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Friday, November 23rd, 2012
I found this great heartwarming local story from the East Coast about adopting on Thanksgiving, and it warms the cockles of my heart. Share with your own family this weekend, and Happy Thanksgiving.
The Rhode Island Family Court finalized the adoptions during a special ceremony held Saturday in Providence. More than 250 people attended the event presided over by Chief Judge Haiganush Bedrosian. He noted that the adoptions occurred Thanksgiving week and told adopting parents that is a perfect time to give thanks for their love for and commitment to the children they adopted.
Highlights from the ceremony include three siblings who were reunited as members of one family. Rhode Island performs about 500 adoptions a year, but about 300 children are still waiting for permanent homes. Teens, sibling groups and children with special needs are the hardest to place. Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Suttell also participated in Saturday’s celebration.
And then… More Fantastic Adoption News:
One hundred Orange County, Calif., foster care children were legally adopted just in time for Thanksgiving weekend. Even better, many were older kids, transracial teens and sibling groups which are typically much more difficult to place.
Currently, there are 56,138 children in foster care in California with 13,394 children waiting for adoptive families. Please share your happy Thanksgiving adoption stories with me here.
And then, even More Good Adoption News from Haiti:
In previous posts, I groused about being too old and cut out of the international adoption process in the country of Haiti, which was frustrating to my whole family. I received a supportive email from Diana Boni, the Haiti Program Coordinator of All Blessings International, where she told me to keep an open mind. She said, “We cannot change Haitian law regarding adoptive parent eligibility and age or length of marriage, but we will always accept families based upon their ability to parent, not their religious affiliation.
“There are a great many changes occurring in Haitian adoptions right now, but we believe that these changes will lead to a safer, more protected adoption process for the children of Haiti.”
Haiti Program Coordinator
All Blessings International
Monday, November 19th, 2012
The entire holiday season can be especially tough for families who struggle with issues like adoption, waiting for an international adoption, and also fertility issues. Dr. Jeffrey D. Fisch, Medical Director at the Sher Fertility Institute Las Vegas, offers his stress-reducing methods for all members of the waiting family.
He said, “So much of the season centers around family and children. It can be hard for waiting couples to be around other people’s kids when they are having trouble starting their own family.”
Here are five simple steps to help make the holiday season a time of anticipation and joy instead of anxiety and sadness:
1. Be proactive. Take charge of your own plans for the holidays–don’t overbook but don’t leave time to dwell on an empty nest, either. If you are having trouble conceiving on your own, speak to your physician or to a fertility specialist. If already in the process of adopting, but not yet successful, make a plan for the future to give you the strength to face the challenges of the season.
2. Keep busy. The less time you have to obsess about why it hasn’t worked yet, the better you will feel. Too much time online might not be a good thing. Get outside and be active. Increasing exercise and optimal health practices (ie: get enough sleep, do yoga for stress relief, etc) and eat healthfully.
3. Volunteer. This time of year many organizations need help. A small contribution of your time can help you feel useful and help to brighten someone else’s holiday. Thinking of others will take your mind and energy off of worrying about your own unfulfilled dream. Think “karma,” because if you do good things for others, good things will come to you, says Dr. Fisch.
4. Pamper yourself. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. At this time of year, remember that you deserve to be happy even if you are not pregnant yet. Treat yourself to a massage or to something special. Travel with your partner while you can; it gets harder once you have children.
5. Enjoy what you have. The holidays are supposed to be a happy time focused on the good things in our lives and on those close to us.
Give thanks for the friendships and family you do sustain all year long. Tell us in the comments below how you’re doing with your adoption this holiday season.
Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
Celebrations were kicked off with a Presidential Proclamation, and while efforts made at the national level certainly help build awareness of adoption, participation in local programs, events, and activities by those of us with a direct connection to adoption can often be the most effective way to promote positive perceptions, debunk the myths, and draw attention to the tens of thousands of children in foster care who wait and hope for permanent families.
How to find adoption celebrations: Promoting awareness can be done through planned events and campaigns, gatherings and celebrations, and simple everyday activities. These are all opportunities to educate ourselves and others about adoption and about issues surrounding adoption. Even one family for one child is a success.
During the rest of the month, states, communities, public and private organizations, businesses, families, and individuals celebrate adoption as a positive way to build families. Across the nation, activities and observances such as recognition dinners, public awareness and recruitment campaigns, and special events spotlight the needs of children who need permanent families. (It also includes National Adoption Day, traditionally a Saturday, which is observed in courthouses across the nation as thousands of adoptions are finalized simultaneously. It has also become a popular time to hold adoption fairs and conferences, plan political action events, and more.
At the very least, regardless of how far along you are on your down adoption journey, support and celebrate all of those kids waiting for their permanent homes.
One small thing all prospective adoptive parents can learn, me included, is try to use more positive adoption language. Using a healthier spin (avoid using emotional language, ie: “being put up for adoption” rather than having an adoption plan. By using positive adoption language, you’ll reflect the true nature of adoption, free of stereotypes.
What else will you do to celebrate National Adoption Month? What can you do to help?
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.
Friday, October 26th, 2012
There is a surge of births through surrogacy and Hollywood is taking notice. E! News host Guiliana Rancic has a son by a surrogate mother, born last month. Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick also have children born of a surrogate, just like actors Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban.
Crystal Travis has experienced the anguish of infertility herself and selected surrogacy as a solution. She said, “Every family has the right to realize their dreams of parenthood in an affordable and low stress way.” Travis and her husband have a son born in India, and a pair of twins born two years later of the same surrogate mother in India.
Because of their experience, Crystal Travis started a consulting service for intended parents.
Surrogacy costs about the same as adoption, but has an important benefit: The resulting baby has a genetic connection with one or both parents.
Choosing a surrogate mother in India is a fraction of the cost of surrogacy in the United States. But it can be difficult for prospective parents navigating their way through the paperwork and ensuring their baby gets good prenatal care. Travis has helped dozens of people become parents through surrogacy in India, overseeing the pregnancy, birth and homecoming every step of the way.
More than 25,000 babies are born through surrogate mothers in that country annually.
Travis launched her consulting business after the birth of her twins. “Surrogacy is a 2.3 billion dollar industry in India,” she says. She frequently travels to India to meet with attorneys and have personal contact with the doctors providing prenatal care and delivery.
A support staff in India makes frequent calls to check on the progress of each pregnancy, and the well-being of surrogate mothers. There are fewer laws regulating surrogacy in India, which contributes to the lower cost and faster results. But adoption experts warm you must do your homework and only sign with international agencies that follow the international human rights laws of the Hague Convention. (Countries that follow stricter adoption legislation are less likely to be involved in child trafficking and baby selling.)
What do you think of the surge on Hollywood surrogacy? It’s definitely every bit as expensive as an international adoption, FYI.