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Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
Mom Blogger Andrea Fox from Boston, Mass., got my attention when she responded so positively to a former post on “The Adoption Diaries” on the day I confessed that I (more than my family, I personally) wanted to adopt an international toddler daughter based on the off chance, on the sickening perchance, that my biological son Sam dies early. He’s only six.
Whatever you think about that, how incredibly selfish that sounds now, Andrea wrote back that she was feeling the exact same way about her sole adopted child, a daughter she adopted four years ago when she was already 44 years young. Andrea she she might consider adopting another kid just in case the first one well… you know what we mean! It’s horrifying to consider.
She wrote to me, “Oh my gosh, I thought I was the only adoptive mother in the world who thought about adoption number two in case my daughter died. Thanks for writing that line. So honest! Whether it’s a selfish or pragmatic reason to have another child, I’m just glad I’m not the only mother in the world who has had this morbid thought…”
We got to talking, and Andrea, 48, had this to say about her own adoption journey: “While many couples are postponing parenthood for career, travel, or advanced college degrees, the reason I became a first-time mom at 44 is quite simple: 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.
Shortly after we got married, we went to a fertility specialist who told us that our chances of becoming parents biologically were less than 1% and that fertility treatments were not an option. No one was more aware of my ‘advanced maternal age’ than I was, so I was neither surprised nor disheartened – or so I thought at the time.”
Tune in on Friday when Andrea journals in Part 2 about her battle with infertility and also about her own adoption journey along with the love of her life, husband Bill.
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Monday, April 9th, 2012
Does your Tween or Teen sext? Prospective parents, potential adoptive parents have to be especially careful about this necause so many older children in the foster care system are already aware of their sexuality. A new National Poll on children’s health ] measures public opinion about legislation addressing teens who send sexually explicit messages.
Sexting – sending sexually explicit, nude, or semi-nude photos by cell phone – has become a national concern, especially when it involves children and teens. A new poll shows that the vast majority of adults do not support legal consequences for teens who sext. Seventeen states have already enacted laws to address youth sexting and another 13 states have pending legislation in 2012 that focuses on sexting.
The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health recently asked adults across the United States for their opinions about youth sexting and sexting legislation. The poll found that the vast majority, 81 percent, of adults think an educational program or counseling is an appropriate consequence for teens who sext. Most adults also favor similar non-criminal programs: 76 percent of adults think schools should give all students and parents information on sexting, and 75 percent of adults support requiring community service for sexting teens.
In contrast, most adults do not favor legal consequences for minors who sext other minors. About one-half, 44 percent, support fines less than $500 for youth sexting, while 20 percent or fewer think that sexting should be treated as a sex crime, or that teens who sext should be prosecuted under sexual abuse laws.
“As youth sexting has become more of a national concern, many states have acted to address the issue. However, before this poll, very little was known about what the public thinks about sexting legislation,” says Matthew M. Davis M.D., M.A.P.P., Director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, Associate Professor in the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the U-M Medical School.
“This poll indicates that, while many adults are concerned about sexting among children and teenagers, they strongly favor educational programs, counseling, and community service rather than penalties through the legal system,” says Davis.
The poll also asked adults who they think should play a role in addressing the problem of youth sexting. Almost all adults, 93 percent, believe parents should have a major role. Many adults also believe that teens themselves, 71 percent, and schools, 52 percent, should have a major role in addressing youth sexting.
Do you have experience with sexting in your family? Read the fascinating study here, and then tell me your happy or inspiring adoption story here!
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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!
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Monday, January 16th, 2012
Nine years ago, Linda and Tom from South Carolina came to the conclusion that their home and their hearts were big enough — joyful and loving enough — to adopt siblings from Russia via international adoption.
Mom Linda told me, “From the time we selected the region to adopt from, until the time we got the girls was only nine months. However, we initially tried to adopt from a different region in Russia and spent an additional fruitless nine months doing that so it was a total of 18 months.”
Just like the USA, different states throughout Russia have different adoption laws and very specific requirements.”But the Ministry of Education actually oversees adoption in Russia, not the social agencies. To go with an accredited Russian agency would have added $30K per child – and we always intended to bring home two,” said Linda.
