While my family waits and sorts through some ambivalent feelings about how shifting our adoption interests from a toddler Indian little girl to a local little boy from the Los Angeles’ County foster care system has actually set us back some months, the real news is we are suddenly very clear on wanting a sibling for Sam.
Adoption preconception is taking our family a really long time.
Because of my investigations into local adoption, I found this alarming statistic from the county. I urge you to think about this stat during the holiday season as you purchase bountiful gifts for your spoiled kids, take family vacations, and play with new toys all month. So many children have no such circumstances. It kills me around this time of year.
International Adoption: Last month during National Adoption Month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “Over the last 10 years, American families have opened their hearts and homes to more than 200,000 children from other countries. They have given vulnerable children the opportunity to thrive. Families who adopt are enriched by the love of their new children, and the heritage they bring from their birth countries. The State Department is committed to safeguarding the interests of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents worldwide.”
Domestic Adoption: According to national adoption research, in the United States, there are 3,000 children abused each day and four of them will die. (Forty percent of these children were under the age of six.) The age group with the highest abuse rate is 0-3 years.
Nationally, the highest form of abuse is neglect, followed by physical abuse. Some of these reasons make me yearn to adopt a troubled child, and yet I don’t have enough fortitude for it, I’m not that kind of mom. I like things easy…
In stats I found from last year, there were 56,138 children in foster care in California with 13,394 children waiting for adoptive families.
Where are you within your adoption journey? Tell me in the comments below.
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Last weekend, my family was visiting our cool Hollywood friends for casual festivities, having a few cocktails with a few creative couples when one dynamic duo (and I mean that seriously) launched into a heart-warming holiday tale about their Echo Park neighbors who finally adopted — after a brutal three-year wait — a lovely Ethiopian toddler who is perfect and quiet in every way.
They will celebrate a son, newly named Ben. Beautiful Ben. Can’t help but dream of his pretty face, long eye lashes. I feel scared for myself at how easy the images burn my eyelids. Did they travel across a desert for him? Were his family nomads in Ethiopia?
I lose track of the conversation and five minutes later, I blurt out loudly:
“Is there something wrong with him? Can he speak? Why is the little boy so quiet?” I ask, the ever-present adoptive mother questions. Too loudly, almost rudely.
My husband raises an eyebrow, like, “I cannot believe you just said that.” Thankfully the adopted kid and his ecstatic parents have not arrived yet but my husband gives me the death stare, and our mutual friend wonders out loud, ” Why does there have to be soothing wrong with a happy adopted 2-year-old?”
Without thinking, I launch into my tired adoption diatribe about reactive-attachment disorder, “so many kids nearing three years old have reactive-attachment syndrome and blah blah blah blah.”
“…and if he’s only two then there’s a bigger chance he was…blah, blah”
Party pooper. I’m sick of myself — are you? Everyone is shuffling around the cheese plate looking suddenly uncomfortable. Uh, yeah.
I stop in mid blah and nibble a few appetizers. Have another cocktail I may not need. Adoption envy ensues. I am quiet and helpful in the kitchen for the next 15 minutes and the new adoptive loving gorgeous perfect family never shows anyway because the little slow, quiet little Ethiopian son (kissing!) has a horrid cold.
Are you in the process of adoption? Are you filled with hope and longing when you meet other parents waiting too?
Tell me your own story in Comments below.
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Over the last ten years, American families have opened their hearts and homes to more than 200,000 children from other countries.
At the start of National Adoption Month, last month, Secretary of State Clinton said:
“They have given vulnerable children the opportunity to thrive. Families who adopt are enriched by the love of their new children, and the heritage they bring from their birth countries. This November, we celebrate National Adoption Month and join with groups across the nation to recognize these special families. The State Department is committed to safeguarding the interests of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents worldwide.”
Then I found this great adoption news story out of New Mexico that me smile all day long:
Albuquerque Restaurants Feeds, Celebrates Foster Kids (photo right)
Local foster and adoption families were treated to a free holiday dinner Thursday, thanks to a local Albuquerque restaurant. Sandiago’s at the Tram prepared a special Thanksgiving feast. The restaurant started this event several years ago as a way to give back to families who give so much to children in the community.
