Posts Tagged ‘
Monday, January 23rd, 2012
I received emails from moms wondering why my family is simultaneously looking internationally to adopt from India and also to adopt from a foster care situation domestically… to hedge my adoption bets. Here’s the truth: Holding out for international adoption costs a lot of money that my family doesn’t have right now. So I’m basically trying to strengthen my odds by investigating both international and national adoption advantages. In researching the topic, I also discovered that many wanna-be parents spent at least two hours online a day for adoption research!
In fact, a recent survey of adoptive parents illustrates how today’s adoptive parents are using online technology as a core tool in their journey to parenthood, which is in turn changing the domestic adoption industry. From extensive online research to navigating relationships on Facebook, technology has become a significant force in reshaping the process of adopting in the United States. Other findings:
• More than 90 percent of potential adoptive adults under age 44 report they are networking, marketing themselves and researching adoption online.
• These younger parents’ online activity stands in stark contrast to parents over age 45, where less than half say they did any online research or networking prior to adopting.
• Two-thirds of those aged 25-34 in the survey are spending more than two hours a day researching adoption online. (One-third of this particular group says they spend closer to four hours per day online!)
• Today’s adoptive parents are increasingly turning to more than one adoption agency to help them in their search: More than 44 percent of survey respondents under age 44 reported working with two or more adoption agencies, versus fewer than a quarter of those over age 55.
Note: Research was conducted in late February and early March 2011.
On another note that has nothing to do with stress but lots to do with joy and happiness, please enter American Baby Magazine’s cute kid cover contest, hurry up and join! I wish I’d gotten my little one in there when he was a tot.
Please tell me your adoption story here!
Friday, December 9th, 2011
I admit it: Between Thanksgiving and shopping and moving through the adoption process I am utterly exhausted. Emotionally exhausted! I already eat pretty well and tend to sleep at least seven hours overnight, but my whole body and my emotions simply feel depleted. I think the cost of filling out my paperwork and imagining all the terrible things that could happen to our family during a foster care situation is keeping me very stressed out.
For help, I tapped my mom friend Ashley Koff, co-author with celeb trainer Kathy Kaehler of the fantastic new book Mom Energy, what exactly I can start doing to feel less anxiety over the adoption process and soothe stress over the holidays!
Here’s what Ashley said, “Stress is going to be apart of our lives and our bodies are designed to fully handle it…if we learn how to turn it off and allow the body recovery time. I rely on magnesium-rich foods like whole grains and greens, as well as cacao – yup, that means good-quality chocolate — to turn off the body’s stress response at the cellular level.
“It won’t numb you but it will help to reduce the effect of stress on the body.” Adequate magnesium (in whole grains, steamed greens, veggie-rich salads) helps tune off your body’s stress responses and allows for more muscles relaxation and the ability to fall asleep.”
Ashley said, “Becoming fully charged doesn’t require a complete shift in your lifestyle, and you shouldn’t start denying yourself something you enjoy.” (Like that extra glass of vino with dinner during the holidays.) And this energy shift should not cost a dime!
Ashley said, “Energy equals heath. Energy imbalances are at the root of many health problems in our society, especially for do-it-all moms. Let’s focus on optimizing your energy naturally so you perceive yourself as dynamic and clear-thinking.”
Ashley’s quick list of easy stress zappers for the holidays:
- Graze on smaller meals more frequently to maintain adequate energy and calories.
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water and green tea to hydrate and flush your body regularly.
- Sleep 7+ hours per night. Aim for more, busy moms!
- Lift weights at least twice a week to rev your metabolism and create leaner muscles.
Tune in on Monday again when Ashley and her co-author offer more energy-up strategies to help moms (and all busy parents) cope throughout the holidays.
Photo credit: Ashley Koff photographed by David Carlson Photography
Monday, November 21st, 2011
Since I’m over 40 now, my age not only factors into making it harder to adopt internationally, but makes it more difficult to get pregnant if adoption does not work out. The risks of something going wrong in your pregnancy, including genetic disorders and miscarriage, rise as you age. I get it! After the age of 35, you are considered to be “advanced maternal age” and your pregnancy is categorized “high risk.” Mine was when I gave birth to Sam almost six years ago.
