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Monday, July 23rd, 2012
It’s long overdue, in this era of reality TV, that we peel away the layers of private, domestic adoption process to visit with families who actually rode the roller-coaster of domestic adoption. It’s about time.
In the new show, in each of six, hour-long installments, you view the journey and personality of each birth mother, and watch hurdles faced by adoptive parents. I love that you bear witness to surely one of the biggest joys in life.
On the trailer for “I’m Having Their Baby,” I watched, the common thread for each birth mother is, more than anything, she wants the very best in life for her unborn child.
Giving your beautiful baby to another family in a private adoption where they pretty much take over the care and feeding of your new baby.
“I’m Having Their Baby” shows an honest portrayal of women who are in the midst of dealing with the most difficult decision of their lives,” said Rod Aissa, Senior VP, Oxygen Media. “These human interest stories are powerful… as it reveals themes of love, hardship, and inner strength.”
The premiere episode, which airs tonight, features Amanda, a 28-year-old mother raising two boy, as well as her boyfriend’s son. Amanda shows you why placing her unborn child into another loving family and making those difficult decisions are brave and terrifying.
Another tear-jerker features Mariah, eight months pregnant, who lives with her boyfriend and 9-month-old daughter in Indiana. She doesn’t want to “turn out like girls in her community,” a too-young and struggling single mother. Brave stories of courageous women and families, such cool stuff.
“I’m Having Their Baby” is produced by Hud:sun Media. Tell me what you think about these adoption stories.
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Monday, December 5th, 2011
A study hit my desk this week from American Express about how much cash parents will spend with this ravaged economy on holiday gifts this year… and just how much anxiety it’s causing parents who cannot afford to spend.
Consider this: If most of America feels the stress of not having enough this year, can you imagine what foster parents or, more importantly, how foster kids and children placed up for adoption feel around the holidays? How can these babies understand that Santa Claus cannot find them this year? My family promises each other that there will be one less foster kid searching for Sana Claus next year– she’ll be at my house opening copious gits from the big happy guy in the Santa suit.
We’ve already written to Santa in my house, and asked for a bunch of goodies since Sam has been such a blessed boy this year. According to the study commissioned by the Ford Motor Company, 87% of adults experience significant stress when shopping during the holiday season.
Other findings from the holiday spending study:
• Consumers will spend the most on their children, an average of $270, including clothing and accessories, toys and games.
• More than two thirds of Americans will set a budget for holiday gifts, and nearly half (48%) plan to stick to it.
Stress-relief expert Susie Mantell partnered with Ford to come up with a few tips for de-stressing this holiday season, whether you are in the middle of an adoption drama or if you’re just contemplating the idea of adoption for the first time.
Mantell, bestselling author of the relaxation CD Your Present: A Half-Hour of Peace said, “Every time you start stressing out , even waiting for someone to parallel park at the mall, take the opportunity to mentally thank six people daily, maybe the mailman, teachers, or a favorite cashier.”
Mantell’s other stress-busting strategies for parents and adoptive parents like us:
- Make some quick coffee dates. Just ten minutes with someone you really like is a terrific stress-buster when you’re really busy.
- Holiday Blues? Put on some feel-good holiday music, gather your kids and dance!
- Put yourself on top of your holiday gift list, and give yourself something pleasurable, such as a scalp massage, or a new CD or book.
Please tell me a great happy holiday adoption story here!
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Monday, October 24th, 2011
Last week, the NY Times reported on a couple suspected of abducting their eight children illegally out of foster care during a family visit. Lawyer Norman Steiner says he met with both parents, 34-year-old Nephra Payne and the mother 28-year-old Shanel Nadal. The children were placed in foster care in 2009 after charges of parental abuse and neglect.
Police found the couple in their parked van with seven sons and an infant daughter safe inside. The children were described as being disheveled but in apparently good condition. He said the couple wanted to unify the family amid fears their children had been abused during the last two years in foster care.
Steiner says the abuse and molestation complaints for the children while they were in foster care are documented. He said, “I expect the parents to be fully exonerated and cleared of all charges,” he said. “Their actions were not only justifiable, but expected; it is exactly what any biological parent would do.”
This news story got me wondering: Large families with multiple siblings who love each other have a very hard time being separated into twos and threes when they go into foster care. How do these multiple siblings maintain contact over the months or even years they spend sadly apart? How do they communicate and commune and play and bond through the years?
I found one (of a few) well-credited organization that take in foster siblings so they can spend a week or two of summer vacations just being with each other again. A camp in upstate New York offers siblings who have been separated in foster care a chance to spend precious time together.
