Archive for the ‘ For Dads ’ Category

Making Inspiring Art for Adopted Kids

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Lisa Barbero an artist and avid reader of The Adoption Diaries here on sent me the map, at right. She said, “I’ve loved reading your blog. Your honest and heartfelt perspective on parenting and adoption are wonderful.

Just thought I’d drop a line to tell you about the art I make and how it’s begun to catch the eyes of many adoptive parents. I make custom skylines and country maps from all over the world. Parents have taken to commissioning me to make representations of their adopted countries otherwise obscure hometowns, especially those which may be in tucked away little villages in places like China or Eastern Europe.”

Recently Lisa was asked to create a large scale poster of Ethiopia [see at right] for a family adopting a son from there. I’m also currently working on South Korea and the Ukraine for other adoptive families who want to bring their new, adopted children into a home where their parents respect and recognize their own countries too. I think that’s an amazing and gracious idea!

Lisa said, “I am honored to get the opportunity to make these unique pieces of art, which can not only provide a special sentiment to the room of any child, but especially to those coming from other countries. The introduction of that special little boy or girl into their new home can be made that much more comfortable by seeing a familiar part of their former home on their nursery walls. So, I thought there must be many more children out there who could be helped in their adoption transitions as well.”

If you or yours are expecting a new foster child or an adopted kid into your home any time in the future, commission Lisa to create beautiful, vibrant art that will make them feel loved, welcomed and nurtured. Thanks for reading, Lisa, and stay in touch!

Tell me your own adoption story here.

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Sexual Abuse of Young Children in Foster Care

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Faithful reader of The Adoption Diaries, reader Amy was absolutely horrified by this post we ran last month about a new foster-adoptive single father who not only raped his three new adopted children (ages 9 – 13 boys and girls), but he prostituted the kids out to his friends as well. This article made many of you physically ill. Me too.

So Amy then did more digging for me on credible instances where older children in an adoptive (or foster) family do abuse the younger children in the home, whether those younger children are, in fact,  biological children or other, younger foster kids.

Amy said she found a research paper from 2003 about how up to half of all child abuse in foster care situations is performed by older kids who’ve seen far too much trouble in foster care. She said, “Up to 50 percent of those who sexually abuse children are under the age of 18 themselves.”

– Hunter, J.A., Figueredo, A., Malamuth, N.M., & Becker, J.V. (2003). Juvenile sex offenders: Toward the Development of a typology. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, (2003) Volume 15, No. 1.

When the Sexual Predator is Another Child

It is terrible that sex abuse at home occurred when an older new foster brother (a teenager) was brought into the foster parents home and he ended up sexually molesting their 9-year-old. Ugh. While it is commendable that a family would foster a 17-year-old male who lives with younger children (boys or girls), it raises questions too.

Amy said to me, “I have to wonder what they were thinking.  And, what was the private adoption agency thinking? Did they not know that a 9-year-old biological daughter was in that house?

This happens not only with a non-family foster placement, but also with bio-related children being placed with family members who have young children.  The most recent case I heard was of a 7 -year-old sexually assaulting his 5-year-old cousin.

Amy said, “I think that in the foster care system,  any foster parent, whether bio-related or not, should have an idea of the history of the child being placed and the potential risk. Some children should simply not be placed in a house with other children. And I think you need to be just as wary about older children who can gain access to children via the parents running an in-home daycare.”

Ditto, Amy, thanks for sharing on The Adoption Diaries. Does anyone know a great story about a healthy mixing of bio kids and foster children? I’d love to hear it!

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Throw a Happy Mother’s Day “Adoption” Party

Friday, May 11th, 2012

mothers day party Believe it or not, parents, but there are between 80,000 and 85,000 chemicals are in use in the environment in United States, yet only about 200 of these chemicals have been tested for safety. It can be overwhelming for new mothers, or newly adoptive mothers, to try to figure out what toxic chemicals they should be concerned about, where they might be lurking, and what the safe alternatives are.

The national nonprofit Women’s Voices for the Earth will launch their “Green Momma Party Guide” on May 11 to help new mothers “green” their house and reduce their infant or toddler’s exposure to toxics in conventional products. Instead of trying to tackle a green house detox by themselves, though, the Green Momma Party Guide makes it fun by giving tips and recipes. The recipes have been tested by real parents, and are verified by scientific experts to be great non-toxic alternatives to everyday offerings.

Green Momma Party Guide has everything busy moms need to host a great party:
·         Suggested party agenda
·         Discussion guide for the host to keep the conversation flowing
·         Room-by-room guide of hidden hazards and practical solutions
·         Non-Toxic shopping guide
·         No party is complete without clean food and drinks! Help your guests defend against toxins with smarter food choices.

