Archive for the ‘ The Ethics of Adoption ’ Category

The History of Adoption – How Did the Practice Start?

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

I surfed a bunch of sites and called an adoption resource line to research how the actual practice of adoption even started. I thought it began in the olden days between extended families very casually, but that’s only one part of the history of adoption. How did families and neighbors begin taking each others’ children?

Ancient adoptions can be traced back to the Roman Empire where wealthy, aristocratic families without male heirs would adopt older boys or men from within their community, extended family or local village in order to continue the family lineage and name.

Adoption declined during the Middle Ages when pure bloodlines became more important for inheritance and land owners.

Until the 1850s, informal adoptions — from family to family — would take in the occasional orphaned neighbor child. As informal adoptions increased, the need for legalizing the process became law.

In 1853, Charles Loring Brace, a protestant minister who founded the Children’s Aid Society of New York, conceived the idea to relocate and find homes for orphans from the Civil War. Some documents claim that orphaned and adopted kids ended up as servants or worse but the era after the war shaped America’s foster care system.

Through the 20th century, states passed adoption legislation to protect and serve orphans. President Theodore Roosevelt recommended moving away from institutional orphanages and placing children in family homes.

From closed adoption in the 1940s and 1950s, gradually the industry has progressed to more “open adoptions” without the stigma for birth mothers.

Adoptions reached their highest point in 1970, and have leveled off.

In the last two decades, international adoption is popular too, providing homes to children that have been orphaned by war, disease and global poverty.

Read more about The History of Adoption,  and tell me your adoption story in Comments below.

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Actress Nia Vardalos Adopts Daughter from Foster Care

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Part 2: If you joined us Monday, we interviewed the star of An American Girl: McKenna Shoots For The Stars, which just launched on DVD. Gorgeous Greek actress Nia Vardalos finally plays a mother in the movies.

At first Vardalos and her husband were interested in an international adoption – but they waited over five years on a Chinese international adoption for a young daughter. Simultaneously, she also waited for four long years for a Greek daughter . Then, nothing.

Two years went by, then three, four and even five years of waiting for an international adoption.

Four years ago, Nia signed up with a US Foster Care agency. Vardalos said, “Ultimately when I started working with American Foster Care, we met our daughter nine months later.”

She remembers the day about four years ago: “We were really excited when we met her for the first time. She was being brought to an office to meet us. She didn’t know who we were. She was almost three years old, but the agency does a really nice thing; they don’t tell the child they are meeting prospective parents. It’s called a chemistry meeting. We all just have fun.”

The thrilled couple drove into the parking garage of the agency, and she was there. Vardalos said, “We walked toward her and my first thought was, ‘Oh I found you. Finally, finally, finally. We never looked back.’”

Vardalos’ daughter is 7 now, and the actress refuses to reveal her name or a full-frontal photograph [see photo above].  “We want to give her a normal life.”

Vardalos believed the hardest part of the adoption process was waiting for her gorgeous girl but also making sure she was then comfortable and well-loved when she finally arrived. “We wanted to be sure our daughter knew this was a continuation of her life. And assimilating a 3-year-old into our house was emotional. We had just bought a white couch a month before. Mistake.”

Vardalos said, “I became a much more nurturing person – also as an actress – since I became a mother. I think every parent wonders how to balance motherhood and work, time for me and my friends and keeping up on FaceBook and exercise. How do we do it all? Parenthood is just so real.”

Tell us your adoption story here, and thanks to actress Nia Vardalos for sharing her domestic adoption experiences.

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Summer Weight Loss Tips for Stressed Out Moms

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

summer weight loss secrets digest diet Every once in awhile, I receive a book or see a DVD that shifts my thinking, or really peaks my interest. I occasionally step outside “The Adoption Diaries” to tap into what makes all parents fitter and healthier human beings. After all, when I was pregnant with my son Sam, I already felt like a parent and acted more responsibly like one — what about you?

This is one of those non-adoption posts for all parents.

My friend Liz Vaccariello just debuted “The Digest Diet” where she explores breakthrough scientific studies for healthy weight loss and combating overweight and obesity. A busy full-time journalist and mother to 7-year-old twin daughters, Vaccariello knows a lot about trying to be the healthiest mom she can be with limited time and a schedule that’s filled with morning runs, meetings, school obligations, you know the drill. She’s always been straightforward and incredibly curious.

A few of her summer shape-up tips:

Drink your minerals. “Your mom told you to drink milk because its calcium was good for your bones, but I doubt she knew calcium is also good for controlling hunger and appetite,” said Vaccariello. “I found one amazing study from 2010 that shows drinking fat-free milk immediately after resistance training and then again one hour afterward results in greater muscles mass, strength gains and fat loss.”

