. For a very long time he would scream and throw fits for a bottle even when he was weaned. It was weird because often at night time (we gave him one bottle at night and nap time for attachment) he wouldn't even finish the bottle. I think he was attached to the "food" like it as his caregiver.

I am not sure what the answer is but for him he almost has to have free access to food or he goes nuts-to this day if I try to restrict him we backslide. When he is allowed all he wants of healthy food he seems to moderate himself better. I can't have anything sugary/junk food in the house or he will find it and rage if he can't have it. I get him a child size chocolate shake from McDonalds (therapist suggested it) almost every day, but that's our "junk food".

Free access suggestion was given to me by somebody on the board. However, if he didn't restrict himself on healthy food, I would be very worried. At first he did eat until he would vomit so I did have to be careful not to let him have too much until he was around 18 months old and he started to regulate better-even then tried very hard to let him have healthy choices even if it meant he overate-.

I wonder why so many adopted children have this problem? Oh and he doesn't have weight problem he does have sensory issues.
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Old 03-28-2009, 07:02 PM
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We had this problem with our son as well. It pretty much came down to this - he didn't know the difference between hungry and full - if his tummy hurt, he thought it meant he was hungry. He would eat until his little belly was rock-hard and still want more.

He'd also freak out if someone else had seconds before he finished his dinner.

We just had to limit what he ate.

Eventually around 10 or so, he began to understand what his body felt like when it was hungry. But until he left home at 18, I still had to have all his snacks and food portion controlled. We had to do that when we realized (at about 14) that he'd pour chocolate syrup into the half gallon of ice cream and eat until the syrup was gone!
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