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Friday, June 15th, 2012
Part 2: On Wednesday, I introduced you to reader Jenn, a spirited and dynamic mom who suffered eight miscarriages before she and husband Travis adopted son Isaac. Pictured at right, you’ll see a joyful Jenn, Travis and baby Isaac together at last.
Jenn’s career air force husband Travis, now 31, was then transferred south to a army base in southwest Missouri and they started life anew. Doctors discovered Jenn has a clotting disorder when she miscarried once again in Missouri.
Jenn said, “We had three more positive pregnancy tests. On the final one, in January 2010, my husband was in the kitchen getting ready for work while I took another pregnancy test. Years of mood swings and injectable fertility drugs, the monitoring appointments, the scheduled sex, rising betas, falling betas, and the pain of the miscarriages and procedures.
The Story of Isaac (the best Father’s Day gift of all)
On Wednesday, we tuned into Jenn’s amazing faith and fortitude and love for her military husband as they battled for a baby of their own.
Jenn herself is adopted, and so is her little brother. That is generations of healthy adoptions at work.
After eight miscarriages, a family of broken hearts and the physical abuse of painful miscarriages, Jenn and Travis spoke with fertility experts and decided to stop trying. Jenn said, “He encouraged us to take time off, pursue adoption and get our joy back somehow. We spent months grieving the little things.”
After several months, the dynamic and upbeat couple began researching adoption agencies. Jenn said, “I’m so grateful that my husband was willing to pursue adoption with me. I know several couples who have done fertility treatments, only to find out their husbands will not adopt.”
“Many people struggle to find peace living childless.”
We decided that we wanted a private, domestic adoption, and found an adoption program that was customized to that. We had a failed match a few months after we went active with our agency in December 2010, and were matched again with our son’s birth parents in mid-July 2011.
Isaac was born July 29, 2011.
The birth parents chose us in a private adoption largely based on our air force background. The birth father had served four years in the military and knew the large support system we would have. We are blessed.”
Tell me your story of adoption here. Jenn made my day — how about you? To all the great dads I know, happy Father’s Day.
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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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Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
A new report depicts just how extensively adoption in the United States has changed over the last several decades – from a period enshrouded in secrecy to today’s “open” domestic adoptions, cases where the two families involved maintain an ongoing emotional relationship.
The report from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, “Openness in Adoption: From Secrecy and Stigma to Knowledge and Connections,” disseminates stats and adoption information from a survey of 100 agencies.
Their key findings:
- “Closed” infant adoptions have shrunk to approximately 5 percent, with 40 percent of adoptions now “mediated” and 55 percent “open”
- 95 percent of agencies now offer open adoptions.
- Adoptive parents, like most participants in open adoptions, report more positive experiences. More openness is also associated with greater satisfaction with the adoption process.
- Women who have placed their infants for adoption and can sustain some level of bonding report less grief, as well as more peace of mind.
- The primary beneficiaries of openness are adopted kids themselves because of access to birth relatives, emotional support and medical histories.
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute said in a report last month that the new norm is for birthparents considering adoption is to meet with prospective adoptive parents and pick the new family themselves.
“The degree of openness should be tailored to the preferences of the individual participants,” said Chuck Johnson of the National Council for Adoption, which represents over 50 adoption agencies. “It points to the huge importance of the right people being matched with each other.”
The Donaldson Institute said most participants find open adoptions a positive experience. In general, the report said, “Adoptive families are more satisfied with the adoption process and birth mothers experience less regret and worry.”
There are still widespread myths and misconceptions about open adoption. Do you have any?
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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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Friday, April 13th, 2012
If you tuned in on Wednesday, you met ballsy blogger Andrea Fox [at right] from Boston who began her adoption journey with the love of her life husband Bill. She wrote to us, “I didn’t meet the man I was supposed to marry until late in life. I consider myself quite a traditionalist, so I didn’t want to have children until I got married – to the right guy.
I found the right guy – Bill – when I was 41 and we got married exactly one year after we met. Having both come from large families, we wanted our children to be surrounded by siblings. Cognizant of our age, we realized that it might not be possible to achieve this biologically, so we planned on growing our family both biologically and through adoption,” Andrea told me.
When the couple visited fertility specialist, they were given a less than 1% chance of success, so they dove headfirst into international adoption instead! She said, “Two weeks after we got the news, I feverishly plunged right into adoption paperwork. We signed up with an international adoption agency, had our dossier completed in two months, and one month later we got the call that we had been matched.
We were ecstatic, yet on the way to the agency the following day, I broke down and sobbed uncontrollably, and didn’t stop for one week before realizing that I just wasn’t ready to adopt. With the help of the adoption agency, I found an adoption/infertility counselor who helped me to see that I hadn’t given myself a chance to grieve my infertility. After an agonizing decision-making process Bill and I decided to withdraw from our international adoption. Even though I was faced with yet another year or so of postponing motherhood, we all knew it was the right thing to do for everyone involved.
Bill and I gave ourselves several months to adjust to the fact that we would not become biological parents. We took mini-trips, had family gatherings and did some renovations on our house, all the while attending infertility counseling.
When we both felt ready to start adoption again, it took just five months from signing with a domestic adoption agency to getting the call that would change our lives forever. A birth mother and a baby were waiting for us to meet them seven states away. Cricket was born several weeks early and weighed a slight two pounds, three ounces. Her birth mother and I bonded instantly, talking effortless on the phone during the 15-hour drive. By the time we met in the lobby of the hospital we felt like we knew each other already,” Andrea told us.
On Sunday, March 9 2008 at 8:20 pm, Andrea held daughter “Cricket” for the first time.
Andrea said, “Cricket’s birth mother led us to her crib in the Neo-Natal Progressive Care Unit. She noticed that I was hesitant to pick her up, so she picked up Cricket, told me to sit down and placed her in my arms, taking the very first picture of us as a family. As I looked down into my daughter’s eyes, a myriad of emotions washed over me, none of which included regret at having waited so long to become a mom. The only thing that was important in my life was loving and protecting this beautiful, fragile, tiny child.”
Hurray, thanks for sharing your beautiful and inspiring of international adoption, mom blogger Andrea Fox. Read all about it on her site, and keep those stories coming to me!
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