Posts Tagged ‘ NAtional Adoption MOnth ’

Holidays are Stressful for Waiting Adoptive Parents

Friday, November 30th, 2012

domestic adoption of an older childMy family began searching for a younger sibling to add to our biological son Sam, who is six. My beautiful, sensitive, social smart kid began begging for a little sister when he was four years old and caused our family to reconsider only child status. I only ever wanted one kid because I love my work and travel to exotic places.

I married later in life and felt too independent to be tied down every single night with more than one child. Sam is easy and fun now at six years old — but it gets sort of boring too, doesn’t it? Parenting, I mean?

Anyway, at four years, Sam craved a sister and my husband agreed 100 percent and was never shy about his emotional need for a daughter; he thinks children should grow up with sibs and his friends are his sister and brother.

I only wanted Sam–he is perfect — why jinx it? At 45-ish, I don’t have an overwhelming urge to be pregnant again, although I loved every moment the first time around.

We began wanting another child for Sam, which is a pretty inappropriate reason — right? Have a kid for your kid? Bad reasoning, I know, I know.

But then a year rolled around of searching for international agencies we wanted to work with and plunk down an initial fee of about $15,000 for an international adoption of a toddler female. We were quickly ruled out of China and several Asian countries because we are too old. Then, we began narrowing our country search and learning about the Hague Convention and wanting to engage only with a country that has protective rules in place to safeguard against child trafficking.

And then, the recession hit.

Attention, parents: Sam no longer wants or needs a sister at all. In fact, Sam can’t stand the thought of girl toys and girlie pink clothes in his closet; the two would have to  share a room.

Now, only a new boy will do. Changes everything. Darrin’s not as ecstatic about another boy, he already has one of those. But a tiny little girl to call his own hmmm, that changes things for us.

Stop. My kid who wants a kid now will only accept a little brother into our family. I wonder if we look flaky to a potential adoption agency because we’ve begun reconsidering the most basic move into adoption: a boy or girl!

During the holidays as we re-think past decisions and make plans for the future, what direction do you want to take toward adoption? Will you adopt this year? One slow step forward and… ?

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A Drug-Free America for all Children

Friday, November 16th, 2012

If you’ve tuned in for the last few months, you know that there’s a much higher rate of alcohol abuse and drug use among foster children in America. It makes a prospective adoptive parents reconsider how old a child they are willing to bring into the home, for istance. When you begin foster-care training to adopt a domestic kid out of foster care, part of your scary training is how to handle the emotional tribulations with a drug-addled baby. How sad.

To celebrate a drug-free American and help more kids get adopted out of foster care: The National Family Partnership® (NFP)  is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country. In 1985 after the murder of a DEA agent, parents, youth and teachers in communities across the country began wearing Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the destruction caused by drugs.

This year, families got involved by entering a contest to promote awareness in their neighborhoods and win a drug prevention grant for their schools.

Ten lucky winners from regions across the U.S. will be announced at events at their winning schools in December.  Students bring the Red Ribbon Week® message home by working alongside parents to decorate their front doors, mailboxes, fence, etc. with this year’s theme “The Best Me Is Drug Free.”

Do you ever talk to your young kids about drugs? And if you are a foster parents with experience fostering kids with problems, contact me here, and tell me your story!

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Part 2: An Open Adoption Letter from a New Mom

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Author Lori Holden asks other parents about the benefits of open adoption over closed, domestic adoption. “The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole” (Rowman & Littlefield  2013) answers questions that benefit all prospective parents:

What are the benefits to those involved, and what are the costs?

And what are the biggest fears most families have about an open adoption?

Lori said, “In listening to people from all walks of adoption (adoptive parents, first parents, adult adoptees) while researching and writing my book, the prime fear I hear from adopting parents is that they’ll never be considered the ‘real’ parent. That they feel like as much distance as possible needs to be put between their newly-formed family and the not-so-convenient spare parent out there ready and wanting to rapaciously take over.

This fear is at the root of much dysfunctional thinking and acting in open adoption relationships. But though simple awareness of that fear, it can be examined and resolved, and this type of thinking is like splitting the baby. Remember that Solomon tale? The wise king knew how to tease out the ‘real” mother when two women came to him claiming the same baby. When his “solution” was to split the baby in half, thereby sharing it with both claimants, the “real’ mother would be the one to do whatever it takes to keep the baby whole and well, even if it meant loss to her.

Adoption creates a split between a child’s biology and biography. Openness is an effective way to heal that split. That’s the premise of my book. Your child’s biology comes from one set of parents and his biography gets written by another set. Both are important to that child. Both make that child who he is, who he will be.

Why not allow – encourage — children to do the same with multiple parents? Does loving my son take anything away from my daughter? That would be ridiculous. Likewise, enabling my children to love me for my contributions and their birth moms for their contributions takes away nothing from me.

“I’m so glad you asked about fear in adoption, Nicole.”

For I’m confident that even deeper than the fear that birth parents will reclaim the child they birthed and placed (which rarely happens in ethically-done adoptions) is the fear that the adopting parents will never themselves feel legitimate due to a competing claim on the child. That’s a fear that adopting parents can examine and resolve mindfully.”

Well said, Lori, I’m buying the book! Tell me your adoption story here:

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Adoption News Flash on “Open Adoptions”

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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Male Foster Child Sexually Abuses Bio Child in New Home

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

As a mom who has one biological son named Sam (he’s six), this is my biggest fear potentially considering fostering a child through the Los Angeles County foster family protective services. This comes from the Los Angeles County supervisors who are pondering  whether to pay a half-million-dollar lawsuit settlement to a foster family.

In a county legal document commenting on the lawsuit, county officials wrote, “The certified foster parents allowed children to have unsupervised, unmonitored play behind closed doors resulting in the assault of a nine-year-old girl by a seventeen-year old boy.”

Through a spokesman, Principal Deputy County Counsel Lauren M. Black declined to say if the boy was criminally charged. The innocent  9-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by a 17-year-old county foster youth in her own home behind closed doors.

The little girl is the biological daughter of a certified foster parent, according to a county document. The alleged sexual assault occurred on May 30, 2009.

The document said all case-related work was in compliance with the policies of the Department of Children and Family Services, which oversees youths and children under county supervision, and there did not appear to be any countywide or other department implications because of the alleged sexual assault.

So far, the county has paid $223,072 in attorneys fees to defend against the suit. The discussion on whether to approve the $500,000 proposed settlement is scheduled to be made behind closed doors.

What do you think of this? Should the foster parents have been much more supervisory? Who can say in these cases?  I’d be on my toes with a 17-year-old foster boy in the house but we are also looking to foster a younger female but still…  It makes me and all foster parents shudder in fear…

Tell me your happy adoption or fostering story here!

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