Posts Tagged ‘ sibling rivalry ’

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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3 Adopted Kids Raped and Abused

Friday, August 17th, 2012

When I first discovered this horror house in Ohio and originally reported the abuse of three young kids who not only had been raped by their adopted foster dad, but he prostituted his new kids out and a few of his depraved adult male friends also raped and abused the two young boys and a sister, all under 13.

This is one of those strange and awful true stories that takes on a life of its own, and I received so many comments back from all of the readers of The Adoption Diaries. Below, I offer you two of the most thought-provoking responses to the idea that this foster home was not investigated properly to safeguard these three innocent and wounded children.

This letter from Jeff who was also horrified — like me — that the three kids were living in his house of horror long enough to be adopted. (All three are in new foster homes FYI, and all three rapists will go to jail for a long, long time).

Jeff said, “By no means am I defending this man or the other two involved with this sickness…  But the three men involved  are not the only issue here. Why isn’t anyone holding the private adoption agency accountable?  Where were all the background  check that should have been done repeatedly? And why wasn’t there any mention of social workers doing home visits? Yes, I agree these men should be justly dealt with. But, as you know, our justice system isn’t the best thing going.  We live in a country that has become so relaxed on the issues that should be our biggest concerns and yet those issues that should be our least on the ones that our most looked at.”

And from reader Jamie who’s been in the foster care system in the USA: “This story is very sad but what I didn’t see was the obvious factor, deception. Foster parents are interviewed extensively and, in Illinois anyway, require references, a physical exam, and criminal background checks. The fact of the matter is, a predator can and will hide. Like Sandusky, we are talking about a type of person who has learned for years and years how to play people and say what is needed to get what he wants. There are very few warning signs for these types of people.”

Jamie from Illinois continued, “In Illinois, foster care and adoption workers are required to visit licensed homes at least once a month. They are required to talk to the children alone as well. The only thing that we should focus on and can focus on is what can we do to help. What can we change in the system to make it more stringent?”

Thanks readers, what else can we do to help child abuse in the foster system?

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Adopting a Child for Your Child: Right or Wrong?

Monday, March 12th, 2012

PArents Blog JPG Sibling Lisa PostMy husband is neatly clipping magazine spreads of bouncy bow-haired Asian toddlers. Seems he has his heart set on a little girl, a baby. But we briefly talked to two other parents about their excruciating long waits for Chinese newborns. I don’t want to wait years to adopt kid number 2.

I am definitely considering adoption in a firmer way this month because I had one recurring, horrid thought: What happens if our only child Sam, dies?

Any way to recover? You’ve considered it, right? The only reason I might force myself to carry on in a universe without Sam Straff is through caring for another child.  But that’s a selfish reason to adopt, isn’t it?

More importantly, what if Darrin and I perish in a fiery blaze off the Pacific Coast Highway during especially obnoxious rush hour? Who would lead Sam through devastation? Friends and family would step in to supply Sam with a home and clean clothes…

… but who could heal my baby’s heart?

Today, I cannot imagine living my own past without my own sister, Lisa.  She’s 11 months younger than me and for all the years I grew up I never had a notion of being without her. For years, we have spoken in a sibling shorthand that nothing can replace. My sister, who holds Long Distance Aunt status, helps me write my own history. Helps me jump over life hurdles, and giggle with me when I finally fall flat on my face. She also shoots from the hip and tells me when I’m off base.

My younger sister Lisa remembers things I simply cannot;  she fills in my blanks. That sibling relationship is a gift worth giving to my son, whether or not we finally choose to adopt internationally.

Weigh in: Is adopting a child for your own existing child a very selfish reason to adopt? What do you think is the best reason to adopt a child from another country or even right here in the USA?

Caption: Aunt Lisa with Sam Straff, 5 months

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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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Part 1: Mom Chooses Open Adoptions for Transracial Daughters

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Rachel Garlinghouse certainly got my instant attention! She wrote, “Now we are the parents of two African-American girls. Ellis is age 3, Emery age 1, and we will adopt again, either domestic infant adoption or through foster care.”

Rachel, 29, and her husband Steve, 33, are Illinois natives and they chose “fully open adoptions” Twice! This means both families communicate regularly, exchange photos and spend quality time throughout the year.

“Steve and I also speak at adoption training sessions and I facilitate an adoptive mom support group,” said Rachel.

I knew in a moment that this high-energy mom had a good story!

Rachel said, “We chose fully open adoption because adoption isn’t about the adoptive parents. Plus, adoption agencies cater to open adoptions and realize that the person making the ultimate sacrifice is the biological parent [who might wish to maintain contact.] Adoption isn’t about what makes me happy and comfortable, it’s about what is best for my child.”

As an adoptive parent, I had to get over myself, Rachel said.

“If my child’s biological parent(s) and siblings want regular contact, who am I to say no? ”

Rachel and Steve waited an excruciating 14 months for their first child. She knows why! “For the first year, we were only open to a white, healthy child. However, we did a lot of reading and we spoke with transracial families, and we talked and we prayed. We ultimately decided that we would be great parents to a child of any race.”

Come back on Friday when we meet both of Rachel’s gorgeous daughters.

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