Archive for the ‘ The Adoption Diaries ’ Category

Good News: International Adoption Festivities

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

adopting and older child Over the last ten years, American families have opened their hearts and homes to more than 200,000 children from other countries.

At the start of National Adoption Month, last month, Secretary of State Clinton said:

“They have given vulnerable children the opportunity to thrive.  Families who adopt are enriched by the love of their new children, and the heritage they bring from their birth countries. This November, we celebrate National Adoption Month and join with groups across the nation to recognize these special families. The State Department is committed to safeguarding the interests of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents worldwide.”

Then I found this great adoption news story out of New Mexico that me smile all day long:

Albuquerque Restaurants Feeds, Celebrates Foster Kids (photo right)

Local foster and adoption families were treated to a free holiday dinner Thursday, thanks to a local Albuquerque restaurant. Sandiago’s at the Tram prepared a special Thanksgiving feast. The restaurant started this event several years ago as a way to give back to families who give so much to children in the community.

Three hundred people were treated to Thanksgiving dinner, and it’s a gift that the Martinez family says they appreciate.

“We’re blessed! I tell everyone I get a hug and a kiss everyday. I get unconditional love,” said Vivian Martinez. She’s counting her blessings this year, including their mix of foster and biological children. “Just the noise and joy around the home. There’s never a dull moment. There’s always something to do.”

The Children’s Youth and Families Department says it’s always in need of foster families. For more information, contact them at 1-855-333-SAFE.

Tell me your interesting or uplifting domestic adoption story right here:

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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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Halloween is a Holiday for All Children

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

But I feel especially winsome for the hundreds of thousands of kids who need a home, a set of parents to bring them Trick-or-Treating. Halloween is a funny holiday for my family because we’ve spent the last two Halloween seasons considering adopting a toddler from India–or then, again, adopting domestically and via the Los Angeles foster care system. And we are nowhere near settled on it.

Halloween brings up family drama! This particular letter I received from a fan of The Adoption Diaries, taking issue—yet another issue—with open adoption versus closed domestic adoptions.

My family and I have gone on the record saying we far prefer the idea of an international adoption because we have no way to meet those Indian relatives that gave our future child up for adoption; we like the idea of the biological family living far away. We may hard feelings on her behalf, for instance.

The reader agrees with me. Sarah said, “I find it interesting that everyone just defends open adoption regardless of all the problems open adoption contains … for families everywhere.”

Sarah told me her family chose a domestic, closed adoption “in the best interest of my adopted daughter.” And I agree based on the authenticity and intelligence of the biological parents. (I know I’ll hear about this from you about open adoption objections.)

Sarah’s daughter’s birth family violently assaulted the first set of adoptive parents before their own adoption ever went through. She said to me, “The adoptive husband had to have 28 stitches due to the openness pushed by their adoption agencies.”

Sometimes it just doesn’t work to be friends with the bio parents depending on the adoptive situation and personalities involved.

Sarah said, “When we agreed to adopt our daughter the adoption agency started in on us about Open Adoption everything. My husband went straight to the family court judge with the incident report and the criminal records of the birth family. Thankfully, the judge ordered no contact with the birth family.

I really don’t see how open adoption helps children if/when their birth families have these types of problems.  Violence is deeply ingrained in this birth family’s culture. Our daughter needs to escape from the influences that cause this violence.

My family does not know how to solve these problems that drove this birth family to violence  I also don’t think it is right to force adoptive parents into open adoption. Open Adoption has a lot of problems and they are mostly ignored by the adoption community by simply saying it best for the child without considering all the facts of the situation.”

I’d love to hear from adoptive parents who did both kinds of adoption!

 

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Adopting a Sibling Group is a Bigger Deal Than One

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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Have a Play Date with Nature and Your Kid

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Calling all prospective parents: Sometimes I happen upon a post that’s not so tailored just for the adoption marketplace,  and this is one of those too-good all-natural posts that’s really perfect for all families.

In trying to plan our long afternoons off from first grade — the kid gets out before 3 pm, for goodness sake, I was happy to receive tips from the National Wildlife Federation in conjunction with research from North Carolina State University, which developed a thoughtful guide to creating enticing outdoor play spaces as close as a patio or balcony.

A “Guide to Nature Play Spaces” can help transform playgrounds, schoolyards, childcare centers, museums and zoos into spaces where kids can connect, play and learn.

The idea behind a nature play space is that instead of the standard metal and plastic structures that make up the bulk of today’s playgrounds, you can incorporate the surrounding landscape and vegetation to bring nature todaily outdoor play and learning environments.

  • Gather natural materials like sticks, leaves, and grasses to use in imaginative play. The simplest nature play consists only of gathering some of nature’s “loose parts” already present in a yard.
  • Collect  branches, logs, sticks, and rope to build a fort, hideout or den.
  • Use a hollow log, planter or corner of the yard to make a miniature scale fairy village. These become enchanted places that stimulate creative, make-believe settings.
  • Plant or pot colorful, textured spices like rosemary, lavender and thyme to make a sensory garden.
  • Set up small stumps of various heights that children can step across for learning balancing skills.
  • Help with garden tasks like planting, watering and harvesting provide hands-on play and learning opportunities. Parents indicate they want their kids to experience nature, but it can be difficult to find an opportunity that fits a busy schedule,” said Allen Cooper, Senior Education Manager for National Wildlife Federation.

Log onto the  Nature Play at Home Guide and start digging in the dirt, regardless of your outdoor space. Even patios and balconies provide opportunities for kids to connect with nature.

Do you have an inspiring adoption story for me? Comment below.

 

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