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For Moms ’ Category
Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
One of the first things you realize when you start filling out domestic adoption paperwork via foster care and the county — in our case Los Angeles County — you realize how many brothers and sisters must be separated during the domestic adoption process because it’s nearly impossible to take in two, three or even four siblings.
How can one adoptive family go through the foster-to-adopt plan with more than one child? If you’ve read this blog before, you know that I chicken out pretty quickly. When all you think your little family can handle is one foster toddler, but there’s the chance you’d get a child faster if you agree to foster her siblings, too.
This happens all the time. If me and my family (with husband and bio son Sam) agree to foster siblings we’d have a foster delivery far quicker than usual. I heard from reader Shell, who said she had to look deep inside her heart and soul before she began the adoption process for a sibling group.
Shell told me, “We are so very blessed. We adopted two different sibling groups of three children each. All of these kids are as close as any family I have met, and this also includes my eldest daughter who is my biological daughter.” Shell also said, “We loved a sibling group of three teens and then some years later, we were honored once again to receive three much littler ones.”
All of these foster children had horrific beginnings, though Shell declined to divulge the terrible symptoms and sexual abuse some of the children had experienced either in foster care or their own homes. But this she will admit for all six adopted children, including her own bio daughter, who is a spectacular older sister to the younger children still at home.
Looking back, Shell said, “With love all of these children turned into amazing human beings, surrounded by love, support and goodness. My eldest boy has even traveled to Uganda to help orphaned children there and another one of my adopted children went to Mexico [on a humanitarian trip]. Plus, our little ones now volunteer several days per month to help our homeless local community.
My littlest ones donate all their clothing, blankets and food to the needy. All of my teenagers have now graduated high school, and all have gone onto colleges. My three younger ones [from the last sibling adoption] are still home and they are loved beyond measure.”
Shell says that her family “is nothing special. Our story doesn’t make the news and I am certain there are many like us, but we are nothing sensational. I want to bring those [homeless or unloved] children home with me.”
I want to hear more adoption success stories like mama Shell’s. She told me, “Happy adoption stories are everywhere, unheard but real.”
Tell me your story here:
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Monday, September 24th, 2012
While my family is still considering an international adoption with an agency, we have not totally ruled out an open, domestic adoption… yet. We prefer going the international route — I like the thought that the bio parents will live far, far away — but I would be amenable to open adoptions too.
Adoption research by Deborah H. Siegel, Ph.D. and Susan Livingston Smith show how years of secretive, closed adoption information among prospective adoptive parents and children stigmatized everyone. Only 20 years ago, when adoption was shrouded in so much secrecy and stigma, that adoptive families knew nothing about each other or the child.
Our new reality today is that a large majority (well over two-thirds) of adoptive families will establish either a partial open adoption or a fully open adoption where birth families and adoptive families stay in touch through the years.
• “Closed” infant adoptions have shrunk to a tiny minority (about 5 percent), with 40 percent “mediated” and 55 percent “open.” Now, in fact, 95 percent of agencies offer open adoptions.
• In the overwhelming majority of infant adoptions, adoptive parents and expectant parents considering adoption meet, and the expectant parents pick the new family for their baby.
• Women who have placed their infants for adoption – and have ongoing contact with their children – report less grief, regret and worry, as well as more peace of mind.
“The good news is that adoption in our country is traveling a road toward greater openness and honesty,” said Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Adoption Institute. His recommendations include counseling and training for all the parents involved (expectant and adoptive), as well as post-placement services.”
Would you be agreeable to an open, domestic adoption where you might socialize with the kid’s bio family?
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Monday, September 17th, 2012
After receiving that disturbing message from Arin, I had to email back and help unfold the sad and heartbreaking story of a veteran foster mother who takes in too many children because she needs the money to live on. This foster mom grows tired of so many young and often emotionally abused kids in the house. Tempers flare. Arin felt bad even telling me some of the worst foster care experiences she has seen among the eight foster kids moving in (and out of) her aunt’s home during the last few years.