The siblings at the time were biological sisters considered ‘”hard to place” because there were three of them: ages 3, 5 and 7 and because the middle child had medical issues.
For those in the know, “hard to place” children or those with special needs actually cost less to adopt in most international cases!
Today, Linda says, “When we brought them home nearly nine years ago come May, it began as a journey of faith and it continues to be so since our daughters are now all teens (or nearly teens). They are 11, 13 and 15 with fast approaching birthdays!”
Linda and Tom were older parents (47 and 48) when adoptions were finalized. Once you are over 45, international adoptions become much stricter on the age of the child you are allowed to adopt.
Linda also said, “The adoption was final on our 10th wedding anniversary.”
Linda approximates all told the international adoption of three girls reached close to $80,000. She started counting for me and we lost track quite quickly!
Linda said, “From beginning to end with legal notarizations, medical forms, local and all federal criminal background checks with fingerprinting, INS fingerprints and background checks, home study letters from the water and sewer company that our house could withstand three additional people…”
And then Linda remembered all those medical forms! “Tons of medical forms with regular updates as the clock ticked over those nine months of waiting, and then more letters even from our veterinarians saying our pets were up to date with their vaccinations… you name it, we had to have a form for it or invent one for it… the list was exhaustive.
“Then, airfare for both of us twice and again for all five of us to return to the USA… hotel lodging fees for two trips into Russia, the agency fee for this side of the adoption and the fee for the US facilitator and a donation to the orphanage… all of that was about $30K of ‘legitimate adoption expenses’ that we could take as a credit off income taxes. Of course, that does not take into account ] income loss for being out of the country for 2 1/2 weeks for the first trip and another three weeks the second time.”
Linda said, “Every day brings new adventures. And for me, the grand prize is our daughters being happy and being able to embrace every opportunity that life presents for them. They are such a special joy for my husband and I.”
And worth every cent, of course.
Photo credit: At right, Linda and Thom are shown with Rachel, Rebekah and Sarah. Please send me your inspirational tale of adoption too!
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Friday, December 16th, 2011
After four years of infertility, Jessica and Greg from Arizona were shocked when a social worker put their adoption plans on hold because Greg was deployed for 10 months. All the paperwork and home study and hard work…
Jessica said, “We fought tooth and nail to become certified. Our social worker demanded we see a counselor and psychologist who both told her that they saw no reason why we could not pursue adoption. Here I was a new Army wife with a husband that was about to leave for 10 months. Would we end up in divorce, like she said, because military divorce rates are the highest?”
After basic training, Greg went to Officer Candidate School and then he left for basic training in June and wasn’t set to come home until April. Greg was still in basic training when Jessica got a call of a newborn girl becoming available to them for via adoption.
“The day I was suppose to leave for Greg’s graduation was the day she was born. I hadn’t seen my husband for 10 weeks and I felt torn. Deep down, I had this bad feeling that something was going to go wrong and all I wanted was to see Greg.”
That adoption did fail for many reasons, and the couple moved onto private adoption with an expensive attorney who accepted the military family’s new circumstances. “We began working with him in the beginning of April and we were matched by the end of May. I do not recommend networking on your own… it is a roller coaster ride. Friends and family would tell us about every possible adoption situation, there were nine possible matches, but none came to fruition.”
The couple began working with yet another adoption agency because the attorney moved too slowly. “Through our journey, I learned that there are a lot of agencies and lawyers who view expectant couples and prospective adoptive couples as dollar signs and nothing else. Adoption should be about the unborn child and finding him or her loving parents not how much money will be made once the baby is born,” said Jessica.
They began the private adoption process in November of 2009. We were certified on July 14, 2010 and baby Elle was born July 12, 2011…exactly one year later. “My husband and I were in complete awe when we saw our daughter for the first time. I will never forget seeing her in for the first time and thinking she was the most beautiful, tiny baby.”
“We knew at that moment that every tear and all the heartache we endured didn’t matter anymore. She was our heart’s cry and because of her, we were parents.”
The brave couple, photographed on right with Elle, is now expecting baby number two via private adoption, and Jessica writes about her journey on her own blog.
I want to thank Thea Ramirez of Adoption Share for introducing me to Jessica and also for helping other families find their child through private adoption.
Who else has a great adoption story for Parents.com?
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