The Magic in the Laughter of a Child


Recently, I was watching a YouTube video of some babies laughing. The more I watched, the bigger I began to smile until eventually I was bursting with laughter myself. There is something infectious about the laughter of a child, almost of magic quality. A quote by Charles Dickens says that, “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”

It is amazing how much we take this gift, one that has been said to have the power to heal, for granted. I remember bringing my daughter Lauren home from Ukraine as an infant. She was seemingly on track developmentally other than being underweight. And one other thing… she didn’t laugh. She would smile ear-to-ear with her cute and adorable dimples, but there was no laughter.

After Lauren was home for a few months, beginning to feel safe and attached and watching her siblings, she finally began laughing. For us it was magical, knowing how precious it was to hear the first sound of it. We all sat around her, being silly and trying anything to entertain her, just to hear that magical sound again!

This is just one of the many delays that children who have been institutionalized can face. Lauren was lucky, as many of the children adopted from Nicaragua, Congo, or Bulgaria may be significantly behind on their developmental milestones. Common delays seen in adopted children are language, growth, cognitive, fine motor skill, and social delays. I have seen that with love, care, nutrition, and the right treatment, many children grow and develop in a very short period of time. Our family did not give up on Lauren and her potential to laugh. Development for some children may take time, but don’t ever give up hope.

Photo Credit: Anna Waren

For more information about MLJ Adoptions’ international adoption programs, please click here.

Lydia Tarr works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptions’ programs in Bulgaria and Ukraine. She is the adoptive mother of four children from Ukraine and was recognized as a 2013 Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) Angels in Adoption Program.