Three hundred people were treated to Thanksgiving dinner, and it’s a gift that the Martinez family says they appreciate.
“We’re blessed! I tell everyone I get a hug and a kiss everyday. I get unconditional love,” said Vivian Martinez. She’s counting her blessings this year, including their mix of foster and biological children. “Just the noise and joy around the home. There’s never a dull moment. There’s always something to do.”
The Children’s Youth and Families Department says it’s always in need of foster families. For more information, contact them at 1-855-333-SAFE.
Tell me your interesting or uplifting domestic adoption story right here:
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Last week a reader said I was limiting my chances of international adoption by minimizing the countries we work with because we’ll only adopt via countries that follow the protective Hague Conventions (India, Russia and more) to protect children internationally from child trafficking, baby stealing and “orphanage tourism.”
Then I read another scary warning story [see international adoption scary scenario below] and I’m gladdened that our family’s international adoption has gone slow and steady through conventional and legal channels at every turn. All told, an international adoption from India will cost about $35,000 and take three years total, but we dragged our feet,
Adoption news: November 8, 2012 the Council on Accreditation (COA) canceled the Hague accreditation of Children of Africa Enterprises Hope Adoption Agency (“Hope”) for failing to maintain substantial compliance with the U.S. accreditation standards at 22 Code of Federal Regulations. Prior to this date, Hope was a Hague accredited adoption service provider authorized to operate in both Hague and non-Hague countries.
As a result of this cancellation, Hope must cease to provide all adoption services in connection with cases covered under the Hague Adoption Convention. This adoption service provider currently operates in Ethiopia. Please note that according to U.S. regulations, this cancellation will not affect Hope’s ability to work in non-Hague countries. Persons with an open case with Hope may contact the adoption service provider directly to find out whether and how the cancellation may affect your adoption services.
Updated info: The government of Chad has also prohibited international adoptions for similar reasons.
Do our homework on the Hague Convention if you are adopting internationally. What’s your adoption story?
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My family began searching for a younger sibling to add to our biological son Sam, who is six. My beautiful, sensitive, social smart kid began begging for a little sister when he was four years old and caused our family to reconsider only child status. I only ever wanted one kid because I love my work and travel to exotic places.
I married later in life and felt too independent to be tied down every single night with more than one child. Sam is easy and fun now at six years old — but it gets sort of boring too, doesn’t it? Parenting, I mean?
Anyway, at four years, Sam craved a sister and my husband agreed 100 percent and was never shy about his emotional need for a daughter; he thinks children should grow up with sibs and his friends are his sister and brother.
I only wanted Sam–he is perfect — why jinx it? At 45-ish, I don’t have an overwhelming urge to be pregnant again, although I loved every moment the first time around.
We began wanting another child for Sam, which is a pretty inappropriate reason — right? Have a kid for your kid? Bad reasoning, I know, I know.
But then a year rolled around of searching for international agencies we wanted to work with and plunk down an initial fee of about $15,000 for an international adoption of a toddler female. We were quickly ruled out of China and several Asian countries because we are too old. Then, we began narrowing our country search and learning about the Hague Convention and wanting to engage only with a country that has protective rules in place to safeguard against child trafficking.
And then, the recession hit.
Attention, parents: Sam no longer wants or needs a sister at all. In fact, Sam can’t stand the thought of girl toys and girlie pink clothes in his closet; the two would have to share a room.
Now, only a new boy will do. Changes everything. Darrin’s not as ecstatic about another boy, he already has one of those. But a tiny little girl to call his own hmmm, that changes things for us.
Stop. My kid who wants a kid now will only accept a little brother into our family. I wonder if we look flaky to a potential adoption agency because we’ve begun reconsidering the most basic move into adoption: a boy or girl!
During the holidays as we re-think past decisions and make plans for the future, what direction do you want to take toward adoption? Will you adopt this year? One slow step forward and… ?
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