Posts Tagged ‘ child abuse ’

New Countries Partner for International Adoptions

Monday, July 16th, 2012

As my family wends its way through the grueling, mystifying journey of international adoption, I keep my ear out for countries that follow the Hague Convention, and work with those agencies only.

The Convention was originally written to help countries regulate international adoptions and to protect children.

The Hague Convention’s main goals are to:

· Protect the best interests of adopted children

· Standardize processes between countries

· Prevent child abuse, such as trafficking in children

The new Ghana program offered by Adoption Associates said two separate trips are required: one to meet the child and attend a court hearing and the second to obtain the child’s visa and bring the child home.

So many families are passionate about the plight of African orphans, but one couple has been in the news lately because of a paperwork jam and they are awaiting a sibling adoption in Ghana. They left a couple biological kids at home with relatives.

Read all about this Orange Country, Calif. family who is being detained in Ghana after being totally cleared of child trafficking. The couple had to post bond for their own release and their passports were finally returned.

How scary.

Tell me your adoption story here:

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Infertile Mom Adopts Baby Through Private, Open Adoption

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Part 1: Valarie from South Carolina was so upset about my recent posts on the prevalence of sexual abuse in domestic foster care and adoption that she reached out with her two very different, more positive open adoption stories. Valarie said, “This is a very disturbing story.  I am a mom of two beautiful adopted children and a teacher, and it pains me to see children being abused and taken advantage of.

provate adoption Not all private agencies are bad, but someone dropped the ball in this tale of an adoptive father sexually abusing his kids. There is no punishment that this person can endure that will equal the pain that he inflicted on these children.”

Valarie and her husband turned to domestic adoption in 2006 when she had a tumor removed from her uterus “the size of a cantaloupe, which had damaged my uterus.” At that time, the family decided to work on the paperwork for adoption through a local attorney via private, open adoption.

Valarie said, “My surgery was in May, and  we were matched in August.  The first situation we were placed with did not seem right. The birth mother was hiding her pregnancy from family and she was over 21 years old. At that time she eventually communication with the paralegal working with our attorney, which seemed very fishy. She might have been changing her mind.  So the paralegal showed our family portfolio to another birth mother who was in the hospital.

This birth mother was in the hospital because her water broke early, and she was at risk of delivering extremely early. She chose us, and we met her, and quickly decided she was the one! Once our relationship blossomed, the first birth mother re-appeared all over again but my husband and I had already forged a connection to the second mom.”

That’s the joy of open adoption, folks, you get to meet each other and assess.

Valarie and her husband stuck with birth mom number 2 and were in the hospital room when she gave birth. Valarie said, “On August 25, 2006, she delivered a beautiful but premature 4-pound, 3-ounce baby boy. I remember her trying to say good-bye to her baby and finally telling me that he was all ours. I am grateful for the precious gift she has given us. Our son Mason (photographed above, nearly five years old) is the best boy ever. We love him to pieces.”

That’s why the problems in this family’s emotional second adoption were so surprising! Stay tuned on Friday for Part 2.

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Brave Victim of Child Abuse Says Effects Last a Lifetime

Friday, April 27th, 2012

After I published this very specific sex abuse crime story last month about a new adoptive father in Ohio, I got a flood of very brave and candid replies from you readers. I wanted to share a letter from Patty, who is hyper-aware of foster kids and adopted kids who sustain child abuse and sexual abuse when shuffled from home to home.

Patty said reading my account was very upsetting even though she’s safe now and the abuse occurred decades ago when she was younger than 12.
She told me, “Abuse lasts for a lifetime. Even at an age where my own children are now teens, child abuse affects every decision, every opinion, every reaction I make.”

“It’s part of who I am, like a birthmark.”

Patty said she learned to live with savage beatings and solitary confinement. She said, “Horrible abuse that would have landed my stepmother in prison today…  what she did back then when people minded their own business. I was horribly abused, locked in closets for days at a time while my mother partied, beaten until I looked like a rainbow, whipped with electrical cords, but oh how I wanted her to love me.  That was so long ago and yet it never completely leaves my awareness.

I ran away again and again until I no longer had to run. I lived on the streets from age 14 to 18, when I finally applied for, and was granted, emancipation.”

Patty admits that a love of reading helped her years of hard living and abuse on the streets.  “I spent every spare minute reading, hours upon hours in the coolness of the libraries in the various cities I hitchhiked to. No one ever questioned or bothered me in the libraries.”

