Friday, December 30th, 2011
It’s a wintry 63 degrees in Los Angeles, as I stretch out from a 4-mile run along the river. The Los Angeles River is much more pastoral and fast-flowing than you’d imagine.
I notice two pink-clad toddlers crab-walking across the lawn toward the local playground right around the corner from my house. They can’t be more than three years old, twins, with two handsome gay daddies laughing on either side.
They make a geometric foursome. Two handsome buttoned-down white-collar dads, each holding the hand of a delicious-looking little girl with jet-black curls and tan skin — I’d bet my Latin roots the little girls are from Guatemala.
If you think it’s strenuous to adopt a foreign toddler because of finances or advanced age, you should see how hard it is to adopt when you are single or gay. Or both! (Several gay adoptive parents I have interviewed don’t want to go on the record but told me that they never inform adoption agencies about their homosexual proclivities on an adoption application.)
Kudos to the couples who persevere. Some Asian and Africa countries, in particular, make it impossible for gay families to adopt.
I watch this happy quartet (two matching daughters with two nearly matching daddies) toddle to the monkey bars, and I can’t take my eyes off the twins. I’m suddenly so envious I feel like throwing up.
I move closer to see what the two little girls are wearing: Is their hair brushed? Does the one on the left have a dimple in her chin? I imagine what those two lives would have been like in Guatemala or Haiti where so many poverty-stricken children do not have enough to eat.
You are here in Los Angeles, lucky daughters! Land of the Free and the Eco-conscious – and the Gorgeous too. These giggly shy adopted children are wearing designer duds and one dad looks vaguely familiar too, an actor for sure. The other dad might be a doctor or a lawyer; he is well dressed and totally focused on his family.
I realize I am still staring at the insta-family much too hard. Both daddies are now frowning in my direction. I have not blinked away for long minutes. I may look like a crazy stalker mommy.
Careful! One sweaty stranger lurks in the park just staring at your adopted offspring.
She is I.
Have you gone off the deep end during your adoption search? Tell me a good story and I will publish it.
Wednesday, December 28th, 2011
Here is the most recent stat I could find: About 50,000 foster children are adopted annually in the U.S., almost double the number since the 1990s. There is no national data to show how many adoptions fail or track how many children need additional help, and states are not required to report the figures.
Mary R. is a 40-something adopted daughter who entered foster care in the nick of time:
“My adoption story is probably not so unique, however it’s a positive story in the end. I was given up for adoption in 1967 by my biological mom.
I was placed in two foster homes as a baby. My first foster home took care of me from six weeks old until nine months, and my first foster mother always suspected something wasn’t right since I was barely active as an infant. She alerted every pediatrician and got a second opinion.
My second foster family received me at nine months, and my first foster mom passed along her worries and written notes, knowing I’d need some form of interference and medical help in order to thrive. During my time with this second family, my biological mom had second thoughts and wanted me back again. She made contact.
By then, I’d been placed in this wonderful home, and this foster mom was a nurse and worked in a hospital and began sending me for all kinds of tests. She was on top of it! Specialists sent me to a childrens hospital in the Chicago area. It turns out that I had an undetected form of Spina Bifida combined with another type of Spina Bifida that could leave me paralyzed if it wasn’t fixed during my first year of life.
I don’t think my biological mother would have gone to the trouble.
I have known that I was adopted all my life. My adoptive parents took great care of me, and I love them for everything they have done. They took me in as their fourth child when they already had three biological children. Of course I was curious about who I am, and eventually wanted to search for my biological mother.
When I finally found my biological mother, I found other family too, an older brother who had been given up after his birth, as well as half sisters, and many uncles, aunts, cousins. Today, I see my bio-mom as a part of my extended family… though my foster family who raised me is my true family and my foster parents who worked hard and turned my life around are my real parents.”
Please tell me your adoption story here, and I may feature you. Thanks for sharing, Mary!
Monday, December 26th, 2011
Anyone who has ever been touched by adoption must ask themselves during the holidays, “How can I help other children find their forever families?”
This holiday season, I want to give each person reading the opportunity to answer the call to help orphaned children. And orphan dogs. I think they go best served up together, kids and dogs. Dogs and kids.
One of my favorite international adoption sites offers happy successful adoption stories all year round, but specializes in placing older children, sibling groups and special needs kids who may need extra care from their new families.
Personal adoption stories like theirs touch families everywhere, inspiring people to move forward with forming their family through adoption. Be a part of this initiative and give hope to children everywhere.
