Adopted Kids Can Learn to Nurture Nature

One of the sadder things I’ve learned from reading foster care family literature—in our family’s gradual search for a female toddler—is that many urban babies (who’ve been neglected or even abused) are anemic and don’t receive adequate Vitamin D because they’re never outside playing in a playground or sunbathing in a sand box.

As I searched for additional stats on domestic adoption and beginning the foster care process of adoption, I found this to celebrate:

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) joins the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) to set an unprecedented goal to get 10 million more kids to spend significant time outdoors over the next three years. Working together, they will combat the growing trend toward “lack of green time.”

Research shows children are spending long hours indoors using electronic media, yet they spend only mere minutes a day in unstructured outdoor play. This is affecting the health and well-being of children and is quickly causing a generation of kids who are becoming less healthy and who are disconnected from the natural world around them.

Local park and recreation agencies serve an essential role in preserving natural resources, providing open space and cultivating a connection to nature and the outdoors that can last a lifetime.

“We know that when children spend time outdoors they are more active and their overall well-being improves,” says Barbara Tulipane, President and CEO of NRPA. “Our nation’s parks and recreation areas are not just a solution for better health, but are the answer to inspiring a healthier generation of youth who appreciate and care for our open space lands and who will engage in environmental stewardship that will benefit our future.”

The 10 Million Kids Outdoors goal encourages kids to get outdoors and explore, play, and learn for 90 minutes per week. This outdoor time excludes time spent outdoors in organized sports, which while beneficial, does not provide children the same benefits as outdoor play in green spaces. By increasing outdoor time to 90 minutes per week, NRPA and NWF believe it will contribute to a significant increase in children’s connection to nature due in part to more time spent outdoors.

What rituals does your family do to play outside together?

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Can you Report Foster Care Abuse and Adoption Neglect?

How much can we get involved if we even suspect a child is in danger? Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Every year 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving nearly six million children (a report can include multiple children).

The United States has the worst record in the industrialized nation, losing five children every day due to abuse-related deaths, according to the National Child Abuse Hotline. I wondered last week if some of us parents and adoptive parents had the balls to call child protection services if they suspected anything.

Reader Vanessa remarked back about reporting members of her own family, and she got nowhere with the foster care system.

She said, “I have even reported my uncle’s girlfriend (she has two girls, one his and another whose father she does not know) to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) three times. I happen to know that there have been other calls made by schools and pediatrician’s offices.

I have done everything in my power (taking them to my house as often as possible for sleepovers, having them over for dinners to make sure they are fed, bathing them to make sure they are clean, giving them clothes, advice, helping with homework, etc.) short of kidnapping them to help the girls. The system is flawed.”

Vanessa said sometimes a social worker visited (after a pre-notification to the party under investigation) and they would do a cursory home inspection. “Unless the person is literally beating the kid in front of them they usually find nothing. Of course if you call them first then they have plenty of time (which she has) to warn the kids that they will be removed, punished, etc. By the time the worker comes these kids are all smiles and life is great, dinner is at 6 every night and they really love their mommy.”

That is a big, fat lie. What would you do to alert the authotrities about an abused child? I’d scream my holy head off. Just for starters…

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Scary Halloween Dangers Lurk at Home

Be careful out there…. Boo… Sometimes (like today) I may stray from a strict blog about adoptions, so enjoy it while you can.

With Halloween a-knocking on your door – it’s a good time to ask, is your medicine cabinet super safe for your adopted kids (or kids of all ages)? Pain Relief Centers in Pinellas Park, Florida wants warn parents of the potential poisoning dangers in their own home.

Here’s a good example: Can you tell the difference between a bunch of pain prescription medication (at right) or a bunch of kid’s candy? (Me neither and that’s scary alright.)

Windex, for instance, can be mistaken as a sports drink, Sweet Tarts for Tums, or a M&M for a cold medicine.

