Archive for the ‘ Emotions Run Wild! ’ Category

Bad News: Halting Certain International Adoptions

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

international adoption of older childrenLast 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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New Website Spreads Awareness of Dangers of “Orphanage Tourism”

Monday, November 26th, 2012

international adoption nutritionIf you are even considering an international adoption, much like my family is with a toddler daughter in India, you must thoroughly do your homework, document all your paperwork, legalize everything — and make sure you’re not stealing some poor mother’s newborn in a Third World Country without her knowledge.

It happens all the time, but international rules and regulations are halting such illegal practices.

This helpful website is to educate people about what orphanage tourism is and the devastating affect is having on the children of Cambodia, many of whom are not even orphans. Most governments and child care professionals regard the institutionalization of children in orphanages as the very last resort. Unfortunately, in Cambodia it is increasingly becoming the first, mainly due to the increased demand from travelers and donors for more and more orphanages. Others are nothing more than money-making scams that are specifically targeting unsuspecting tourists.

Considering International Adoption?

The group’s spokesperson said in an interview, “Few of these people that are trying to help are actually qualified to work with traumatized or vulnerable children, so what we end up with is an even more dire situation. We really want to get the word out about this important cause, and let well-intentioned people know that there are better alternatives and avenues through which they can help.”

“The fact is, most travelers, donors, and volunteers are completely unaware that they are fueling this problem or that they may be doing more harm than good,” comments the group spokesperson. Media Note: Because many of the most profiteering Cambodian orphanages have close ties with the government (some of those who have spoken out about this in the past have been threatened) this group prefers to remain anonymous for now.

“We encourage visitors to become educated about orphanage tourism, and to help us continue to raise awareness by sharing the information they learn here with others. The goal is to stop fueling the orphanage industry and find ways to support vulnerable children and their families, not split them up. The children of Cambodia, and around the world, deserve better.”

You can help channel the good intentions of travelers and donors towards initiatives that provide more positive support for children, and support family based care, reducing the separation of children and their communities.”

Are you considering international adoption of a baby or a special needs toddler? What countries are you considering?

 

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Domestic Adoption: Open vs. Closed

Monday, November 12th, 2012

When I disclosed that my small perfect Los Angeles family would prefer to adopt internationally, many of you weighed in with Comments about domestic adoption instead: it’s cheaper, takes a shorter amount of time and allows your adopted child to know its birth parents. But… what if I don’t want my new kid to know her own birth parents? What if they are awful people?

Controversy ensued.

Than, a brilliant letter from author Lori Holden, who just finished writing “The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole” (available from Rowman & Littlefield 2013). She allows us to read excerpts below or on her site. And she discusses the pros and cons of open adoption far better than I ever could — she just went through a successful domestic, open adoption. With love and care.

Part 1 and Adoption Letter from Lori. I’ll add Part 2 from Lori on Friday — stay tuned to The Adoption Diaries.

“In listening to people from all walks of adoption (adoptive parents, first parents, adult adoptees) while researching and writing my book, the prime fear I hear from adopting parents is that they’ll never be considered the ‘real’ parent. That they feel like as much distance as possible needs to be put between their newly-formed family and the not-so-convenient spare parent out there ready and wanting to rapaciously take over.

This fear is at the root of much dysfunctional thinking and acting in open adoption relationships. But though simple awareness of that fear, it can be examined and resolved.

Often, such fear causes people to come from a place of Either/Or thinking. Either WE are the “real” parents or THEY are. Either we can legitimately claim the child or they can. In the old days of closed adoption, the child could scarcely even think about his other parents without it feeling like a betrayal. US?….or THEM??? (Cue ominous and sinister music.)

But this type of thinking is like splitting the baby. Remember that Solomon tale? The wise king knew how to tease out the “real” mother when two women came to him claiming the same baby. When his “solution” was to split the baby in half, thereby sharing it with both claimants, the “real” mother would be the one to do whatever it takes to keep the baby whole and well, even if it meant loss to her.