Looking back 20 years, Patty reflects on her own children today.  “I never raised a hand to my children, never verbally abused them never called them names or hurt them with words because in my opinion the worst sin is to deliberately hurt others.  My youngest is 16, a straight-A student since kindergarten; and the oldest is an artistic freshman in college.

Yes, child abuse can be survived. But the biggest obstacle is trust. You never learn to trust anyone. Ever again. Ever. The hardest part of any relationship for me is learning how to trust someone.  I’ll never be able to trust easily.”

“Someday I’ll be alone again.”

Thanks Patty. Tell me your adoption story here!

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New Children’s Book ‘Vegan is Love’ Teaches Benefits of Vegetarianism

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Vegetarianism is good for all people, the planet and animals all over the world. Yup, a little radical but I believe most of that is true, in large part. While Veganism means not eating any eggs or fish — and I do believe growing children need some healthy proteins — there are great takeaway lessons in this book.

“Vegan Is Love is a childrens’ book, but at its core, it’s about democracy, supply and demand, and engaging ourselves in the public realm,” said author-illustrator Ruby Roth. “Fast food companies don’t think your kids are too young to be marketed to, agribusiness uses the word ‘sustainable’ to talk about GMOs, and marine parks and zoos want kids to believe they are conservationists. If you don’t educate your children, someone else will.”

In Vegan Is Love (North Atlantic Books), Roth teaches a new generation of young readers about choices and the personal agency of people—big and small—in creating a more sustainable, peaceful, and compassionate world. Vegan Is Love is the first complete guide to the vegan philosophy and lifestyle for children. It addresses the daily opportunities children have to protect animals, the environment, and people around the world. From the clothes we wear, to the products we buy, to the food we eat and the entertainment we choose, Roth shows young readers the far-reaching ethical and environmental rewards of vegan choices. It includes a back-of-the-book list of actions and resources to empower kids to be the change they wish to see in the world.

Author Ruby Roth is a Los Angeles-based activist, artist, writer, and former teacher whose children’s books have received international attention for their sensitive yet frank advocacy of a vegan diet and lifestyle. She has degrees in art and American Studies, and for nearly a decade has researched and spoken publicly on animal agriculture, health, nutrition, and the benefits of a vegan diet. Her first book That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, published by North Atlantic Books, has been praised by celebrities, leading activists and parents, as well as attacked by the likes of agribusiness executives.

Join me next week when we explore domestic adoption versus international adoption!

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Sexual Abuse Common in Foster Care

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

After reading a horrid news story about an 11-year-old Philadelphia girl who was repeatedly raped by an older foster brother, I began scouring records and state governmental agencies to glean stats on sexual abuse in foster homes across the country.

The most recent clinical studies I found were from 2005 — but many national adoption experts say that young kids are in jeopardy all over America  when they are placed in foster care. My family is seriously considering adopting a foster daughter through Los Angeles County in the future (for those of you just tuning in) and so this subject affects me deeply.

This in from adoption blogger Sharon: “Most of the girls that I deal with have been raped and molested in the foster homes that they were in,” said independent child advocate and blogger Sharon McGinley. An advocate for kids aging out of foster care, she says the system is broken, and that the people from group homes and kids caught in foster care situations are afraid that reporting this level of widespread sexual abuse in foster homes would jeopardize their federal funding.

If that’s not bad enough, early abuses may harm the overall health of that woman for the rest of her life: Women who were repeatedly sexually abused as girls have a 62 percent higher risk of heart problems  later in life compared with women who were not abused, U.S. researchers said on Sunday at the American Heart Association symposium.

Compared to women who weren’t molested or raped as children or teens, women who reported:

* Repeated episodes of forced sex in childhood or adolescence had a 62 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease as adults.
* Severe physical abuse in childhood or adolescence was associated with a 45 percent increased risk of cardiovascular events.

“The single biggest factor explaining the link between severe child abuse and adult cardiovascular disease was the tendency of abused girls to have gained more weight throughout adolescence and into adulthood,” said Janet Rich-Edwards, Sc.D., M.P.H., lead author of the study.

The team analyzed data from a study of more than 67,000 nurses. Nine percent of these women had reported severe physical abuse and 11 percent reported being raped in their childhood or adolescence.The team found that repeated episodes of forced sex in childhood or adolescence translated into a 62 percent higher risk of heart attacks and strokes later in life. Much of the increased risk was related to coping strategies such as overeating alcoholism and drug abuse.

Physical abuse also took a toll. Women who had been beaten in their youth had a 45 percent higher risk of heart trouble. Mild to moderate physical or sexual abuse was not associated with increased risk.

Stay tuned for more indignation!

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