Posts Tagged ‘ adoption homestudy ’

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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The Impact of Childhood Abuse on Adult Relationships


Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

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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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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We Want to Adopt an International Indian Toddler

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

In a previous post, I was honest enough to admit that if my family moved forward with this toddler daughter from India — after slogging through adoption paperwork and finances for two years — both my husband and I would prefer a physically pretty child with no developmental problems.

Reader Tee commented, “Do you really think that your Indian daughter wouldn’t be reminded of her not “belonging to (you) and (you) alone” every time she looks at her brown skin or wonders who her birth parents are and why she was adopted and what the land of her birth was like? There is no such thing as adopting a child who is “yours and only yours.”

This is a harmful myth that continues to be perpetuated by a subset of adoptive parents and the adoption industry. Adoption is not a fertility treatment…  You don’t just “get” a baby who has no issues and is yours and yours alone.

You enter a complex web that involves at least one other mother and father who will always be with your child spiritually and emotionally, if not physically. In some cases there are other mothers and fathers, too (such as cases where a child is adopted after being in foster care or attached to their orphanage caretakers).

In many cases there are physical and mental health issues relating to the child’s lack of prenatal care or early life in an orphanage. If you cannot accept being part of this complex web, I think it’s fair to say it would be very hard for you to help your adopted child learn to love and understand themselves and their history. Don’t think that I don’t understand the desire to have a “no strings attached” baby — I do! As a foster-adoptive parent I sure do fantasize about having a child of my own who I never had to “share” with a dysfunctional child welfare system and the birth family most foster children are very loyal to (no matter how abusive or neglectful).

I do empathize with the feeling behind this. What I don’t empathize with is actually taking action to adopt while holding as an ideal the “perfect” adoptee who will be grateful for being “rescued” but will never remind you that she is, in fact, a person with an identity that is different from yours and which likely includes her first family. A number of my friends who are international adoptees have found their birth families (despite “closed” international adoptions).

Don’t think for a second that in the age of the internet they will be forever severed from their birth family. A number who have adoptive parents who are threatened by their desire to know/find their birth families (such as your husband) have also stopped or limited contact with their adoptive families once they reached adulthood, out of resentment and pain. Think seriously about whether adoption is the right path for you and your husband.

I wish you much luck,” Tee finished.

Tell me your adoption story below in Comments, thank you Tee for responding as a veteran foster mother.

 

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Losing Patience with International Adoption

Monday, October 8th, 2012

We’ve occasionally dragged our heels, especially when my husband and I would disagree about adoption basics: international versus domestic adoption. Open adoption versus closed adoption.

We’ve filled out some paperwork, held up on finances, my husband has a bankruptcy in his past. Compound that with a very present danger: We are running out of time to adopt a baby. We are over 45 years old and considered, in many countries abroad, simply too old to adopt.

Maybe we could adopt an older sibling group but I don’t want to do that. Way too much work. And a new kid would have to share a room with Sam, which now that he’s age six years old, hmmm, not as fun as when we started out search.

My husband called my bluff last weekend when he urged me to put up-for-sale my bio son Sam’s (amazing little boy)  newborn clothes. “If you don’t want that second baby, throw out all the clothes you’ve been saving for your un-adopted child for the last five years,” he told me in frustration.

You see,  holding Sam’s baby clothes brings me to my knees. I spent a fortune for black rock T-shirts on my baby blue boy and long-legged onesies. He was styling, totally cherubic. If that crocodile tee-shirt touched Sam’s skin, I cannot give them it up today. Give all the clothes up if you really want to forget about adoption, just forget about adopting a second child for all of us, especially for Sam,” my husband meant.

Honestly, I’ve been saving these beloved, very gently used toddler duds (the flags, and the super heroes, the indignant animals and Elmo) for my next adopted baby who has not yet arrived.

Our neighbors were having a yard sale, several families also set up in front and I called his bluff. I am so over this adoption thing, I told him over a cold cup of coffee the morning of the yard sale. I can get rid of 90 percent of all these baby clothes and begin healing from not having kid number two.

OK, let’s sell them all. All the pretty boy clothes clothes laid out on my neighbor’s sunny lawn. And then my sad-momma moment happened.

At the garage sale last Saturday, a diminutive stranger was fondling Sam’s first baby apron he wore at his first birthday party, and I sprinted over to her and whipped the brown-checkered apron out of her hand. “Sorry not for sale,” I huffed madly at the abuela sympatica. “Mine, mine, mine. For my next adopted baby. Dammit.”

Then I sat in the driveway and sobbed. For, like 50 minutes.

The potential shopper understood immediately, and walked away. One of my girlfriends came and slung an arm over my shoulder and totally understood. Patted my back. Another mom made me my first Bloody Mary of the day.

Tell me your adopted kid story here:

 

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