Posts Tagged ‘ NAtional Adoption MOnth ’

Part 1: International Indian Adoption Takes 2 Long Years

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

My friend Denise Imbesi began thinking about and then preparing for an international adoption nearly four years ago! She was single (at the time) and always wanted to be a mom. She is also a successful business owner and funded the nearly $20,000 ($10,000 plunked down to start).

She also highly recommends her Indian Agency/ IFS India Family Services because they ushered her painlessly through the process for two years!

She said, “They expained costs and paperwork along the way, and, yes, it felt like a big chunk of change to lay out with nothing to show for it for the first year or so, but the end product is worth it”

Denise went to India July 4th to pick up her 4-year-old daughter who she’s been trying to adopt for 2 years. She spent one week in India finalizing immigration, visa, etc. Denise said, “I was a nervous wreck and began crying the second I walked into the orphanage outside of Delhi. It was a beautiful building, clean and neat, with Mickey Mouse on the walls. There were 50+ orphans sleeping and living in one huge room, most of them girls under four. That was pretty sad because they had no parents but all seemed well-tended.

Jaya, 4 years old, looked so scared and she was wearing too-tight clothes and dirty shoes. She was in shock and frightened, she was petrified but she warmed up quickly and she began saying “mama” pretty quickly, and she fell asleep in Denise’s arms within 15 minutes of me holding her for the first time.”

“We stayed with our Indian liaison who told us everything to do to make her feel better. I toured her room of 50 beds lined up and some were cribs and some were obviously special needs kids, India’s special needs kids among the healthiest ones.

All the little kids were praying and saying ‘Namaste,’ and then the following day we took her through legal proceedings, filed final papers and took her to the hotel. Jaya spoke only Hindi and communication was difficult for the first few days. Lots of gesturing.”

Denise and her partner Sara found out the hard way that Jaya at 4 was never potty trained and she began crying as they left the only home she’d ever known. “Jaya was carsick, she’d never been in a car before. The trip home was trying for her but her life is better than it ever could ever be in India.”

Photo above: The first moment adoptive mother Denise (in white at right) met her new daughter, Jaya!

Tune in on Friday when Denise realizes that Jaya does not speak a single work of English!

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Adopting from Haiti? Still an International Nightmare

Friday, January 13th, 2012

I have a soft spot for the poor, neglected children orphaned in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. About six months ago, I visited the adjacent country of Dominican Republic and talked to natives there about the countless Haitians looking for work in neighboring cities. The situation is most terrible for the children.

Haiti has long been a nation of suffering. Here are the latest statistics I can find from certifying world bodies:

  1. Nearly 80% of Haitian lived in abject poverty.
  2. According to most Center for Disease Control stats, over 10% of the child population die before the age of 4 most often from malnutrition.
  3. Almost 7% of children were enslaved after the earthquake when one or more parents died.
  4. Today at least 45% of the Haitian population is illiterate.
  5. Following the catastrophic earthquake of January 2010, conditions are much worse for the Haitian people. Especially little ones.

Two years after the earthquake, tens of thousands of families still huddle under tarpaulins strung off of sticks and broken timbers in enormous tent camps, with no access to toilet facilities or potable water. Cholera has killed thousands. Families are shattered.  The need for effective and accountable aid for Haiti is greater than ever before. Things just keep  getting worse there.

All Blessings International is one adoption agency I’ve been in contact with that is proud to partner with Brebis de Saint Michele de L’Attalaye, or “BRESMA”, a Haitian orphanage with a long history of providing effective aid to Haitian children and their families.

In the past, it was common practice for families in the village of Castaches to send their children away to be servants/slaves in Port-au-Prince or other large cities, in the  vain hope that the wealthy families they served might provide them with some sort of education and steady supply of nutrients.

According to All Blessings, my family is not able to adopt from this poor illiterate country because we are too old ad also, strangely, we cannot show our proof of Christian religion. (My husband is Jewish and I am an atheist so we are really screwed in this country, not a chance of adoption here.)

