Posts Tagged ‘ child adoption ’

Have a Play Date with Nature and Your Kid

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Calling all prospective parents: Sometimes I happen upon a post that’s not so tailored just for the adoption marketplace,  and this is one of those too-good all-natural posts that’s really perfect for all families.

In trying to plan our long afternoons off from first grade — the kid gets out before 3 pm, for goodness sake, I was happy to receive tips from the National Wildlife Federation in conjunction with research from North Carolina State University, which developed a thoughtful guide to creating enticing outdoor play spaces as close as a patio or balcony.

A “Guide to Nature Play Spaces” can help transform playgrounds, schoolyards, childcare centers, museums and zoos into spaces where kids can connect, play and learn.

The idea behind a nature play space is that instead of the standard metal and plastic structures that make up the bulk of today’s playgrounds, you can incorporate the surrounding landscape and vegetation to bring nature todaily outdoor play and learning environments.

  • Gather natural materials like sticks, leaves, and grasses to use in imaginative play. The simplest nature play consists only of gathering some of nature’s “loose parts” already present in a yard.
  • Collect  branches, logs, sticks, and rope to build a fort, hideout or den.
  • Use a hollow log, planter or corner of the yard to make a miniature scale fairy village. These become enchanted places that stimulate creative, make-believe settings.
  • Plant or pot colorful, textured spices like rosemary, lavender and thyme to make a sensory garden.
  • Set up small stumps of various heights that children can step across for learning balancing skills.
  • Help with garden tasks like planting, watering and harvesting provide hands-on play and learning opportunities. Parents indicate they want their kids to experience nature, but it can be difficult to find an opportunity that fits a busy schedule,” said Allen Cooper, Senior Education Manager for National Wildlife Federation.

Log onto the  Nature Play at Home Guide and start digging in the dirt, regardless of your outdoor space. Even patios and balconies provide opportunities for kids to connect with nature.

Do you have an inspiring adoption story for me? Comment below.

 

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“I Am Living Proof Adoption Works”

Friday, September 7th, 2012

That’s the line Audrey wrote to me last month that totally got my attention. We sent a few emails back-and-forth and here is the story of abalanced adult who was also a happy, healthy adopted kid. She tells it better than I can.

Audrey said, “I am living proof that adoption works. I was only in foster care about five months before placement, adopted as an infant after my birth mother made the wonderful decision to give me up.

My birth mother was an honor college student in nursing school in South Carolina.  I commend the social worker who placed me with my parents,  an elementary school teacher (Mom) and a grocery store owner (Dad now deceased) in a rural community near Charleston.

I grew up an only child, wanting for nothing, with lots of love and firm discipline. My parents were very open with me that I was adopted, and explained this to me since the age of four. So, I grew up knowing that I was adopted. I was a member of the National Honor Society, the marching bank and my 10th grade class president.

I went on to  graduate from high school with honors and attended college  majoring in psychology. In 1985, during my senior year of college while at the University of South Carolina, I went to the adoption agency that had my records and obtained non-identifying information regarding my own adoption. I had a longing to know who I looked like. My parents were awesome, but there was still a missing piece to my life puzzle.

I was able to locate my birth mom and able to meet my biological dad. My maternal grandmother died last month and I am one of 22 grandchildren! During the years I got to know my own grandma, she shared so much wisdom with me. She also explained the household circumstances why I was placed for adoption. It was very evident that I was always loved. It was an economical decision and one that would give me the best life possible.

The end? I am so richly blessed. I also have two wonderful, beautiful, loving, educated and spiritual mothers.”

Thanks for your awesome adoption story, Audrey. Please Comment below if you have another one!

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Happy Labor Day Wishes for all Adopted Kids

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Moms and dads endure plenty of stress between work, keeping up with the family obligations, not to mention the anxiety of adoption, filling out all those forms, the huge financial burden, and then also the simple waiting and waiting for your beloved child who is growing older in a home or orphanage somewhere. You cannot kiss them good night or hold them when they get a cut or scrape.

Waiting to just make an adoption decision (domestic versus international, for instance) gets nerve-wracking. Take it from me.

Could this tumultuous waiting/hoping and false starting be bad for your health?

New research says, “Yes.” Mental stress can be more damaging to a woman’s heart than her male counterpart. But local cardiologists say learning how to cope will ensure mom is around to celebrate many more mother’s days to come.

Studies show coping with mental pressures and anxiety may be more taxing on the heart health of women.

The study, presented at a recent annual Experimental Biology meeting, showed men and women given the same stressful math problem all had an increase in blood pressure and heart rate while solving it. Normally, when heart rate and blood pressure rise, blood flow to the heart muscle increases so it can compensate. However, findings showed while the mens’ heart increased blood flow, the womens’ heart did not.

