Archive for the ‘ Emotions Run Wild! ’ Category

Revisiting a Foster Mom with 30 Kids, 5 Adopted

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

domestic adoption foster careWhen we first published this story about an angel of a foster mom who has taken in 30 foster kids over the last few years, we got some great comments, everyone wanted to know what kind of big-hearted family takes in 30 kids.

The Foster mom who asked to be called “Mom of 9″ (only 9 at home now) said, “As a foster parent who has fostered and adopted five of them, I have experience with many kinds of abuse cases. It’s much more common than you think. Not only foster kids hurting biological kids, but foster siblings assaulting each other and even step-siblings assaulting each other. ”

Mom of 9 said that when it comes to sexual abuse in foster care, age is not a factor. She said, “We once had an 8-year-old boy placed with us that ended up being inappropriate towards our other sons. The county didn’t tell us until after he’d been in our home a few days that there was a risk of that because of what he’d been exposed to previously.”

Mom of 9 also said, “When someone adopts a child, the county is required by law to disclose their entire history of abuse but foster parents don’t get the same treatment; they are expected to take a child with only general information. We once had a six-year-old girl with us for three days  and the county didn’t tell us until three days later that she required an inhaler and an Epi-pen for emergencies. Her older sister finally mentioned it.”

She believes there should be stricter laws and legislation to protect and serve all children in foster care. What do you guys think?

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Happy Labor Day Wishes for all Adopted Kids

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Moms and dads endure plenty of stress between work, keeping up with the family obligations, not to mention the anxiety of adoption, filling out all those forms, the huge financial burden, and then also the simple waiting and waiting for your beloved child who is growing older in a home or orphanage somewhere. You cannot kiss them good night or hold them when they get a cut or scrape.

Waiting to just make an adoption decision (domestic versus international, for instance) gets nerve-wracking. Take it from me.

Could this tumultuous waiting/hoping and false starting be bad for your health?

New research says, “Yes.” Mental stress can be more damaging to a woman’s heart than her male counterpart. But local cardiologists say learning how to cope will ensure mom is around to celebrate many more mother’s days to come.

Studies show coping with mental pressures and anxiety may be more taxing on the heart health of women.

The study, presented at a recent annual Experimental Biology meeting, showed men and women given the same stressful math problem all had an increase in blood pressure and heart rate while solving it. Normally, when heart rate and blood pressure rise, blood flow to the heart muscle increases so it can compensate. However, findings showed while the mens’ heart increased blood flow, the womens’ heart did not.

With many mothers overextending themselves, local cardiologists say stress management is a key factor in maintaining a healthy heart. “Stress reduction is important for everyone. This study suggests women especially need to monitor their stress to avoid heart problems. And, women who have heart-related symptoms while under stress, need to tell their doctor right away,” says Jeffrey Rothfeld M.D., F.A.C.C., a cardiologist at Bradenton Cardiology Center.

Studies of heart attack patients found that 15 to 30 percent of those admitted to a medical center had suffered from severe emotional stress. Below are some common triggers that can affect mothers at all stages of adoption and child-rearing:

As we celebrate a long weekend with our families, take the time to de-stress and take a day off of worrying about your adoption journey.

My family and I decided to take the summer off and re-think our adoption journey, because our finances are so tight we really cannot afford to adopt internationally any longer. We are in the middle of a long road to international and money has officially begun to run out.

As you enter or move through the world of adoption do you get totally stressed out like me? Tell me about it in Comments below.

 

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Why Does Adoption Take So Long?

Monday, July 30th, 2012

After 12 months of personalized research between international adoption (more specifically, a young daughter from India) and doing all my research, I find that the average the time it takes to adopt a toddler via international adoption from the countries we looked at (Haiti, Russia and India) is two years. On the other hand, I now know families that have registered with the county — in these cases Los Angeles Country — taken all their training hours and been placed on foster-to-adopt lists in under a year.

Waiting less than a year for an adoption is more like it.

Has anyone out there been able to speed up the international adoption process? I realize that it’s quicker to adopt an Indian daughter if you are Indian and live nearly anywhere. It also helps to possess wads of adoption cash.

Domestically, I spoke to a single dad of two adopted American children and although he won’t go on the record (he is a gay dad who had to lie about his partner throughout the Home Study and adoption paperwork) this gay did swears that the second adoption only took a few months because everyone knew he was ready to plunk down $80,000 for a perfect little blond, Caucasian newborn.

(Off the record, this dad told me that his first adoption of a transracial child — also a private adoption via birth mother and attorneys — took much longer than adoption number two. He confirms that thick bank accounts can speed your process along.)

Over the last decade, U.S. families have adopted on average approximately 20,000 children from foreign nations each year.

