Posts Tagged ‘ international adoption ’

Actress Nia Vardalos Adopts Daughter from Foster Care

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Part 2: If you joined us Monday, we interviewed the star of An American Girl: McKenna Shoots For The Stars, which just launched on DVD. Gorgeous Greek actress Nia Vardalos finally plays a mother in the movies.

At first Vardalos and her husband were interested in an international adoption – but they waited over five years on a Chinese international adoption for a young daughter. Simultaneously, she also waited for four long years for a Greek daughter . Then, nothing.

Two years went by, then three, four and even five years of waiting for an international adoption.

Four years ago, Nia signed up with a US Foster Care agency. Vardalos said, “Ultimately when I started working with American Foster Care, we met our daughter nine months later.”

She remembers the day about four years ago: “We were really excited when we met her for the first time. She was being brought to an office to meet us. She didn’t know who we were. She was almost three years old, but the agency does a really nice thing; they don’t tell the child they are meeting prospective parents. It’s called a chemistry meeting. We all just have fun.”

The thrilled couple drove into the parking garage of the agency, and she was there. Vardalos said, “We walked toward her and my first thought was, ‘Oh I found you. Finally, finally, finally. We never looked back.’”

Vardalos’ daughter is 7 now, and the actress refuses to reveal her name or a full-frontal photograph [see photo above].  “We want to give her a normal life.”

Vardalos believed the hardest part of the adoption process was waiting for her gorgeous girl but also making sure she was then comfortable and well-loved when she finally arrived. “We wanted to be sure our daughter knew this was a continuation of her life. And assimilating a 3-year-old into our house was emotional. We had just bought a white couch a month before. Mistake.”

Vardalos said, “I became a much more nurturing person – also as an actress – since I became a mother. I think every parent wonders how to balance motherhood and work, time for me and my friends and keeping up on FaceBook and exercise. How do we do it all? Parenthood is just so real.”

Tell us your adoption story here, and thanks to actress Nia Vardalos for sharing her domestic adoption experiences.

Add a Comment

Happy Father’s Day: Military Dad Adopts New Son

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.

 

Add a Comment

Helping Adopted Kids Be Happy and Secure

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

As most of you know, my family has finally narrowed down our adoption journey to either looking into a less expensive domestic adoption here through Los Angeles County, becoming foster parents to a multi-racial toddler in need, and waiting less time to adopt. Our other option — our clear preference — is an international adoption with a fantastic Indian Agency in India, where we’ll have to put down $15,000 to simply start the Home Study process rolling. We’d then need another $20,000 to keep that adoption ball rolling and we’d still have to wait years to bring her home anyway.

Here’s the cold, hard truth:  If we had an extra $50,000 lying around, we’d already have a foster daughter in our home. Sometimes that fact kills me but the better, more yogic side of my mommyhood says that all things happen for a reason, that our delay is just part of the adoption journey and maybe we are supposed to wait for a baby. (In a few years she won’t be a baby anymore, that factoid kills me too.)

So while my family waits and waits, fills out some paperwork and keep blaming each other for not saving enough money, not making enough money (blah blah blah I am sick of us already), we forget one thing: Waiting for a kid is not even half the battle. What happens when we finally can adopt either a foster child with some problems (ie: fetal alcohol syndrome, for instance) or maybe even wait for a little Indian girl who is special needs or has been sitting in a sterile Indian orphanage for five years getting less attached, less happy…

Once we have a kid, how do we keep her happy after such a hard start in life?