Once you’re 40 +, the major genetic risk is Down’s syndrome, and there are increased risks of gestational diabetes, preclampsia, and cesarean section. What’s more, research shows that your chances of having a low-birth weight baby or premature one (less than 5 1/2 pounds) also increases.
So how does getting older affect your odds of adoption? Quite a bit, actually.
Age greatly affects your ability to adopt, as I am slowly finding out. Some countries will not even allow applications for potential families if both parents are over 40 (which we are).
And some other countries, such as Haiti, will not allow your adoption application if you are over 45 and also have biological children of your own (we have son Sam, 5).
While that dampens my personal take on adoption, there is great news afoot for older parents: In the year 2000, the rate of birth among women 35 to 39 years old was up 30 percent from 1990. In women ages 40 to 45, the increase was 47 percent, and for those ages 45 to 49, the rate of getting pregnant was an astounding 190 percent higher.
So if more women over 40 are getting pregnant, I hope I can extrapolate to say that many more parents will soon be able to go through the international adoption process too! You have to hold onto hope when you’re considering adoption, there are so many things that can go wrong…
Tell me what went right on your adoption journey, especially if you’re 40+.
Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
Please enter our fantastic competition for a child cover model for sister publication for American Baby Magazine. It’s tough to be a supermodel like my son Sam, shown here on the right. But why not your kid?
Recently, Maggie reached out to me to tell me she was in touch with her daughter, a child she had placed for adoption at birth. Maggie was only 16 at the time, but received emotional support from her parents that helped me make courageous decisions. Maggie, 37, from Fleming Island, Florida, said, “ I did think about my daughter everyday. My family was able to see her at the agency before she was adopted and we took a lot of pictures. I had them in an album. The photos were very comforting when I would feel guilty or doubt my decision.”
Maggie eventually came to terms with her decision. She is now a married mother of four. She is also very involved with her first daughter’s adoptive family. She says, “Her parents have welcomed my whole family into theirs and we have done the same to them. We visit each other several times a year, text daily and talk as often as our crazy schedules allow.”
Maggie says, “I thank them for raising her as I could have only imagined in my wildest dreams. They are a beautiful family. I do not for one minute regret my decision to place her for adoption. Being a part of my daughter’s life now is so fulfilling.”
And courageous Maggie ends with, “I love what you are doing with your ongoing story, Nicole.”
Thank you back, Maggie. I think it’s loving and harmonious that both families communicate regularly. I’d love to hear from other well-adjusted adoptive families out there!
Friday, October 28th, 2011
My family is very lucky because we live in Studio City, a Hollywood-ish neighborhood that really celebrates outrageous costumed revelry. Every house just full-on decorates, wee ones waddle in too-long costumes for days before the big event where literally thousands of families come to call. Houses may have real coffins in the front yard with resident zombies and light shows for the grandparents. (If we care to go more risque, the gay We-Ho costume ball is rather fun, I hear!)
Halloween also started in our house at least a week ago — you too, right? My 5-year-old bio son Sam is in full Halloween regalia all month long. Of course this year (since we are considering a domestic adoption in the near future) I now begin to wonder about all the children in foster care programs, kids who may not have parents to bring them to well-decorated suburbs and make Blood Punch with the neighbors on All Hallow’s Eve.
I’d like to hear from some parents out there who celebrate Halloween with all of their children! What kind of rituals do you have? The first time a foster kid trick-or-treats with a real family who makes her costume, well, that must be pretty magical. And maybe more importantly, how can I make sure next year on Halloween there is one little foster daughter in my house, coloring pumpkins, dressing like a gypsy (to match her embarrassing mommy) and eating too many Skittles.
Maybe this year I will buy less chocolate and save $30 and give it to children in need of a little Halloween. I need help on this. How can we make Halloween beautiful for every child?
Send me your Comments below and I will respond.
Photo Credit: Me and Sam Straff, his first Halloween at nine months. I recycle the devil costume, as you can see below with dog Blu!
I profiled a talented adoption expert in the private adoption field two weeks ago and Thea Ramirez helped me out so much explaining adoption shortcuts. The link I supplied then in her story did not work but I want to thank her again here. Thanks for your hard work in private adoption, Thea.