Archive for the ‘ Formidable Costs ’ Category

100 Adopted Kids Find New Homes this Thanksgiving Season

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

domestic adoption thanksgvingCurrently, there are 56,138 children in foster care in California with 13,394 children waiting for adoptive families.

Children’s Bureau has a highly-regarded foster care and adoption program that helps more than 500 foster children find safe, nurturing homes and facilitates more than 100 foster-to-adoptions each year. They are the good guys!

Their programs help children newborn to 18 years of age. Homes are needed for infants, sibling sets of brothers and sisters, older children and children of all ethnicities, especially African American children. Our foster and adoptive parents are given the support, resources and tools they need to help these fragile children to trust, love and feel much more confident about their place in the world.

Wyatt Lemaster was a newly adopted fifth grader who kept looking around in wonder, according to local Los Angeles news reports. “It means never getting taken away again,” the fifth-grader said softly during a  moment of reflection at the the fifth-floor reception area of the Edmund D. Edleman Children’s Courthouse last week.

Adopted Families Give Thanks This Year

As we wait for another child, most likely a foster child like one of the kids here, we give thanks at home for all that we already have. Such abundance.

Take a few moments to revel in gratitude for all of the joys you have, for the way your body moves, for love and family and the sunshine in your life. Happy Thanksgiving holidays, and tell me your adoption story here:

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Celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Celebrations were  kicked off with a Presidential Proclamation, and while efforts made at the national level certainly help build awareness of adoption, participation in local programs, events, and activities by those of us with a direct connection to adoption can often be the most effective way to promote positive perceptions, debunk the myths, and draw attention to the tens of thousands of children in foster care who wait and hope for permanent families.

How to find adoption celebrations: Promoting awareness can be done through planned events and campaigns, gatherings and celebrations, and simple everyday activities. These are all opportunities to educate ourselves and others about adoption and about issues surrounding adoption. Even one family for one child is a success.

During the rest of the month, states, communities, public and private organizations, businesses, families, and individuals celebrate adoption as a positive way to build families. Across the nation, activities and observances such as recognition dinners, public awareness and recruitment campaigns, and special events spotlight the needs of children who need permanent families. (It also includes National Adoption Day, traditionally a Saturday, which is observed in courthouses across the nation as thousands of adoptions are finalized simultaneously. It has also become a popular time to hold adoption fairs and conferences, plan political action events, and more.

At the very least, regardless of how far along you are on your down adoption journey, support and celebrate all of those kids waiting for their permanent homes.

One small thing all prospective adoptive parents can learn, me included, is try to use  more positive adoption language. Using a healthier spin (avoid using emotional language, ie: “being put up for adoption” rather than having an adoption plan. By using positive adoption language, you’ll reflect the true nature of adoption, free of stereotypes.

What else will you do to celebrate National Adoption Month? What can you do to help?

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To Honor International Adoption Month: Fight Malnutrition

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

My family is considering international adoption in India. It’s been a real rollercoaster simply narrowing down the nations and the age of our future kid.

All of our adoption reading material — so much adoption homework if you do it right — discusses a condition called “Failure to Thrive,” a common nutrition-related health condition found among many internationally adopted orphans, which may impact their growth and brain development.

Foster children are also at higher risk for nutrient deficiencies, including anemia. One common denominator among all children who fail to thrive is poverty. Here are the symptoms of poverty and maternal wellness when considering international adoption as we are here in the Straff household:

  • Inadequate prenatal diet or vitamins
  • Infants with very low birth weight
  • Inadequate breastfeeding
  • Nursed with animal milk products instead of fortified formula
  • Premature solid food in the infant’s diet
  • Inadequate exposure to sunlight, which inhibits vitamin D production

One small way to fight malnutrition worldwide is to buy a cookbook from one of the largest and oldest International Adoption agencies who published  “Cooking With Our Kids” where monies will go directly to Indian orphanages.

If you’re a bigger thinker: $20 million in new grants was recently donated from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to growing nutritionally enhanced rice and cassava in order to decrease malnourishment across Asia and Africa.

The grants will help in the development, testing and marketing of Golden Rice, which is fortified with vitamin A, in the Philippines and Bangladesh, and BioCassava Plus, a tuber fortified with vitamin A, iron and protein in Kenya and Nigeria.

Celebrate National Adoption Month with me; tell me another wonderful way to celebrate National Adoption (and International) Adoption Day.

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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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We Want to Adopt an International Indian Toddler

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

In a previous post, I was honest enough to admit that if my family moved forward with this toddler daughter from India — after slogging through adoption paperwork and finances for two years — both my husband and I would prefer a physically pretty child with no developmental problems.

Reader Tee commented, “Do you really think that your Indian daughter wouldn’t be reminded of her not “belonging to (you) and (you) alone” every time she looks at her brown skin or wonders who her birth parents are and why she was adopted and what the land of her birth was like? There is no such thing as adopting a child who is “yours and only yours.”

This is a harmful myth that continues to be perpetuated by a subset of adoptive parents and the adoption industry. Adoption is not a fertility treatment…  You don’t just “get” a baby who has no issues and is yours and yours alone.

You enter a complex web that involves at least one other mother and father who will always be with your child spiritually and emotionally, if not physically. In some cases there are other mothers and fathers, too (such as cases where a child is adopted after being in foster care or attached to their orphanage caretakers).

In many cases there are physical and mental health issues relating to the child’s lack of prenatal care or early life in an orphanage. If you cannot accept being part of this complex web, I think it’s fair to say it would be very hard for you to help your adopted child learn to love and understand themselves and their history. Don’t think that I don’t understand the desire to have a “no strings attached” baby — I do! As a foster-adoptive parent I sure do fantasize about having a child of my own who I never had to “share” with a dysfunctional child welfare system and the birth family most foster children are very loyal to (no matter how abusive or neglectful).

I do empathize with the feeling behind this. What I don’t empathize with is actually taking action to adopt while holding as an ideal the “perfect” adoptee who will be grateful for being “rescued” but will never remind you that she is, in fact, a person with an identity that is different from yours and which likely includes her first family. A number of my friends who are international adoptees have found their birth families (despite “closed” international adoptions).

Don’t think for a second that in the age of the internet they will be forever severed from their birth family. A number who have adoptive parents who are threatened by their desire to know/find their birth families (such as your husband) have also stopped or limited contact with their adoptive families once they reached adulthood, out of resentment and pain. Think seriously about whether adoption is the right path for you and your husband.

I wish you much luck,” Tee finished.

Tell me your adoption story below in Comments, thank you Tee for responding as a veteran foster mother.

 

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