Arin asked me, “What’s bad or what’s the worst? She said, “Well my aunt has eight adopted children, young children, and she doesn’t even provide car seats with working seat belts for all those kids. That’s pretty bad, right? My aunt also gets a check to from the state of Arizona because she adopted several “un-adoptable children” but she is also abusive and very neglectful to them.”
Okay, here is worse foster mother behavior. “My aunt who fosters eight young children went out and bought herself a truck and makes them ride in the back though it has a camper over it the children are never belted in. My aunt makes one of them sleep on the floor in a bedroom with other big kids.” Arin and other members of the family have called family services in their state to beg for intervention on behalf of the abused children in the home.
As of last week, all children were still in the home of their foster mother. Arin also said, “Children protective agencies always interview the children in front of that monster and they are terrified. If they tell or complain, they believe they await a fate worse than death. To be taken away means facing unknowable dangers… So I feel horrible for her children.”
Arin told me some of the littlest kids sleep on the cold basement floor because [of the abuse they suffer from her] they wet the bed so they are “not worthy of a bed” in her eyes. This is all very sad.”
What can you do if you suspect local child abuse like this foster mama?
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Friday, September 14th, 2012
Three years ago, Michael Nash, Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles Juvenile Court, with the support of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, initiated the first ever “Family Reunification Week.”
The annual celebration recognizes the thousands of families that have complied with specific court requirements and safely reunited with their children.
There are three components to this year’s celebration: On Tuesday, September 11th, six family reunification “Heroes” were honored (a group of parents, social workers, and organizations that have done an exemplary job) for supporting the safe return of children to their homes and families and presented with a special scroll presentation by Chairman Yaroslavsky’s Children’s Deputy Lisa Mandel at the Hall of Administration.
The most emotional part of the program was undoubtedly hree families sharing their personal stories on how they reunited with their children. Parents in Partnership, a DCFS program that utilizes parents who have successfully navigated the Dependency Court system to reunify with their children and are now coaching other families on how to do the same, will discuss their successful program.
Later today, the media is invited to attend a press conference at Juvenile Court where reporters can witness a unique event, similar in format to National Adoption Day, as court officially terminates the cases of eight families whose parents have successfully reunified with their children. These eight families represent over 3,000 families that reunify with their children each year.
The system actually accomplishes that more often than not. Of the 25,000 plus children under our court’s jurisdiction today, almost 15,000 are either being safely maintained at home or are in a reunification plan with their families.
But here’s the rub: Would you be able to hand off a beloved foster care child back to biological parents who may have, at one time, neglected or abused their own children?
Not sure I could be that strong… Comment here.
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Monday, September 10th, 2012
Tomorrow night, NBC launches ”The New Normal” with Andrew Rannells and The Hangover’s Justin Bartha who portray a gay couple searching for a surrogate to carry their child.
The show has already created controversy among conservative groups who strongly believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman, and is calling for a boycott of the show.
Not me! I say, everyone should watch and applaud same-sex couples adoption children until there are no more abused, abandoned orphans in the world. How can you deny these kids a good home?
On the show, Bryan (Rannells) and David (Bartha) are a Los Angeles couple with successful careers and a committed, loving partnership. Like many of my LA friends.
There is one thing that this couple is missing: a baby. From the creators of Glee, enter Goldie, a woman with a checkered past and she decides to move to Hollywood with her eight-year-old daughter to escape a dead-end life and a small-minded grandmother (played by Ellen Barkin). Desperate, broke and fertile, Goldie quickly becomes the surrogate and quite possibly the girl of their dreams.
“If it were only this… easy,” said Fred Silberberg, a gay father of three. “It’s unfortunate that surrogacy will be the butt of jokes when many people who can’t have children here are going to places like India, where women are kept in what equates to a sweat shop to produce babies for profit. My hope is that this show brings the discussion to the forefront.”
Fred Silberberg is a California State Bar Certified Family Law Specialist. He added, “Many people who can’t have children are traveling [and adoption internationally] in places like India, where women are kept in what equates to a sweat shop to produce babies for profit.”
Silberberg is a well-published writer and contributor on family law issues and related social commentaries.
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