Laugh it off. “Stress takes such an enormous toll on your health, your waistline and also your immunity,” said Vaccariello. “I found studies that prove laughing actually burns calories, and one study from London showed an hour of laughing can blast as many calories as, say, 18 to 20 minutes of weight training or 15 minutes of walking. Exercise is the ultimate stress reducer.”

Brush up on body image. The great irony, she told me, is that successful weight loss comes when you respect your body at any weight and can stop demonizing fat. “You don’t need a researcher to tell you about the clear link between stress and obesity,” she said. Many of us self-medicate when we’re feeling blue — or worse — but actually having more fat cells actually increases the rate of depression. “Chronic, low-grade inflammation may be tracked back to fat cells; so curb it before it affects your emotional well-being,” Vaccariello said.

Vaccariello, who appears as an expert on The Doctors, offers delicious, simple recipes for moms-on-the-go, and straightforward advice in her new health and weight loss book.

Tell me your story here.

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Follow Up: 3 Adopted Kids Raped, Abused by New Father

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Sometimes a single blog on The Adoption Diaries raises such a fuss, issues such a stream of rage and outcry that I may revisit it. A couple weeks ago I found a short item from Ohio about a new adoptive father that not only raped his three new children (two boys and a girl ages 9 until 13). This  official unholy monster  also prostituted the children to several male friends. Read about it here. Well, so many dozens of you wrote in and wanted him dead and prosecuted.

So many of your readers were equally as violent in your responses that I could not print your rage and anger. It was very upsetting, actually. This horrible man is going to court next week on charged that will likely keep him in prison for the rest of his life; the  two other men who raped those kids have now also been arrested. The three kids have been returned to that state’s foster care system where they hopefully can heal under a more careful and watchful eye! But could that happen again? Folks, it happens every day in the foster care system!

To counteract that post, reader Dawn had this to say. She is one mother who is absolutely outraged:

She wrote, “There are so many happy and beautiful stories of adoption to be told, but this tale is NOT about adoption. It is about a predator.  Adoptive parent screening is very extensive.  I am an adoptive mother and can attest to the scrutiny and examination that we all go through. So sad for these children who were already failed and have endured further trauma. This is the exception, NOT the rule.  The screening process may not be perfect, but I would love to compare it to that of parents who conceive children. Yeah…that is non-existent.

Dawn also questioned, “Who is testing this adoptive family? Who is screened, tested, interviewed or trained safefully prior to becoming parents?  Just a little balance for this awful and tragic story.  Please do not focus on the wrong element. Bad parents are bad parents. Most all children who are in protective custody or waiting for forever loving foster/adoptive families did not arrive there because of abuse at the hands of an adoptive parent.”

Thanks for responding in such a healthy and balanced way, Dawn. You also helped my mood and my emotions! Tune in on Friday.

Happy Earth Day, moms and dads!

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Part 1: Adopting a Child After Age 40

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Mom Blogger Andrea Fox from Boston, Mass., got my attention when she responded so positively to a former post on “The Adoption Diaries” on the day I confessed that I (more than my family, I personally) wanted to adopt an international toddler daughter based on the off chance, on the sickening perchance, that my biological son Sam dies early. He’s only six.

Whatever you think about that, how incredibly selfish that sounds now, Andrea wrote back that she was feeling the exact same way about her sole adopted child, a daughter she adopted four years ago when she was already 44 years young. Andrea she she might consider adopting another kid just in case the first one well… you know what we mean! It’s horrifying to consider.

She wrote to me, “Oh my gosh, I thought I was the only adoptive mother in the world who thought about adoption number two in case my daughter died. Thanks for writing that line. So honest! Whether it’s a selfish or pragmatic reason to have another child, I’m just glad I’m not the only mother in the world who has had this morbid thought…”

We got to talking, and Andrea, 48, had this to say about her own adoption journey: “While many couples are postponing parenthood for career, travel, or advanced college degrees, the reason I became a first-time mom at 44 is quite simple: 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.

Shortly after we got married, we went to a fertility specialist who told us that our chances of becoming parents biologically were less than 1% and that fertility treatments were not an option. No one was more aware of my ‘advanced maternal age’ than I was, so I was neither surprised nor disheartened – or so I thought at the time.”

Tune in on Friday when Andrea journals in Part 2 about her battle with infertility and also about her own adoption journey along with the love of her life, husband Bill.

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