Posts Tagged ‘ toddler adopt ’

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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Adoption Experts Tend to Have Many Children

Monday, March 26th, 2012

As you start doing your personal research, you read books, surf the blogs (thanks for coming!), and come to find that many such “adoption experts” became experts because they did it so many times. I’ve read about one family with 12 adoptees, another with 19. One mother said she wasn’t an expert in the process until after her eighth imported child!

Don’t forget Republican Michelle Bachmann, who was once considering running for President in the next election. She went on record saying she’s had 23 adopted/foster kids.

One thing is for sure: Every adoption journey is a completely unique experience but it sure doesn’t hurt to grab tips from the pros! The only thing for which I hold the “pro” title is for my son, Sam.

I can tell within a millisecond of his peripheral glance, exactly how he’s feeling, and why. Sam is five years old and without expertise guidance from my husband and friends that kid would still be in diapers, sucking noisily on his right thumb.

My only advice for adopting a child into your family is to be open to nearly anything happening. I figure, at the end of the bumpy roller coaster ride, you might deserve inherit a child or two (or 19!). Maybe it’s better to try hard rather than not try at all?

No matter what stage adoption you’re engaged in, here is my favorite adoption tip from the real experts:

Prepare for a bumpy ride. “I would just say that all the previous disappointments, tears and agonizingly long waits are so worth it once you hold your precious child.”

Make one crucial decision in the beginning: Do you lean towards domestic adoption or international adoption? And realize these pros and cons.

Don’t drive yourself mad with subject saturation. Too many would-be parents absorb daunting and grossly outdated advice. Adoption legislation happens quickly; so don’t invest too many emotions in stats buried six months ago!

Psst: What are you an expert in this month? Anything to help other potential adoptive parents out there?

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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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Part 2: Pregnant Bio Mom Appears on Family’s Doorstep!

Friday, January 20th, 2012

If you tuned in on Wednesday you read about Jessy, 32, and her husband Dave, 35, who had nearly given up on having a baby after Jessy suffered four ectopic pregnancies that nearly killed her. Her best friend’s cousin — a young bio-mom that already had one tiny baby — found herself pregnant again and didn’t know what to do. She had no boyfriend, no job and barely had a roof over her head. And she was pregnant again!

Jessy remembered, “We were so scared of her changing her mind. Our hearts would be so broken by a failed adoption that we knew we wouldn’t be able to console our friends and stepchildren   if it fell through, so better to shock them with good news than hurt them with bad news.”

The couple joined this bio-mom for every doctor’s appointment and stayed in constant contact to support her.

Jessy said, “We fell more in love with this young lady and the baby she was carrying and in September 2008 we got the call that she was in labor and we rushed to the hospital. We were there to cut the umbilical cord and the nurse handed her right to me. Thank goodness my husband was standing right next to me because I felt my knees go weak when I held my incredible little girl in my arms for the first time!

We walked right to the nursery where they discovered our new daughter had fluid in her lungs. Our tiny new one stayed in the neonatal unit for a few weeks but she was otherwise healthy. She came home on oxygen which was scary for me as her mother but my husband, who had experienced sick babies, before was a real rock through this ordeal.”

This fortunate couple didn’t go through an agency and so the adoption adoption process took longer then usual but was much less expensive!

“We were her legal guardians within 24 hours of her birth. We had a private lawyer who didn’t charge us the outrageous fees the agencies charge. Our lawyers, Joe and Melissa, are a married couple but they are kind, caring, and truly just wanted to help us achieve the dream of being parents to this baby girl.”

Finally, Jesse said, “I don’t know if our story is that sensational but it is nothing like any other adoption story I have heard before. Our family feels like we won the biggest lottery ever. This just proves the world is a very small place and if you look closely you will find miracles happen all around you.”

Photo credit: At right is Dave and Jessy with adopted daughter Teagan. Tell me a great one of your own and have a blissful weekend.

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I Love Being a Mom… but I am Exhausted!

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Aren’t you? If you tuned in on Friday, you know that my family is pretty stressed with all the holiday travel (flying back east from Los Angeles is tops on my stress-out list), and finally filling out foster care paperwork and preparing for our initial 24 hours of foster care training through the County of Los Angeles. It starts in early January.

My husband and I have to do 24 hours of foster care (to adopt) training on consecutive Thursday nights for six weeks. Another stress-out for me (besides shopping and planning for Santa!) is finding a babysitter who can sit with our bio son Sam from 6 – 10 pm every Thursday in January and part of February so Darrin and I can train during these intensive foster events.

I also work from home, volunteer on Mondays at my son’s school, do rescue dog training twice a month, and teach 2-3 fitness classes each week. Did I mention I work and try to stay married too?

In exasperation, I tapped author and registered dietitian Ashley Koff, co-author with Kathy Kaehler of the fabulous new book Mom Energy: Live Life Fully Charged. They provided great ways to sidestep stress on Monday but now these savvy moms urged me to find my primary “energy thief” during the day. Great advice for all parents everywhere!

Ashley said, “You try hard to keep jugging all the balls up in the air but your juggling leaves you exhausted emotionally and physically. Despite knowing what’s best for you deep down, you struggle with gaining control and what’s important in your life. You must start limiting the things that decrease your energy on a daily basis.”

Excellent time management will change my energy life, she says. Try these steps too:

  1. Make to-do lists and prioritize your life.
  2. Don’t skip meals or start any kind of crash diet if you’re exhausted; it’ll make your energy drain even worse.
  3. Exercise and stretch regularly to jumpstart stamina — this can mean only 20 minutes most days of the week!
  4. Ask for help and use family charts to organize your whole life.
  5. Create healthy routines and stick to your schedule.
  6. Don’t OD on caffeine and sugary sodas; these are quick fixes that hurt your body in the long run. (Although a cup or two of coffee each day is fine!)
  7. Finally, see your doctor to rule out hormonal shifts or other conditions that may affect your overall energy level.

Thanks Ashley and Kathy! Please tell me your adoption story or foster care wishes here, and have a blessed holiday.

Photo credit at fun book party: Adam Southard of AES PhotoLA

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