Posts Tagged ‘ only children ’

Scary Halloween Dangers Lurk at Home

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Be careful out there…. Boo… Sometimes (like today) I may stray from a strict blog about adoptions, so enjoy it while you can.

With Halloween a-knocking on your door – it’s a good time to ask, is your medicine cabinet super safe for your adopted kids (or kids of all ages)? Pain Relief Centers in Pinellas Park, Florida wants warn parents of the potential poisoning dangers in their own home.

Here’s a good example: Can you tell the difference between a bunch of pain prescription medication (at right) or a bunch of kid’s candy? (Me neither and that’s scary alright.)

Windex, for instance, can be mistaken as a sports drink, Sweet Tarts for Tums, or a M&M for a cold medicine.

 In a recent study presented to the American Academy of Pediatrics, two young scientists found only 71 percent of students could tell the difference between candy and over-the-counter medicine.

According the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 90 percent of all domestic poisonings occur in the home.

Here are some tips to keep in mind during Halloween and every day of the year:

•    Use child-resistant packaging, remembering to secure containers after use
•    Keep chemicals and medicines locked up and out of sight
•    Watch young children closely while using cleaners or gardening products
•    Leave original labels on all products
•    Always take or dispense medications in a well-lit area to ensure proper dosage
•    Never refer to medicine as “candy”
•    Post the number for your local poison control center in a highly visible location

Happy Halloween 2012 and remember to stay close to home, and examine your candy closely before popping anything in your mouth.


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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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“Only Children are Spoiled and Self-Absorbed”

Friday, March 9th, 2012

PArents Blog JPG Sam and cuz RileyThat’s a recurring theme my friends and acquaintances repeat as another good reason to adopt a second child. Interestingly, Single-child families have almost doubled in number, to about 1 in 5 since the 1960s, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

I generally don’t buy the whole “only children are too spoiled” scenario. Poppycock… I believe in part how you parent your only child (or your triplets, or our adopted kids) determines just how spoiled he becomes.

A Time Magazine investigation showed that the negative myths about maladjusted only-children arise because these parents have more time, energy and money to invest in their single offspring, who receives all the soccer classes, piano lessons and laser-focused emotional attention. Incidentally, researchers note this excess attention leads to not just higher SAT scores but also to higher self-esteem.

The U.S. Census reports that the single child family is the fastest growing family unit. So when someone, perhaps your friend who can afford to have four kids and two nannies, urges you need to have another child, spit out the facts about only children and the myths that surround them.

Myth: Only children are bossy and aggressive.

Only children learn quickly that attempting to run the show, a ploy that they may get away with at home, doesn’t work with friends and a bossy, aggressive attitude is a quick ticket to ostracism from the group. Lacking siblings, only children want to be included and well liked. A brother or a sister may buoy Sam as he grows into the most thoughtful, amazing young man.

Myth: Only children mature too quickly.

Children with siblings relate and talk to their siblings rather than their parents. The only child’s primary role models are parents. The result is that only children may simulate  adult behavior as well as adult speech patterns and develop good reasoning skills early on making them better equipped to handle the ups and downs of growing up. Myths die hard and slowly. Families with one child outnumber those with two children, so the single child family is here to stay.

Myths are not a great reason to adopt another child! Tell me what you think about only children, as it pertains to adoption! There must be balance between the joy our kids give us and the sacrifices we make to care for them.

Caption: Sam Straff and his first-cousin Riley Straff (who is also an only child!)

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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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Why Adopt? Sibing Rivalry is Overrated

Friday, June 17th, 2011

“I wish I was an only child.” Growing up, I’d confide that tidbit to everyone in earshot, especially my sister, Lisa. When I hit my early teens and figured a few things out, instead I’d tell her, “Mom says you were a mistake. An accident, like, whoops! There’s… Lisa.” My sister mostly ignored me but we all knew it was true growing up.

My own mother admitted it upon deeper questioning: “C’mon, who actually plans to have two kids under two in diapers?” And then my mother would squint or actively grimace and say, every single time. “I believed the idiot when he told me I couldn’t get pregnant again so soon.” Barely a month after giving birth and my mother was pregnant again. Because she listened to “the idiot” who was my father.

Should I even have children with all the baggage in my family? Too late, Sam is five with a great head on his shoulders. Beloved bu two very active and loving parents. I adore being a mom, hSam makes me laugh and lighten up every day. He allows me to see the best side of life on a daily basis.

So I ask: If you grew up with a sib, did you ever wish you were an only child?

If you are an only child, did you occasionally yearn for a brother or sister?

Did that feeling ever go away? The yearning?

If I could really pick, I’d have clearly chosen to have a cute older brother with a slew of hot friends. But that’s just me; I’m always thinking ahead.

I don’t want my 5-year-old son to miss out on sharing any more childhood without a sibling to share it with…  If my sister didn’t routinely recall the triumphs and disasters of public school, I’d forget so much.

Without Lisa, who finally grew out of that “Eight is Enough” haircut in puberty, I would not have a complete dossier. The full dossier of my past, and also of me.

“Remember when… ?” That’s how family conversations with siblings often start.

Even if you have to finish the sentence with something rotten from our own family tree.  “Lisa, remember when Mom got so mad at Dad in the garage that she threw your bamboo fishing pole like a harpoon? “Member that?”

I do. Thanks to my sister…

Credit: Aunt Lisa Dorsey holding 3-month-old Sam. Sweetness.

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