Posts Tagged ‘ older parents adopting ’

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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LA County Proclaims September 10 – 14 “Family Reunification Week”

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Three years ago, Michael Nash, Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles Juvenile Court, with the support of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, initiated the first ever “Family Reunification Week.”

The annual celebration recognizes the thousands of families that have complied with specific court requirements and safely reunited with their children.

There are three components to this year’s celebration: On Tuesday, September 11th, six  family reunification “Heroes” were honored (a group of parents, social workers, and organizations that have done an exemplary job)  for supporting the safe return of children to their homes and families and presented with a special scroll presentation by Chairman Yaroslavsky’s Children’s Deputy Lisa Mandel at the Hall of Administration.

The most emotional part of the program was undoubtedly hree families sharing their personal stories on how they reunited with their children.  Parents in Partnership, a DCFS program that utilizes parents who have successfully navigated the Dependency Court system to reunify with their children and are now coaching other families on how to do the same, will discuss their successful program.

Later today, the media is invited to attend a press conference at Juvenile Court where reporters can witness a unique event, similar in format to National Adoption Day, as court officially terminates the cases of eight families whose parents have successfully reunified with their children.  These eight families represent over 3,000 families that reunify with their children each year.

The system actually accomplishes that more often than not. Of the 25,000 plus children under our court’s jurisdiction today, almost 15,000 are either being safely maintained at home or are in a reunification plan with their families.

But here’s the rub: Would you be able to hand off a beloved foster care child back to biological parents who may have, at one time, neglected or abused their own children?

Not sure I could be that strong… Comment here.

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Domestic Adoption and Foster Care in the USA

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

In the U.S., there are thousands of foster care youth waiting to be adopted. Many are older (more than 9 years old), and with each passing year, they are less likely to be adopted, and more likely to “age out” of the foster care system without the support of a caring and  responsible adult.

Studies have shown that older youth are more likely to be adopted by people who know them. Yet, adults often don’t have opportunities to meet these wonderful children who are longing for a permanent family. According to the adoption service KidSave.org, older kids are frequently not even considered. Many of these children are overlooked for adoption because they are not babies or toddlers. Older kids have a lot of value and can add much joy to a family. Children age 11 and older in the foster care system are more likely to grow up in the system than be adopted.

Stats for kids age 11 and older still in foster care, according to KidSave.org: 

  1. One in 10 will commit suicide
  2. Less than half will finish high school
  3. As many as 50% go to jail
  4. One in 4 will become parents before age 20

This great organization (thanks for the readers who recommended the site)  is seeking volunteers in many different areas across the country. If you are interested in becoming a Kidsave volunteer, log onto a local schedule.  Volunteers are needed to create events, serve on committees, find auction items, build attendance, get the word out, and support fund raising, support programs, and help with logistics.

KidSave.org has an astounding goal: To connect 1,000,000 orphans and foster youth to parents and mentors across the country by the year 2020. Count me in — we need more support for foster kids who are so sadly aging out of the system.

How can you help? Log on and find out.

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International Toddler Adoption or Stolen-Child Trafficking?

Monday, June 25th, 2012

As news of child trafficking in China and Guatemala make headlines, rumors explode about international adoptions in these countries, and how big a role  child trafficking plays in poor countries where newborns may be stolen for adoption to wealthier and more stable countries.

Countries that have placed limits, sometimes closed or partially closed because of concerns over coercion of birthparents or “illegal adoption” include Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, Guatemala, and Romania. China, reputedly, is working to contain corroborated trafficking within its orphanage system.

Faced with such accounts of trafficking,
parents of course have an instinctive reaction of shock or guilt or even disbelief. By adopting, could you have fueled this trade?

Some parents who adopt internationally will question the need to bring up things that happened in their child’s past. Could you personally admit that money may have driven your birth parents’ decision, or that your joyful toddler comes from poor parents who never even gave consent?

If corruption exists in your child’s birth country or may have played a role in your baby’s adoption, I believe it’s not your fault. You didn’t set out to “steal” anyone’s baby.

Tell me what you think about international adoption from a country that gives you doubts?

While we’re on controversial adoption subjects, do you think that Hollywood A-list celebs who adopt children get an easier time of it because they can likely afford an international adoption?

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IPhone App that May Prevent Sex Abuse in Kids, Teens

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Co-creator Nancy Schwartzman was, in fact, a victim of sexual abuse when she was young, and she is hyper-aware of the very real threats to safety that result in 1 of 4 college-age women reporting sexual assault.  A fierce advocate for social change, Nancy recently served as the Campaign & Advocacy Director for the Sundance award-winning documentary, The Invisible War, about rape in the military. She published op-eds about local NYC sexual violence, is an active member of the feminist community, and has participated in many initiatives, panels, and events.

Schwartzman says this app is just one tool available for young folks that offers support rather than victim-blaming and scare tactics.

Throughout Nancy’s work as a filmmaker and founder of The Line Campaign –  a non-profit that creates media to empower young leaders to end sexual violence — she is very savvy about ways to engage young people with tools, stories, and solutions. Her sex-positive approach to violence prevention has been very successful in her work with college students around the country, too.

Always solutions-oriented, Nancy’s work in conferences, workshops, and online campaigns (@thelinecampaign) taps into young people’s enthusiasm for technology and multimedia avenues of engagement that allows them to share their stories, explore the very personal ways they choose to experience sex and love (and how best to communicate their boundaries to their partners), and to feel the support of the community around the Circle of 6 iPhone app!

She drew from dozens of candid conversations with students across the country on how consent, dating culture, and rape affect their lives and what strategies have proven most effective in preventing violence, including leveraging existing social networks. Try her app!

Do you have an inspiring story of helping kids or helping a family through the emotional roller-coaster of adoption? Tell me your story here!

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