Women’s Voices for the Earth believes that all baby products should be safe and non-toxic, which is why the kit also includes Five Take-Action Tips for Busy Mommas, including ways to influence corporations and the government leaders to help convince them to make products safer for everyone. Happy Mother’s Day to everyone, celebrate like crazy.

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Two Million Adopted Children in the United States on Earth Day

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Let’s celebrate upcoming Earth Day in style. There are roughly 1.5 million – 2 million adopted children in the United States right now, well over 2% of all U.S. children. But my research parameters change constantly, so by next month this might be outdated info.

The criteria on adoption changes dramatically per year, every time a new international law is passed, or when you consider that a major portion of domestic adoptions  occur when a new step-parents adopt their spouse’s kids. The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) gathered adoption totals from a variety of sources, and estimated that 126,951 children were adopted through international, foster care, private agency, independent and step-parent adoptions. NCSC estimated that stepparent adoptions accounted for 42% of all adoptions and foster care adoptions 15%.

When step-parents adopt, that totally skews research for me. If you marry someone and adopt their kids, it’s not like forging an international or domestic adoption journey with total stranger yourself. For the purposes of The Adoption Diaries, I’m always searching for the most updated statistics on domestic adoption, international adoption, and especially those families who adopt after age 40, which is most appropriate to our family’s situation. Over the last year or so, my husband, son Sam (bio son who is six years old) and I had contemplated both local fostering and international adoption. We’ve narrowed down an international Indian adoption perhaps next year.

I just came up on a pretty recent update on how many families in the USA are actively adopting within the last two years. The surge, in some cases, accounts for many single women trying to adopt solo for the first time, according to research by the Adoption Institute in a related study entitled, “The Number of Adoptions Have Fluctuated Over Time.”

For a variety of societal and economic reasons, there have been dramatic fluctuations in the annual number of adoptions. For instance, adoptions skyrocketed from a low of 50,000 in 1944 to a high of 175,000 in 1970.  Think about the difference two decades make… While there are reporting mechanisms for foster care and international adoptions, states are not legally required to record the number of private, domestic adoptions.

Another interesting stat I found on the Adoption Institute site is that nearly 60% of Americans have a personal connection to adoption in their own lives. That is so correct! Since I’ve been writing this column, for instance, I discovered quite by accident that no less than three of my pretty close friends were adopted!  The Adoption Institute’s Public Opinion Benchmark survey found that 58% of Americans know someone who has been adopted, has adopted a child or has relinquished a child for adoption.

And some stats I cannot even get my hands on yet have to do with Single-Parent Adoptions and Gay Parents Adoptions because so many gay parents cannot divulge their true sexual orientations when they choose to adopt. They check off the Single Parent box instead.  What do you think of single, gay parents adopting? I am all for it on The Adoption Diaries — are you?

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Domestic Adoption Postponed for Older Parents?

Monday, March 19th, 2012

If you’ve tuned in lately, you’ll know my family was deciding between a domestic adoption locally in Los Angeles (less expensive, less time to wait) versus pursuing an international adoption, more specifically an Indian daughter who’d likely be age 3-5. We’d have to wait approximately two years to meet her — that’s if we could cough up the initial $12,000 – $15,000 in agency fees, immigration paperwork, etc.

We go back and forth between the process and cons of domestic adoption versus international adoption and what we always come back to is: A needy child is a needy child.

Many Adoption Age-Related Laws
We were ruled out automatically from China, Thailand and other Asian countries when we started the adoption process. A strict compilation from several Chinese agencies state, “Both the husband and wife must be at least 30 years old and under age 50. If adopting a special needs child, both must be between the ages of 30 and 55.

Also from China, “Both the husband and wife must be physically and mentally fit and must not have any of the following conditions:

  • AIDS
  • Mental disability
  • Infectious disease that is actively contagious
  • Blind in one or both eyes or wearing a prosthetic eye
  • Hearing loss in both ears or loss of language function; those adopting children with hearing or language function loss are exempt if they have the same conditions
  • Non-function or dysfunction of limbs or trunk caused by impairment, incomplete limb, paralysis or deformation
  • Severe facial deformation
  • Severe diseases that require long-term treatment and that affect life expectancy, including malignant tumors, lupus, nephrosis, epilepsy
  • Major organ transplant within ten years;
  • Schizophrenia
  • Obesity

To pursue an international infant adoption, consider countries that are more flexible concerning the age of the adopting parents:Korean, India, some Latin American countries, Russia, and Bulgaria.

Adopters who are flexible in the age of the child they wish to adopt will receive a quicker placement. This means saying you’ll consider a “baby” up to age 2, a sibling group where one is very young, or can accept a child with a mild to moderate physical problem that can be corrected or helped considerably in the U.S. (If the child stays in the orphanage, her chance of receiving medical care is slim.)

Which adoption do you think we’re going to choose? Domestic vs. international? Tell me your happy adoption story here:

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