Archive for the ‘ Rules and Regulations ’ Category

Part 2: Mom Blogger Adopts Child at 44

Friday, April 13th, 2012

If you tuned in on Wednesday, you met ballsy blogger Andrea Fox [at right] from Boston who began her adoption journey with the love of her life husband Bill. She wrote to us, “I didn’t meet the man I was supposed to marry until late in life. I consider myself quite a traditionalist, so I didn’t want to have children until I got married – to the right guy.

I found the right guy – Bill – when I was 41 and we got married exactly one year after we met. Having both come from large families, we wanted our children to be surrounded by siblings. Cognizant of our age, we realized that it might not be possible to achieve this biologically, so we planned on growing our family both biologically and through adoption,” Andrea told me.

When the couple visited fertility specialist, they were given a less than 1% chance of success, so they dove headfirst into international adoption instead! She said, “Two weeks after we got the news, I feverishly plunged right into adoption paperwork. We signed up with an international adoption agency, had our dossier completed in two months, and one month later we got the call that we had been matched.

We were ecstatic, yet on the way to the agency the following day, I broke down and sobbed uncontrollably, and didn’t stop for one week before realizing that I just wasn’t ready to adopt. With the help of the adoption agency, I found an adoption/infertility counselor who helped me to see that I hadn’t given myself a chance to grieve my infertility. After an agonizing decision-making process Bill and I decided to withdraw from our international adoption. Even though I was faced with yet another year or so of postponing motherhood, we all knew it was the right thing to do for everyone involved.

Bill and I gave ourselves several months to adjust to the fact that we would not become biological parents. We took mini-trips, had family gatherings and did some renovations on our house, all the while attending infertility counseling.

When we both felt ready to start adoption again, it took just five months from signing with a domestic adoption agency to getting the call that would change our lives forever. A birth mother and a baby were waiting for us to meet them seven states away. Cricket was born several weeks early and weighed a slight two pounds, three ounces. Her birth mother and I bonded instantly, talking effortless on the phone during the 15-hour drive. By the time we met in the lobby of the hospital we felt like we knew each other already,” Andrea told us.

On Sunday, March 9 2008 at 8:20 pm,  Andrea held daughter “Cricket” for the first time.

Andrea said, “Cricket’s birth mother led us to her crib in the Neo-Natal Progressive Care Unit. She noticed that I was hesitant to pick her up, so she picked up Cricket, told me to sit down and placed her in my arms, taking the very first picture of us as a family.  As I looked down into my daughter’s eyes, a myriad of emotions washed over me, none of which included regret at having waited so long to become a mom. The only thing that was important in my life was loving and protecting this beautiful, fragile, tiny child.”

Hurray, thanks for sharing your beautiful and inspiring of international adoption, mom blogger Andrea Fox. Read all about it on her site, and keep those stories coming to me!

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Sexting is a National Concern for Tweens, Teens and Parents

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Does your Tween or Teen sext? Prospective parents, potential adoptive parents have to be especially careful about this necause so many older children in the foster care system are already aware of their sexuality. A new National Poll on children’s health ] measures public opinion about legislation addressing teens who send sexually explicit messages.

Sexting – sending sexually explicit, nude, or semi-nude photos by cell phone – has become a national concern, especially when it involves children and teens. A new poll shows that the vast majority of adults do not support legal consequences for teens who sext. Seventeen states have already enacted laws to address youth sexting and another 13 states have pending legislation in 2012 that focuses on sexting.

The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health recently asked adults across the United States for their opinions about youth sexting and sexting legislation. The poll found that the vast majority, 81 percent, of adults think an educational program or counseling is an appropriate consequence for teens who sext. Most adults also favor similar non-criminal programs: 76 percent of adults think schools should give all students and parents information on sexting, and 75 percent of adults support requiring community service for sexting teens.

In contrast, most adults do not favor legal consequences for minors who sext other minors. About one-half, 44 percent, support fines less than $500 for youth sexting, while 20 percent or fewer think that sexting should be treated as a sex crime, or that teens who sext should be prosecuted under sexual abuse laws.

As youth sexting has become more of a national concern, many states have acted to address the issue. However, before this poll, very little was known about what the public thinks about sexting legislation,” says Matthew M. Davis M.D., M.A.P.P., Director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, Associate Professor in the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the U-M Medical School.

“This poll indicates that, while many adults are concerned about sexting among children and teenagers, they strongly favor educational programs, counseling, and community service rather than penalties through the legal system,” says Davis.

The poll also asked adults who they think should play a role in addressing the problem of youth sexting. Almost all adults, 93 percent, believe parents should have a major role. Many adults also believe that teens themselves, 71 percent, and schools, 52 percent, should have a major role in addressing youth sexting.

