This past month of November, America celebrated National Adoption Month with feel-good stories each week, and I have another one for you below. However, before you read another installation of a new Adoption Diary, check out what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said as she opened legislation at the top of the month. Her words are inspiring for parents everywhere.
Announcing her support for National Adoption Month, Hillary Clinton said, “Over the last ten years, American families have opened their hearts and homes to more than 200,000 children from other countries. 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.” — Hillary Clinton 2012
Here’s the happy new adoption story. Tammy Gilmore decided to do her part in it this Thanksgiving Day with a second adoption.
Only a year earlier, Gilmore adopted a 3-year-old boy named Alexander. Gilmore is a single mother who works for an attorney who has experience working with adoptive families in the Iowa area. She adopted Alexander and was then driven to adopt his little brother as well. Gilmore went through IowaKids.net, which is a website where many agencies collaborate in order to help people who want to foster and adopt children. There are several agencies in cooperation in this partnership.
The agencies that are in partnership attempt to find homes for the over 700 children eligible for adoption and the 6,000 that are in foster care. There are over 1000,000 kids in the United States waiting to be adopted.
Learn more about foster care and adoption here. Tell me your story below in the comments.
If you are even considering an international adoption, much like my family is with a toddler daughter in India, you must thoroughly do your homework, document all your paperwork, legalize everything — and make sure you’re not stealing some poor mother’s newborn in a Third World Country without her knowledge.
It happens all the time, but international rules and regulations are halting such illegal practices.
This helpful website is to educate people about what orphanage tourism is and the devastating affect is having on the children of Cambodia, many of whom are not even orphans. Most governments and child care professionals regard the institutionalization of children in orphanages as the very last resort. Unfortunately, in Cambodia it is increasingly becoming the first, mainly due to the increased demand from travelers and donors for more and more orphanages. Others are nothing more than money-making scams that are specifically targeting unsuspecting tourists.
Considering International Adoption?
The group’s spokesperson said in an interview, “Few of these people that are trying to help are actually qualified to work with traumatized or vulnerable children, so what we end up with is an even more dire situation. We really want to get the word out about this important cause, and let well-intentioned people know that there are better alternatives and avenues through which they can help.”
“The fact is, most travelers, donors, and volunteers are completely unaware that they are fueling this problem or that they may be doing more harm than good,” comments the group spokesperson. Media Note: Because many of the most profiteering Cambodian orphanages have close ties with the government (some of those who have spoken out about this in the past have been threatened) this group prefers to remain anonymous for now.
“We encourage visitors to become educated about orphanage tourism, and to help us continue to raise awareness by sharing the information they learn here with others. The goal is to stop fueling the orphanage industry and find ways to support vulnerable children and their families, not split them up. The children of Cambodia, and around the world, deserve better.”
You can help channel the good intentions of travelers and donors towards initiatives that provide more positive support for children, and support family based care, reducing the separation of children and their communities.”
Are you considering international adoption of a baby or a special needs toddler? What countries are you considering?
I found this great heartwarming local story from the East Coast about adopting on Thanksgiving, and it warms the cockles of my heart. Share with your own family this weekend, and Happy Thanksgiving.
The Rhode Island Family Court finalized the adoptions during a special ceremony held Saturday in Providence. More than 250 people attended the event presided over by Chief Judge Haiganush Bedrosian. He noted that the adoptions occurred Thanksgiving week and told adopting parents that is a perfect time to give thanks for their love for and commitment to the children they adopted.
Highlights from the ceremony include three siblings who were reunited as members of one family. Rhode Island performs about 500 adoptions a year, but about 300 children are still waiting for permanent homes. Teens, sibling groups and children with special needs are the hardest to place. Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Suttell also participated in Saturday’s celebration.
And then… More Fantastic Adoption News:
One hundred Orange County, Calif., foster care children were legally adopted just in time for Thanksgiving weekend. Even better, many were older kids, transracial teens and sibling groups which are typically much more difficult to place.
Currently, there are 56,138 children in foster care in California with 13,394 children waiting for adoptive families. Please share your happy Thanksgiving adoption stories with me here.
And then, even More Good Adoption News from Haiti:
In previous posts, I groused about being too old and cut out of the international adoption process in the country of Haiti, which was frustrating to my whole family. I received a supportive email from Diana Boni, the Haiti Program Coordinator of All Blessings International, where she told me to keep an open mind. She said, “We cannot change Haitian law regarding adoptive parent eligibility and age or length of marriage, but we will always accept families based upon their ability to parent, not their religious affiliation.
“There are a great many changes occurring in Haitian adoptions right now, but we believe that these changes will lead to a safer, more protected adoption process for the children of Haiti.”
Haiti Program Coordinator
All Blessings International
Currently, 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:
The entire holiday season can be especially tough for families who struggle with issues like adoption, waiting for an international adoption, and also fertility issues. Dr. Jeffrey D. Fisch, Medical Director at the Sher Fertility Institute Las Vegas, offers his stress-reducing methods for all members of the waiting family.
He said, “So much of the season centers around family and children. It can be hard for waiting couples to be around other people’s kids when they are having trouble starting their own family.”
Here are five simple steps to help make the holiday season a time of anticipation and joy instead of anxiety and sadness:
1. Be proactive. Take charge of your own plans for the holidays–don’t overbook but don’t leave time to dwell on an empty nest, either. If you are having trouble conceiving on your own, speak to your physician or to a fertility specialist. If already in the process of adopting, but not yet successful, make a plan for the future to give you the strength to face the challenges of the season.
2. Keep busy. The less time you have to obsess about why it hasn’t worked yet, the better you will feel. Too much time online might not be a good thing. Get outside and be active. Increasing exercise and optimal health practices (ie: get enough sleep, do yoga for stress relief, etc) and eat healthfully.
3. Volunteer. This time of year many organizations need help. A small contribution of your time can help you feel useful and help to brighten someone else’s holiday. Thinking of others will take your mind and energy off of worrying about your own unfulfilled dream. Think “karma,” because if you do good things for others, good things will come to you, says Dr. Fisch.
4. Pamper yourself. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. At this time of year, remember that you deserve to be happy even if you are not pregnant yet. Treat yourself to a massage or to something special. Travel with your partner while you can; it gets harder once you have children.
5. Enjoy what you have. The holidays are supposed to be a happy time focused on the good things in our lives and on those close to us.
Give thanks for the friendships and family you do sustain all year long. Tell us in the comments below how you’re doing with your adoption this holiday season.