While my family is still in the pre-adoption phase, we’ve narrowed the search down to foster-to-adopt programs locally in Los Angeles, and we are beginning the final 24 hours of parental adoption training in early January.
We have tapped an international adoption agency we really like and also trust to potentially adopt a young daughter from India. Unfortunately, we cannot afford that option this year. Santa didn’t exactly stuff my stocking with fivers… and you must plunk down $15,000 just to get the adoption ball rolling with that agency!
I ask you, for just a moment this holiday, send out blessings and good vibrations to a poor kid who needs a dose of Santa right around now. Or a healthy dose of a mom or dad.
I’d like to share our family’s gratitude that we were able to save another rescue dog this blessed season. She was going to be euthanized at the Downey high-kill shelter, Calif.
Our new beloved daughter (and doggie sister for my biological Sam) is a new 100-pound Great Dane mix named Bette Davis.
A real Hollywood looker but with an edge — just like her celeb namesake. And yes, she is going to get much bigger!
Have a safe holiday. Merry Christmas and tell me your happy holiday adoption story or tidbit here for 2012. Merry everything!
Friday, December 23rd, 2011
I want an innocent adoptive daughter singing Christmas carols and tottering around the house in my silver stilettos,
Two sugary mouths sucking on candy canes while we decorate the tree that is much too big for our playroom,
An extra set of dark and expectant eyes galloping down the stairs to see what Santa brought,
(Instead of the toyshop we make purchases via laptop.)
I want one disadvantaged daughter to be able celebrate any holiday safely without fear or instability,
I want a husband who stays healthy and loyal and charming all year long,
I also want one gloriously joyful son who still thinks mommy is a goddess. (I am.)
PS: I also want peace, love and a great dental plan (if you are listening Santa!)
Well, she is not the daughter I imagined but she is kind and happy and pinkish.
Less than a year old and rescued just in time for Christmas.
You cannot just give them back when they grow too big or act too destructively.
We are in it for the long haul — kids and dogs.
This new rescue dog daughter has four paws but she’s as loving as any I’ve known.
Merry Christmas, Bette Davis, welcome home to our new daughter!
Sometimes the best adoption posts have a happy simple ending and this is nearly the way we are going too end 2011: up one dog and waiting for the kid. Stay tuned in 2012!
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
I’ve been talking to Diane from North Carolina about her choice to use open adoption, where her newborn daughter has always been in touch with her biological family.
Diane recently said, “My husband Pat and I adopted when we were in our early forties after two miscarriages. There was no known reason for the miscarriages, the typical unexplained infertility, so we moved rapidly into adoption.” They wasted no time and finished home study within a year.
After doing their adoption research, choosing between international and national adoption, they selected a domestic agency that specialized in open adoption.
She said, “Picture a deer in the headlights! In 1994, we signed up for open adoption, went through one failed adoption and finally brought home our darling beautiful daughter in 1995. Katie is now a 17-year old gem.”
Katie has always known her entire extended biological family but also realizes their lifestyle and their life choices (drug addiction, teen pregnancy) are not her choices. Because they had such a wonderful experience with open adoption, Diane and Pat returned to the same agency three years later when Katie was a toddler. And they went through another failed adoption… more heartbreak.
Diane keenly remembered, “Three weeks after a sad failed adoption, we finally adopted a newborn boy named Kevin. Kevin was born to a married couple with four biological siblings and, oddly, he was the only child the family placed up for adoption. Today, Kevin also knows his clan and has communication with them but it’s been much harder since our son has special needs.”
Diane and Pat did not realize during their placement of Kevin that he would be a high-functioning autistic with a mood disorder and learning disabilities. At 14, Kevin now functions well at his special school and participates in Boy Scouts. Diane fully admits this has been a tough road.
“But Pat and I both love being older parents to both children. Thanks to Kevin, I’m a staunch advocate for special needs kids, autism, and mental health issues during adoption,” she said. “He is a charming boy with gorgeous black hair and radiant blue eyes, and full of charisma!”
Diane has progressed to being an advocate into adoption education, especially for special needs kids. She said, “I realized I wanted to be more of an hands-on mom, so ultimately I repackaged my skill set into adoption education. Diane also has launched an adoption site that reflects her remarkable know-how and education background.
As always, we thank Thea Ramirez for making the adoptive mom introductions, thanks to Diane and Thea for making adoption easier for the rest of us. Tell me your story here!