Archive for the ‘ Rules and Regulations ’ Category

International India Adoption Takes 2 Years — Worth It!

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Part 2: Denise Imbesi finally traveled to an orphanage outside Delhi this past summer to finalize adoption proceedings for her 4-year-old daughter Jaya who she had never met or even spoken to — the match was done via photograph!

When Denise walked into the clean and orderly orphanage, she saw over 50 kids crammed into one huge room with everything they own in one small box. Her new daughter was finally led out, looked scared and wearing too-tight clothes and dirty shoes. Jaya was in shock and frightened, she was petrified but she warmed up quickly and she began saying “mama” and she fell asleep in Denise’s arms within 15 minutes of  holding her for the first time.

Denise said, “We found out the hard way Jaya was never potty trained and she began crying, India was overwhelming for her. Jaya was carsick, she’d never been in a car before. The trip home was trying for her but her life is better than it ever could be.

Now it’s been 7 months she came to Florida and Jaya only speaks English! Denise said, “For two months it was difficult but we stuck it out and I had a lot of patience and love for her. We  hugged continuously  for literally months and she always knew she was loved very much.”

Denise said, “My daughter is loving, smart, so happy and amazing. This kid does not cry. She is very healthy and animated and social.”

The new mom also said, “Jaya has been in pre-K since September and she loves it — already has best friends. She is learning the language and how to thrive in the USA. Denise said, “Our food did not agree with her to digestive system and her foundation for nutrition is still beans and Indian lentils, but she tries other food. We go to Indian restaurants each week and she feels immediately at home with the cuisine.

Now I cannot imagine my life without her. Biggest surprise about motherhood? How much time it takes to put her to bed and maintaining the ultra-consistency of her life so she stays calm. We are very happy and loving with her at all times, calm and patient.

ADVICE: These kids need a home and desperately need parental love. Jaya is very bright and happy. I did the best thing! She is mine 100% since this started; I feel like I gave birth to her and I cannot love her more.”

Denise Imbesi is the Founder, CEO and visionary behind the fitness music brand Muscle Mixes Music. Denise co-parents Jaya with her partner of 4 years, Sara Barone and live in Orlando, Florida. Tell me your adoption story here!


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Part 1: International Indian Adoption Takes 2 Long Years

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

My friend Denise Imbesi began thinking about and then preparing for an international adoption nearly four years ago! She was single (at the time) and always wanted to be a mom. She is also a successful business owner and funded the nearly $20,000 ($10,000 plunked down to start).

She also highly recommends her Indian Agency/ IFS India Family Services because they ushered her painlessly through the process for two years!

She said, “They expained costs and paperwork along the way, and, yes, it felt like a big chunk of change to lay out with nothing to show for it for the first year or so, but the end product is worth it”

Denise went to India July 4th to pick up her 4-year-old daughter who she’s been trying to adopt for 2 years. She spent one week in India finalizing immigration, visa, etc. Denise said, “I was a nervous wreck and began crying the second I walked into the orphanage outside of Delhi. It was a beautiful building, clean and neat, with Mickey Mouse on the walls. There were 50+ orphans sleeping and living in one huge room, most of them girls under four. That was pretty sad because they had no parents but all seemed well-tended.

Jaya, 4 years old, looked so scared and she was wearing too-tight clothes and dirty shoes. She was in shock and frightened, she was petrified but she warmed up quickly and she began saying “mama” pretty quickly, and she fell asleep in Denise’s arms within 15 minutes of me holding her for the first time.”

“We stayed with our Indian liaison who told us everything to do to make her feel better. I toured her room of 50 beds lined up and some were cribs and some were obviously special needs kids, India’s special needs kids among the healthiest ones.

All the little kids were praying and saying ‘Namaste,’ and then the following day we took her through legal proceedings, filed final papers and took her to the hotel. Jaya spoke only Hindi and communication was difficult for the first few days. Lots of gesturing.”

Denise and her partner Sara found out the hard way that Jaya at 4 was never potty trained and she began crying as they left the only home she’d ever known. “Jaya was carsick, she’d never been in a car before. The trip home was trying for her but her life is better than it ever could ever be in India.”

Photo above: The first moment adoptive mother Denise (in white at right) met her new daughter, Jaya!

Tune in on Friday when Denise realizes that Jaya does not speak a single work of English!

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Part 1: Military Mom Faces Infertility and then Adoption

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

I asked you, The Adoption Diaries readers, for a feel-good adoption story if you’ve been considering adoption. I wanted to know how long it took — once you knew you were not going to get pregnant — to consider adoption after grieving.

Jessica’s story below is amazing! Stay tuned for Friday when she gives us Part 2!

Jessica, 28, and her husband Greg, 34, live in Phoenix, Ariz. “It took us four years and four  months to decide to adopt. After my fourth and last miscarriage in February of 2009, I was ready to pursue adoption, but my husband was not. He was not sure he could love a child who was not biologically his,” said Jessica.

“In November of 2009, after five rounds of Clomid, I finally broke down and told my husband I couldn’t take it anymore. I missed the girl he married… I felt like a robot trying to get pregnant month after month, year after year. I could tell Greg was torn. He really wanted a biological child, but he also couldn’t stand seeing me in pain. I’m very blessed to have a husband who loves me dearly.”