Do you have experience with sexting in your family? Read the fascinating study here, and then tell me your happy or inspiring adoption story here!

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Part 1: Mom Chooses Open Adoptions for Transracial Daughters

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Rachel Garlinghouse certainly got my instant attention! She wrote, “Now we are the parents of two African-American girls. Ellis is age 3, Emery age 1, and we will adopt again, either domestic infant adoption or through foster care.”

Rachel, 29, and her husband Steve, 33, are Illinois natives and they chose “fully open adoptions” Twice! This means both families communicate regularly, exchange photos and spend quality time throughout the year.

“Steve and I also speak at adoption training sessions and I facilitate an adoptive mom support group,” said Rachel.

I knew in a moment that this high-energy mom had a good story!

Rachel said, “We chose fully open adoption because adoption isn’t about the adoptive parents. Plus, adoption agencies cater to open adoptions and realize that the person making the ultimate sacrifice is the biological parent [who might wish to maintain contact.] Adoption isn’t about what makes me happy and comfortable, it’s about what is best for my child.”

As an adoptive parent, I had to get over myself, Rachel said.

“If my child’s biological parent(s) and siblings want regular contact, who am I to say no? ”

Rachel and Steve waited an excruciating 14 months for their first child. She knows why! “For the first year, we were only open to a white, healthy child. However, we did a lot of reading and we spoke with transracial families, and we talked and we prayed. We ultimately decided that we would be great parents to a child of any race.”

Come back on Friday when we meet both of Rachel’s gorgeous daughters.

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Part 2: Successful International Adoption from Ethiopia!

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

On Wednesday, Marni and Joe from Philadelphia told us how they adopted Remy in Ethiopia, and how it took about two years too long.

Marni and Joe had spent some time in Africa and always felt an emotional tie to that continent, and that swayed their decision to adopt their daughter from Ethiopia.

After 26 months of immigration paperwork, home study, check written, Marni said the family got to meet her once briefly. “The most challenging time was after our file was submitted to the US Embassy for final approval and clearance,” Marni said. “We had already met and fallen in love with Remy on our first trip to Ethiopia, and she was deemed to be our daughter through the court system and government of Ethiopia.

The final clearance process included some obstacles and extra steps and bigger hurdles, which was extremely frustrating: We felt like we were being kept apart from our daughter!

“We  missed the entire first year of our daughter’s  life. No fair.”

International Adoption: Missing Your Child’s Childhood

Marni said, “A few weeks or months doesn’t seem like much in the grand scheme of time, but we missed the first year of our daughter’s life, and we were very anxious to have her home with us.

We felt very helpless during the final weeks before clearance, and we hope that the process is streamlined so that adoptions can move along as ethically and smoothly as possible and the orphaned children of Ethiopia can get the wonderful homes they all deserve.”

Elijah had to wait over two years to meet his own sister! She said of her daughter, “Remy is so sweet and easygoing; we are lucky that she has been so patient with her big brother during his transition from being an only child.

We have our new family traditions and routines, like reading in bed together in the morning and taking the dog out for walks, which helped form the bond. We love that our kids will always have another little person to play with.”

Thanks for sharing Marni.

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International Adoption: Understanding the Hague Convention

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

The Hague Convention on Protection of Children is a set of internationally agreed-upon ethical standards for countries involved in international adoption.

These standards are designed to protect children, birth parents and adoptive parents, and to prevent child trafficking and other abuses.  Hague Convention countries must adhere to the rigorous Hague Convention standards, and any adoption agency wishing to facilitate an adoption through two countries must sign the Treaty and be accredited.

The Hague Convention for Inter-country Adoption was enacted in the United States in April 2008. To date, 75 countries have joined and follow a stricter set of guidelines than countries that are not operating under Hague. Hague countries are active in preventing child trafficking and abduction. They also make all efforts to find a family within their own country and culture before deeming a child eligible for inter-country adoption.

There are countries that have not signed on to be party to the Hague Convention and are considered non-Convention countries. It is possible to adopt from these countries, but choose a recommended agency who is licensed and operating under the highest standards.

A way to do this is to choose an agency that holds Hague Accredited/Approved which means:

  • The agency makes sure that they are ethically and morally operating in the best interest of the children involved with adoption.
  • The agency makes sure that there is no involvement in child trafficking, abduction, child exploitation, or the unethical “sale” of children.

The Department of State issues Adoption Alerts to caution American citizens about adopting from a certain country. Adoption Alerts may notify that a country has suspended adoptions or that the United States cannot process adoptions from that country. They may also inform prospective adoptive parents and adoption service providers about countries not compliant with the Hague Adoption Conventions.

For a list of countries that have ratified the Hague Convention click here, see the US Department of State site, and for a list of Hague Convention Countries. At this point in our journey, my family will only work with Hague Accredited countries.

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