With many mothers overextending themselves, local cardiologists say stress management is a key factor in maintaining a healthy heart. “Stress reduction is important for everyone. This study suggests women especially need to monitor their stress to avoid heart problems. And, women who have heart-related symptoms while under stress, need to tell their doctor right away,” says Jeffrey Rothfeld M.D., F.A.C.C., a cardiologist at Bradenton Cardiology Center.

Studies of heart attack patients found that 15 to 30 percent of those admitted to a medical center had suffered from severe emotional stress. Below are some common triggers that can affect mothers at all stages of adoption and child-rearing:

As we celebrate a long weekend with our families, take the time to de-stress and take a day off of worrying about your adoption journey.

My family and I decided to take the summer off and re-think our adoption journey, because our finances are so tight we really cannot afford to adopt internationally any longer. We are in the middle of a long road to international and money has officially begun to run out.

As you enter or move through the world of adoption do you get totally stressed out like me? Tell me about it in Comments below.

 

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Protect Your Kids from Sexual Abuse

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

As my family and I dive into the whirlwind of domestic adoption and begin looking into a domestic adoption of an older kid from the Los Angeles foster care system, I’ve been surfing stats trying to figure out the odds of inheriting an older child that’s been abused in some way, Chances are, unfortunately very high if the kid is older than 11.

We’ve narrowed the age down to looking for a foster kid under 3 but the sex abuse thing continues to haunt me because we have one very healthy beautiful bio son who I would never hurt in a million years. We’d never bring a child into our home if we thought that new kid would someday hurt Sam. So I looked up several agencies to get the stats and they are not only worrisome, but they warm all parents about the common abuses of children everyone, and not just kids from foster care.

Child abuse in schools, homes, public places, it’s everywhere.

Good advice about what every parent can do to protect all kids from sex abuse:

•    Encourage children to respect the comfort and privacy of others. Teach children about privacy and respect.

•    Be cautious with playful touch, such as play fighting and tickling. These may be uncomfortable or scary reminders of sexual abuse to some children.

•    Help children learn the importance of privacy. Remind children to knock before entering bathrooms and bedrooms, and encourage children to dress and bathe themselves if they are able.

•    Keep adult sexuality private. Teenage siblings may need reminders about what is permitted in your home when boyfriends and girlfriends are present.

•    Be aware of and limit sexual messages received through the media. Children who have experienced sexual abuse can find sexual content disturbing. It may be helpful to monitor music and music videos, as well as television programs, video games, and movies containing nudity or sexual language.

•     Limit access to grown-up magazines and monitor children’s Internet use.

This is from the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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3 Adopted Kids Raped and Abused

Friday, August 17th, 2012

When I first discovered this horror house in Ohio and originally reported the abuse of three young kids who not only had been raped by their adopted foster dad, but he prostituted his new kids out and a few of his depraved adult male friends also raped and abused the two young boys and a sister, all under 13.

This is one of those strange and awful true stories that takes on a life of its own, and I received so many comments back from all of the readers of The Adoption Diaries. Below, I offer you two of the most thought-provoking responses to the idea that this foster home was not investigated properly to safeguard these three innocent and wounded children.

This letter from Jeff who was also horrified — like me — that the three kids were living in his house of horror long enough to be adopted. (All three are in new foster homes FYI, and all three rapists will go to jail for a long, long time).

Jeff said, “By no means am I defending this man or the other two involved with this sickness…  But the three men involved  are not the only issue here. Why isn’t anyone holding the private adoption agency accountable?  Where were all the background  check that should have been done repeatedly? And why wasn’t there any mention of social workers doing home visits? Yes, I agree these men should be justly dealt with. But, as you know, our justice system isn’t the best thing going.  We live in a country that has become so relaxed on the issues that should be our biggest concerns and yet those issues that should be our least on the ones that our most looked at.”

And from reader Jamie who’s been in the foster care system in the USA: “This story is very sad but what I didn’t see was the obvious factor, deception. Foster parents are interviewed extensively and, in Illinois anyway, require references, a physical exam, and criminal background checks. The fact of the matter is, a predator can and will hide. Like Sandusky, we are talking about a type of person who has learned for years and years how to play people and say what is needed to get what he wants. There are very few warning signs for these types of people.”

Jamie from Illinois continued, “In Illinois, foster care and adoption workers are required to visit licensed homes at least once a month. They are required to talk to the children alone as well. The only thing that we should focus on and can focus on is what can we do to help. What can we change in the system to make it more stringent?”

Thanks readers, what else can we do to help child abuse in the foster system?

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