Greg was always very supportive  and even Jessica’s parents and in-laws were there to nurture and support the couple. “I knew deep in my heart that God’s plan wasn’t for me to conceive. I knew that I was going to be a mother and I knew my husband was going to be a father, but I knew I wasn’t going to get pregnant.”

Jessica said, “I spent many years as a nanny and many of the families I nannied for had adopted children in their families. I never put the two together but I think God was preparing my heart for adoption long before I even knew my husband.”

They began the adoption process in November of 2009 and began a home study with social workers immediately.

“And then my husband received long-awaited word that he was accepted into the army! We were never sure if he would be accepted because he injured his knee a few years back. It took many months for us to know if he would be accepted and by or not.”

By March, Greg was officially property of the United States Government and all adoption paperwork was put on hold! “Our social worker explained that the high rate of divorce during deployments was astronomical, and she thought the process would not be fair to an adoptee. We were crushed,” said Jessica. But the couple refused to give up on domestic adoption. They started looking for a more supportive agency.

Stay tuned on Friday for the happy ending!

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Sexual Abuse Common in Foster Care

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

After reading a horrid news story about an 11-year-old Philadelphia girl who was repeatedly raped by an older foster brother, I began scouring records and state governmental agencies to glean stats on sexual abuse in foster homes across the country.

The most recent clinical studies I found were from 2005 — but many national adoption experts say that young kids are in jeopardy all over America  when they are placed in foster care. My family is seriously considering adopting a foster daughter through Los Angeles County in the future (for those of you just tuning in) and so this subject affects me deeply.

This in from adoption blogger Sharon: “Most of the girls that I deal with have been raped and molested in the foster homes that they were in,” said independent child advocate and blogger Sharon McGinley. An advocate for kids aging out of foster care, she says the system is broken, and that the people from group homes and kids caught in foster care situations are afraid that reporting this level of widespread sexual abuse in foster homes would jeopardize their federal funding.

If that’s not bad enough, early abuses may harm the overall health of that woman for the rest of her life: Women who were repeatedly sexually abused as girls have a 62 percent higher risk of heart problems  later in life compared with women who were not abused, U.S. researchers said on Sunday at the American Heart Association symposium.

Compared to women who weren’t molested or raped as children or teens, women who reported:

* Repeated episodes of forced sex in childhood or adolescence had a 62 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease as adults.
* Severe physical abuse in childhood or adolescence was associated with a 45 percent increased risk of cardiovascular events.

“The single biggest factor explaining the link between severe child abuse and adult cardiovascular disease was the tendency of abused girls to have gained more weight throughout adolescence and into adulthood,” said Janet Rich-Edwards, Sc.D., M.P.H., lead author of the study.

The team analyzed data from a study of more than 67,000 nurses. Nine percent of these women had reported severe physical abuse and 11 percent reported being raped in their childhood or adolescence.The team found that repeated episodes of forced sex in childhood or adolescence translated into a 62 percent higher risk of heart attacks and strokes later in life. Much of the increased risk was related to coping strategies such as overeating alcoholism and drug abuse.

Physical abuse also took a toll. Women who had been beaten in their youth had a 45 percent higher risk of heart trouble. Mild to moderate physical or sexual abuse was not associated with increased risk.

Stay tuned for more indignation!

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I Don’t Much Like Kids, Except My Own

Friday, October 21st, 2011

I know,  funny statement coming from this prolific mom blogger but honestly, until the moment I became pregnant, I didn’t really understand or appreciate these little personalities, all innocence and sweetness in those first few months. One of the things that makes me a vocal mom blogger and advocate for adoption and foster care is that I have a million questions about the process, and I am extremely outspoken.

I am only an expert on one child, and he is mine, his name is Sam. I felt protective and filled to the brim with love  from the moment he latched onto my right breast (I remember that moment because it became his favorite boob for the next two years of breast-feeding). But just because I love babies — they almost smell better than puppies! — does not mean I like them very much or have become any kind of expert on kids. Far from it in fact.And the older Sam gets, he just turned 5, well, the less I sort of like him.

Five-year-olds can be cruel and overly opinionated. I liked him better at 2, quite honestly, when I was a goddess and could do no wrong.

I live in Los Angeles, and just joined the PTA here in Studio City since Sam entered kindergarten. And now I am surrounded by these 5-year-olds (and older kids who seem smellier and meaner somehow) and I can’t seem to like them any more than I did before… and now I actually have one. But here’s the point of the post about not liking kids very much.

Just because I don’t care for children doesn’t mean I don’t want them to enjoy every chance to excel in life. During Sam’s first week of school, LAUSD, the Los Angeles Dept of Education, cut every librarian’s salary and fired the majority. Suddenly, all of our kids cannot go to the library. No books to help them with homework, reports and reading.

So now all of the parents in the PTA at Carpenter Charter in Studio City, Calif. have wholeheartedly pitched in and we volunteer up to three hours once or twice a week to keep the library open, check in/out books, help them search for books and basically be the librarian.

And who do you think is helping every Monday afternoon, surrounded by pushy, smelly, nosy mean kids? Yes, that would be me! Call me librarian Nicole. Me, and about 50 kids per hour. Last night I came home and guzzled two glasses of vino at because I was so happy to be out of there.

I still don’t much like children, except my own. But I think every kid in every city deserves an hour or two in the library each week. Do you?

If you like kids more than me (and nearly everyone does), write me a story about your adoption or foster child.

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