Generally speaking, to qualify as an adoption for immigration purposes, the adopted child has the same rights and privileges as a child by birth (such as inheritance rights, etc.). “Simple”, “conditional”, or “limited” adoptions are more accurately described as guardianship and are not considered adoptions for U.S. immigration purposes.

The Hague Convention establishes important standards and safeguards to protect intercountry adoptions. These protections apply to you if you choose to adopt from a country that is also party to the Convention. Your adoption will be known as a Convention Adoption. It will be important early on to determine if you wish to pursue a Convention adoption, and you do, trust me you do.

How long should it honestly take to adopt a child in need? Tell me what you think here:

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Adoption Penalty for Giving an Abused Child Back. Fair?

Monday, June 11th, 2012

international adoption, sexual abuse child abuseTwo different international adoption follow-up stories continue to intrigue me, and I’d love to start the conversation for prospective parents of international children.

In 2010, when a single Tennesee mother returned her newly adopted Russian son, she had her reasons and was misled by an international adoption agency about the mental fitness of her child. After waiting years and begin trained in foster care and falling in love with a child from afar, and paying big bucks, you better know something was drastically wrong with that boy.

Courts are deciding if this adoptive mother should pay the boy child support until he turns 18. The thin pale boy presently lives in a group home and is reportedly doing well. I think that mom was misled and that the international agency should pay heartily.

Why do some international adoptions fail?

Here is the second story of international adoption, which both intrigues me for the vaguest of details. And yet it makes me so sad for the adoptive author mom and her two kids from Ethiopia, who all had such high hopes of international adoption of teenagers, which is difficult to begin with, and many teen adoptees have suffered great abuse.

At the age of 56, novelist Joyce Maynard adopted two Ethiopian girls, ages 6 and 11, whose mother had died from an AIDS-related illness. Maynard supposedly planed on writing about the adoption and their international travels together. Pretty cool.

Less than a year later, however, Maynard found another American family to take over the care and feeding of the sisters. She recently updated her fascinating blog, and I commend the artist on her ballsy honesty through a potentially torturous situation for all. I totally understand her, and sympathize with the situation.

Do you?

Last month Maynard wrote a letter to her followers explaining her long absence. In that email, she acknowledged that “there was no shortage of love or care—and despite some very happy and good times—the adoption failed.”

Tell me your adoption story here.

 

 

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Helping Adopted Kids Be Happy and Secure

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

As most of you know, my family has finally narrowed down our adoption journey to either looking into a less expensive domestic adoption here through Los Angeles County, becoming foster parents to a multi-racial toddler in need, and waiting less time to adopt. Our other option — our clear preference — is an international adoption with a fantastic Indian Agency in India, where we’ll have to put down $15,000 to simply start the Home Study process rolling. We’d then need another $20,000 to keep that adoption ball rolling and we’d still have to wait years to bring her home anyway.

Here’s the cold, hard truth:  If we had an extra $50,000 lying around, we’d already have a foster daughter in our home. Sometimes that fact kills me but the better, more yogic side of my mommyhood says that all things happen for a reason, that our delay is just part of the adoption journey and maybe we are supposed to wait for a baby. (In a few years she won’t be a baby anymore, that factoid kills me too.)

So while my family waits and waits, fills out some paperwork and keep blaming each other for not saving enough money, not making enough money (blah blah blah I am sick of us already), we forget one thing: Waiting for a kid is not even half the battle. What happens when we finally can adopt either a foster child with some problems (ie: fetal alcohol syndrome, for instance) or maybe even wait for a little Indian girl who is special needs or has been sitting in a sterile Indian orphanage for five years getting less attached, less happy…

Once we have a kid, how do we keep her happy after such a hard start in life?

Author Maureen Healy, an emotional health and parenting expert, says in “Growing Happy Kids: How to Foster Inner Confidence, Success, and Happiness (HCI Books)” there are a few things every prospective parents can do:

  • Build Confidence Daily (even for 5 minutes): The everyday things we do with our children that help them feel stronger, and happier no matter if they’ve been adopted or in process.
  • Get Them Moving: Children need to move their bodies and get their energy released in a healthy way. Because physical activity, eating right, and a good night’s rest are the biological basis of your child’s emerging sense of self-confidence.
  • Get Inspired: Do something inspiring together whether it is going to see magnificent waterfalls, flying a new kite on the beach or learning hula-hooping. By doing something that lights your child up, they learn how to build a new skill and you’ll see their confidence soar.
  • Create an Uplifting Space: Decorate your child’s space so they see happy photos of themselves, their awards displayed, goals (or vision board) hung up and they have their favorite things all around them.

Tell me what you do while waiting for your new adopted family member!

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