All Blessings has almost completed a new facility that will allow them to serve 70 more children at a time – 70 children with very little hope for survival otherwise. According to All Blessings, these are the things the county needs most for their children:

  • Funds to complete another new orphanage building
  • Sponsorship for Women’s Economic Empowerment Program
  • School sponsorships
  • Vaccines and pharaceuticals for the orphanage

Stay tuned while my family narrows down our international search for an Indian daughter, more next week. And tell me your inspiring adoption story here!

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Celebrating International Adoption Month

Friday, November 11th, 2011

national adoption monthNovember is International (and National) Adoption Month. How will you celebrate? 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is pleased to provide information for parents and prospective parents on preventing lead poisoning in children who are adopted from outside the United States. Many, many children adopted from overseas may have been exposed to lead in their birth countries.

This information is so important when you’re thinking about adopting internationally and from poverty-stricken countries, which might house orphans in older buildings:

  • Parents of children adopted within the last 3 months
  • Parents now going through the adoption process
  • All future prospective adoptive parents

Something else to consider and read up about regarding international adoptions: malnutrition. It pays to do your adoption homework! The information on the CDC’s website explains about lead poisoning prevention and international adoption.  This information includes a fact sheet, health education eCard, and key prevention messages that all parents should know about.

Also, to celebrate International Adoption Month, as well as National Adoption Month, I’d love all readers of  ”The Adoption Diaries” to enter their young one into the American Baby Magazine’s baby cover contest. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see an adopted or foster child winning the baby cover contest? I urge you to read all about it, and then enter your wee one!

I will be finding ways to celebrate adoption all month long, and the best way to do that (for me) is to find success stories about adoption and share them all with you… stay tuned!

A quick adoption update for me: Darrin and I have narrowed down an international agency where we can begin processing an international adoption of a daughter in India — she will likely be at least three years old. However, we have to plunk down an initial $15,000 to begin the process, and we don’t have that yet!

Nationally, Husband Darrin and I are officially signed up for 24 hours of foster training to begin in Los Angeles Country beginning in January. I’ll keep you posted!

 

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Celebrate International Adoption Month with Heroes

Monday, November 7th, 2011

As a journalist, I have my fair share of heroes, from those brazen well-written female journalists who came before me (such as Sally Lee, one of my written-word mentors who is now a Senior VP and editor-in-chief of Ladies Home Journal. She is one of a few full-fledged award-winning journalists who weaned me here on the pages of Parents Magazine.) She taught me — still does — that women like me have a social and emotional responsibility to help other women.

As I moved through my thirties and became ultra-aware of the world around me, and began to write about international travel and citizens of our world, my heroes began to include pioneers of a healthier more woman-friendly world, such as Madelyn Albright and Hillary Clinton. Whatever your personal politics, my environmental and political heroes add up!

Then when I gave birth and became a mom a few years back, I had a major paradigm shift. Suddenly, I birthed a healthy baby boy who was perfect in every way — Sam was at the top of his height and weight charts. Sam hit every milestone exactly right, he crawled when he was supposed to, slept through the night right on time and was easy to potty train (but my husband totally did it).

Having Sam in my life every day makes my life’s meaning powerful, passionate, and resolute.

So reading this NY Times story from a mom who gave birth to a very sick baby boy who is going to die before his third birthday, hits me in the gut like a ton of bricks. This mom did all her genetic testing like I did, both of them came back negative. But hers was wrong! My  good God, she had no warning and now her perfect angel will die from Tay-Sachs disease.

My heart breaks.

And as I sit here weeping my guts out for her and her beautiful boy, I must place myself in her shoes for only five minutes and I can barely take it! So my own heart grows bigger in my chest cavity and to make meaning of this, I must help a child, another child. Who by luck of the genetic draw needs my help. I have been so lucky with Sam.

I think my family — and especially me — might have the strength to adopt a child from the foster care system, an older kid who will be loved and schooled and supported throughout her life. We’re going for it.

But moms who have chronically sick children are now my heroes.

Tell me your adoption story here and I will write and report to help!

 

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