 In a recent study presented to the American Academy of Pediatrics, two young scientists found only 71 percent of students could tell the difference between candy and over-the-counter medicine.

According the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 90 percent of all domestic poisonings occur in the home.

Here are some tips to keep in mind during Halloween and every day of the year:

•    Use child-resistant packaging, remembering to secure containers after use
•    Keep chemicals and medicines locked up and out of sight
•    Watch young children closely while using cleaners or gardening products
•    Leave original labels on all products
•    Always take or dispense medications in a well-lit area to ensure proper dosage
•    Never refer to medicine as “candy”
•    Post the number for your local poison control center in a highly visible location

Happy Halloween 2012 and remember to stay close to home, and examine your candy closely before popping anything in your mouth.

 

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Instead of Adoption? International Surrogacy Gaining Traction

There is a surge of births through surrogacy and Hollywood is taking notice. E! News host Guiliana Rancic has a son by a surrogate mother, born last month. Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick also have children born of a surrogate, just like actors Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban.

Our reader 

Crystal Travis has experienced the anguish of infertility herself and selected surrogacy as a solution. She said, “Every family has the right to realize their dreams of parenthood in an affordable and low stress way.” Travis and her husband have a son born in India, and a pair of twins born two years later of the same surrogate mother in India.

Because of their experience, Crystal Travis started a consulting service for intended parents.

 Surrogacy costs about the same as adoption, but has an important benefit: The resulting baby has a genetic connection with one or both parents.

Choosing a surrogate mother in India is a fraction of the cost of surrogacy in the United States. But it can be difficult for prospective parents navigating their way through the paperwork and ensuring their baby gets good prenatal care. Travis has helped dozens of people become parents through surrogacy in India, overseeing the pregnancy, birth and homecoming every step of the way.

More than 25,000 babies are born through surrogate mothers in that country annually. 

Travis launched her consulting business after the birth of her twins. “Surrogacy is a 2.3 billion dollar industry in India,” she says. She frequently travels to India to meet with attorneys and have personal contact with the doctors providing prenatal care and delivery.

A support staff in India makes frequent calls to check on the progress of each pregnancy, and the well-being of surrogate mothers. There are fewer laws regulating surrogacy in India, which contributes to the lower cost and faster results. But adoption experts warm you must do your homework and only sign with international agencies that follow the international human rights laws of the Hague Convention. (Countries that follow stricter adoption legislation are less likely to be involved in child trafficking and baby selling.)

What do you think of the surge on Hollywood surrogacy? It’s definitely every bit as expensive as an international adoption, FYI.

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The Impact of Childhood Abuse on Adult Relationships


As a mom blogger with a big mouth, I’m always knee-deep in studies and child-based research, trying to figure out the emotional pain/distance of adoption, and how to find energy, shortcuts and the laws and legislation to make my choices easier.

These studies (and a new book too) are recommended reading to families who are going through the demanding process of adoption: As you might know by now. children coming out of foster care often become adult addicts, and oftentimes children from dysfunctional families can carry silent, hidden wounds from the trauma of growing up with parental addiction, abuse, or neglect. Or the pain of being shuttled from foster home to foster home.

When these childhood anxieties remain buried and unattended, wounds can reemerge and get played out in adult, intimate partnerships and parenting, re-creating relationship dynamics that mirror early pain.

In this authoritative guide, bestselling author and renowned psychologist Dr. Tian Dayton explains the science behind how trauma lives in the body/mind and shapes our neurobiology.

The ACoA Trauma Syndrome: The Impact of Childhood Pain on Adult Relationships (HCI $16.95) is for anyone who has lived with dysfunction and trauma related to addiction, abuse, neglect, physical or mental illness, military service, or cultural/ethnic or religious prejudice.

It is about facing, processing, and healing childhood pain, marshaling strength and resilience, and taking charge of your own emotional life. Tell me a great story about adoption below in Comments, and we’ll go live with your story or book too.

Happy Halloween to adoptive children and parents everywhere. Tell me your story here:

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