Tune in on Friday for Part 2: An Adoption Letter from Lori.

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Part 2: An Open Adoption Letter from a New Mom

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Author Lori Holden asks other parents about the benefits of open adoption over closed, domestic adoption. “The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole” (Rowman & Littlefield  2013) answers questions that benefit all prospective parents:

What are the benefits to those involved, and what are the costs?

And what are the biggest fears most families have about an open adoption?

Lori said, “In listening to people from all walks of adoption (adoptive parents, first parents, adult adoptees) while researching and writing my book, the prime fear I hear from adopting parents is that they’ll never be considered the ‘real’ parent. That they feel like as much distance as possible needs to be put between their newly-formed family and the not-so-convenient spare parent out there ready and wanting to rapaciously take over.

This fear is at the root of much dysfunctional thinking and acting in open adoption relationships. But though simple awareness of that fear, it can be examined and resolved, and this type of thinking is like splitting the baby. Remember that Solomon tale? The wise king knew how to tease out the ‘real” mother when two women came to him claiming the same baby. When his “solution” was to split the baby in half, thereby sharing it with both claimants, the “real’ mother would be the one to do whatever it takes to keep the baby whole and well, even if it meant loss to her.

Adoption creates a split between a child’s biology and biography. Openness is an effective way to heal that split. That’s the premise of my book. Your child’s biology comes from one set of parents and his biography gets written by another set. Both are important to that child. Both make that child who he is, who he will be.

Why not allow – encourage — children to do the same with multiple parents? Does loving my son take anything away from my daughter? That would be ridiculous. Likewise, enabling my children to love me for my contributions and their birth moms for their contributions takes away nothing from me.

“I’m so glad you asked about fear in adoption, Nicole.”

For I’m confident that even deeper than the fear that birth parents will reclaim the child they birthed and placed (which rarely happens in ethically-done adoptions) is the fear that the adopting parents will never themselves feel legitimate due to a competing claim on the child. That’s a fear that adopting parents can examine and resolve mindfully.”

Well said, Lori, I’m buying the book! Tell me your adoption story here:

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Adopted Kids Can Learn to Nurture Nature

Monday, November 5th, 2012

One of the sadder things I’ve learned from reading foster care family literature—in our family’s gradual search for a female toddler—is that many urban babies (who’ve been neglected or even abused) are anemic and don’t receive adequate Vitamin D because they’re never outside playing in a playground or sunbathing in a sand box.

As I searched for additional stats on domestic adoption and beginning the foster care process of adoption, I found this to celebrate:

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) joins the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) to set an unprecedented goal to get 10 million more kids to spend significant time outdoors over the next three years. Working together, they will combat the growing trend toward “lack of green time.”

Research shows children are spending long hours indoors using electronic media, yet they spend only mere minutes a day in unstructured outdoor play. This is affecting the health and well-being of children and is quickly causing a generation of kids who are becoming less healthy and who are disconnected from the natural world around them.

Local park and recreation agencies serve an essential role in preserving natural resources, providing open space and cultivating a connection to nature and the outdoors that can last a lifetime.

“We know that when children spend time outdoors they are more active and their overall well-being improves,” says Barbara Tulipane, President and CEO of NRPA. “Our nation’s parks and recreation areas are not just a solution for better health, but are the answer to inspiring a healthier generation of youth who appreciate and care for our open space lands and who will engage in environmental stewardship that will benefit our future.”

The 10 Million Kids Outdoors goal encourages kids to get outdoors and explore, play, and learn for 90 minutes per week. This outdoor time excludes time spent outdoors in organized sports, which while beneficial, does not provide children the same benefits as outdoor play in green spaces. By increasing outdoor time to 90 minutes per week, NRPA and NWF believe it will contribute to a significant increase in children’s connection to nature due in part to more time spent outdoors.

What rituals does your family do to play outside together?

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