Nearly 30 children from New York arrive for a week or two each summer loaded down with swimsuits and bug spray to spend a week with siblings who live in different foster homes. Founded in 1995 by Lynn Price, a former foster child who was separated from her sister growing up. It seeks to create healthy sibling relationships for foster children, who often have difficult family lives.
In developing the camp, Price said, “There were no memories of birthday parties, sharing clothes or helping each other with homework or talking about boys. I thought about the kids who will miss out on something that is so critical to their growth and feelings of unconditional love.”
My heart bleeds for these separated sibs. If you are considering adoption or fostering, could you adopt a sibling group?
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Friday, October 7th, 2011
Of course, the adoption boards are buzzing because this brilliant entrepreneur and philanthropist, who was placed for adoption in 1955, has died after a long fight with pancreatic cancer. Much more has been written about the love and support of Jobs’s adoptive parents who also adopted his sister, Patricia, than his little-known birth parents.
But I’ve been wondering about the biological parents and about the child they placed for adoption at birth. Steve Jobs. Whew.
Bio-father Abdul Fattah Jandali was a young Syrian immigrant in Wisconsin, who never even met his newborn son. When the baby was born to the 23-year-old Jandali — now known as John — and his 23-year-old girlfriend, Joanne Schieble, in 1955, there was no chance baby Steve would be able to grow up with his biological parents.
Joanne, born to a white, conservative Christian family, allegedly could not convince her parents to marry an Arab, and a Muslim at that! You can read much about this slim wunderkind of Apple computers and technology as we know it. (Interestingly, Jobs was not ever interested in meeting his birth parents although he was aware of them. Years later his birth parents did marry and raise other children. That’s wild too!)
More than anything, though, when you consider the soaring heights and successes this business impresario has enjoyed, how many people his companies employ all over the world… ya gotta admit both sets of parents did something quite right with this child.
First his young and terrified birth mother (in the 50s!) ran to San Francisco from the Midwest to place her child into a caring nurse’s arms in a hospital. Safe and sound. How amazing and selfless and responsible this decision can be.
Then, consider the childless couple who yearned for him, finally found him and adopted him and then joyously nurtured Jobs throughout childhood and adulthood. Growing up, Steve Jobs lived a kind and beautiful life, he lived in a privileged world to Clara and Paul Jobs in the suburbs of Mountain View, Calif., now commonly called Silicon Valley. They adopted his sister Patricia as well!
Imagine? Imagine the possibilities for children who enter adoption or foster care because they deserve a chance like Steve Jobs had? Imagine the possibilities…
This adoptive son made good. Very good, indeed. What a great story. RIP Steve Jobs, adopted son. Next one might be you!
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Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
I’ve been featuring so many inspiring stories of brave children escaping abuse through foster care and adoption, and the heartache of adoptive families waiting and waiting for their children that I just had to share something from my own life.
Those of us lucky enough to know and love our parents realize that family comes in many shapes and sizes. If we end up in a semi-normal family where we’ve spent quality hours with caring parents or aunts and cousins, grandparents and great-uncles, there are shining moments where family makes a lot of sense.
I have many beautiful Thanksgiving memories around a sturdy family table when my sister and I were young, with rambunctious Greek uncles and my beautiful Yia-Yia (that’s grandmother in Greek) leading dances around our happy living room.
My parents divorced very dramatically when I was 13 – complete with kidnappings (me), police inference, stalking, jail time (my father). It was excruciating to be a young teenager and know that my parents were not only fallible but at times weak and vicious, to each other at least.
We lost touch with my father’s whole side of the family growing up, but Facebook is an amazing thing, and last year my younger sister Lisa connected with our first cousins who grew up in Mexico City and Miami. We’d lost touch with almost everyone from my father’s side after this bloodthirsty divorce.
Our first cousin Danny is now one of the joys of our lives; he introduced us to our Spanish cousins, putting us in touch with family we never imagined thought of us or could love us, and they do! I can envision wanting to find your biological family after imagining them for so many decades.
As it must feel somewhat similar for many adoptive children in search of their biological family, I suddenly have inherited a whole side of family that I barely knew existed, this Hispanic heritage, cousins that remember me as a baby and have pictures. There’s something primal and vital about finding bloodlines of people you only imagined about, and then realizing they are fine relatives, intelligent and kind.
For those of you who wonder why any abused or adopted kids would go in search of their family, I say you never know the emotional importance of finding your biological family until you walk in another person’s shoes.
I understand. Please tell me your adoption story in Comments below.
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