Author Maureen Healy, an emotional health and parenting expert, says in “Growing Happy Kids: How to Foster Inner Confidence, Success, and Happiness (HCI Books)” there are a few things every prospective parents can do:

  • Build Confidence Daily (even for 5 minutes): The everyday things we do with our children that help them feel stronger, and happier no matter if they’ve been adopted or in process.
  • Get Them Moving: Children need to move their bodies and get their energy released in a healthy way. Because physical activity, eating right, and a good night’s rest are the biological basis of your child’s emerging sense of self-confidence.
  • Get Inspired: Do something inspiring together whether it is going to see magnificent waterfalls, flying a new kite on the beach or learning hula-hooping. By doing something that lights your child up, they learn how to build a new skill and you’ll see their confidence soar.
  • Create an Uplifting Space: Decorate your child’s space so they see happy photos of themselves, their awards displayed, goals (or vision board) hung up and they have their favorite things all around them.

Tell me what you do while waiting for your new adopted family member!

Add a Comment

Jillian Michaels and Partner Adopt Daughter from Haiti

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

This beautiful daughter bonding photograph of NBC’s former Biggest Loser top trainer Jillian Michaels spotted running mommy errands with newly adopted daughter, Lukensia, at a farmer’s market in Malibu this weekend. We were right down the street. And pretty envious.

It’s certainly been a busy month for the former star and her younger girlfriend Heidi Rhoades who also also gave birth to a son, Phoenix, on May 3 here in Los Angeles. I’m nearly positive Jillian adopted Lu as a single mom because Haiti is very conservative about who adopts from their country. They do not allow gay people to adopt at this time.

In fact, my husband and I looked into adopting from Haiti two years ago, we even started the paperwork on adopting internationally from Haiti, and immediately ran into trouble. We could not adopt from Haiti for three huge reasons, and yet Jillian Michaels can adopt as a lesbian.

  1. We were too old.
  2. My husband has a chronic health condition they could not overlook.
  3. We’re not half as rich as Jillian Michaels.
  4. We could not prove our church affiliation!

Really, that last one is ludicrous — at least to me. Haiti and the adoption agencies that work in Haiti are very Catholic organizations, and needed proof and comments about our fitness for parenthood from our very own church affiliation.

Needless to say, my Jewish husband and I (zero church affiliations) stopped the paperwork, and we began to examine and re-think adopting from another country with less restrictions, more specifically India. We’re progressing into an international adoption with an Indian daughter.

Jillian Michaels has said she waited two years for her daughter Lu, and we’ve been waiting a lot longer than that. I wonder… if we had big cash $$$ like Jillian Michaels, would our adoption wait be cut in half?

Tell me your adoption story here, and many happy wishes to Lu, Jillian Michaels and their new  insta-family. Thank goodness for Lu, and one less hungry orphan in Haiti.

Add a Comment

Making Inspiring Art for Adopted Kids

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Lisa Barbero an artist and avid reader of The Adoption Diaries here on Parents.com sent me the map, at right. She said, “I’ve loved reading your blog. Your honest and heartfelt perspective on parenting and adoption are wonderful.

Just thought I’d drop a line to tell you about the art I make and how it’s begun to catch the eyes of many adoptive parents. I make custom skylines and country maps from all over the world. Parents have taken to commissioning me to make representations of their adopted countries otherwise obscure hometowns, especially those which may be in tucked away little villages in places like China or Eastern Europe.”

Recently Lisa was asked to create a large scale poster of Ethiopia [see at right] for a family adopting a son from there. I’m also currently working on South Korea and the Ukraine for other adoptive families who want to bring their new, adopted children into a home where their parents respect and recognize their own countries too. I think that’s an amazing and gracious idea!

Lisa said, “I am honored to get the opportunity to make these unique pieces of art, which can not only provide a special sentiment to the room of any child, but especially to those coming from other countries. The introduction of that special little boy or girl into their new home can be made that much more comfortable by seeing a familiar part of their former home on their nursery walls. So, I thought there must be many more children out there who could be helped in their adoption transitions as well.”

If you or yours are expecting a new foster child or an adopted kid into your home any time in the future, commission Lisa to create beautiful, vibrant art that will make them feel loved, welcomed and nurtured. Thanks for reading, Lisa, and stay in touch!

Tell me your own adoption story here.

Add a Comment