Posts Tagged ‘ toddler adopt ’

Part 1: International Adoption from Russia with Love

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

This international adoption story occurred just last year for one lucky family. Join me again on Friday for the finale:

John, 49,  and Arina, 33, live in North Carolina and were unable to conceive naturally for several years after they married. Arina said to me recently, “We decided to pursue adoption instead of exploring infertility treatment. We were drawn to international adoption because we wanted a closed adoption, and we also wanted to help a waiting child.”

The couple actually built a spreadsheet of countries and their requirements, and  started narrowing down their options. Arina said, “A friend had adopted from Guatemala, which was appealing to us, but their program had just closed when we began looking at our options. Of the countries we were eligible for, Russia’s program seemed to be the most stable. We found an international adoption agency and began the process,” she said.

The couple submitted our initial paperwork in September 2009, and they were completely finished with the dossier in December. Their home study was completed shortly thereafter.

This quickie adoption strategy is short, fast, sweet — and very expensive.

Arina remembered, “To our great surprise, within two days, we got an early morning call from the agency. They had a referral: a boy of 18 months! The photo made him real suddenly, there was a real child at the end of this process, and we were doubly invested.”

The couple rushed to complete the remaining paperwork, and traveled to St. Petersburg in January 2010. The new mom said, “The locals seemed to take great delight in telling us it was the coldest winter in recent memory. It was 30 below. The orphanage was hours away by car over icy roads… Then, although he was clearly scared  and reserved when we first met him, our son walked in and everything was wonderful.

“Dillon stole our hearts after two days of visiting with him, and he wouldn’t let go of John when it was time for him to return to his caretaker. Leaving him behind was so very, very hard, as was the uncertainty about when our next trip would be,” Arina said.

Eight weeks later, the couple returned to St. Petersburg for court dates and embassy legal proceedings. She said, “We made the trip to the orphanage again, and heard our little boy laugh for the first time the day before we went to court. Our three-hour court hearing was nerve-wracking, but at the end of it, we were granted parenthood! We returned home, again without our child, to endure the 10-day waiting period before the decision took effect and we could claim Dillon.”

Two weeks later, the family returned to Russia, this time with clothing and supplies for baby Dillon. They’d have to wait several more weeks to bring him back to North Carolina.

Tune in Friday when we discover how these two invented adoption software that helps all parents.

Photo: John, Arina and Dillon

Update: Arina and John Kirk asked that we remove the full price of their Russian adoption.

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Lab Worker in Hospital Adopts a Preemie Two Floors Above

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Oh, this is a great story! Gina from Alabama is an adoptive parent; she and her husband tried for  years to get pregnant. She told me this week, “After an ectopic pregnancy, we had all but given up. I told God if he wanted me to have a baby then he would have to literally drop a baby  on my head because I was done, I was through, it was horrible.”

Gina worked third shift, at the time, in a hospital lab and about three months later (after her ultimatum to God!), she was working an overnight shift. Suddenly, her “work angel” in the neonatal unit two floors up told Gina there was a newborn preemie on her floor and the baby’s terrified young birth mother from another state was giving her up for adoption at 10 a.m. the following morning.

Gina remembered, “Every part of me, especially my gut, told me to act and now. NOW. The birth mother and I spoke briefly and then I called my husband, woke him from a dead sleep, to tell him that we had to make one of the most important decisions of our lives but we only had a few minutes to do it because we had to call our lawyer immediately!

“When I arrived, panting and out of breath, terrified that something had changed …  All the other babies were out on the floor with their mommies and our little 4-pound, 13-ounce angel was the only one in there and she looked so tiny in that big empty room in that hospital bassinet. Later, my husband, whispered that she had nothing to worry about, mommy and daddy were here now and we would take care of everything. When Freddy heard the door open he looked at me and then told her, “There’s your mommy now,” and it  jerked me to my knees.”

When Gina and the birth mother spoke in the hospital, Gina sobbed. “I told her that she didn’t know me but I felt our paths had crossed for a reason.  I promised her daughter a good home, a  college education, total devotion, and unconditional love forever.  I don’t know if it was the tone of my voice or the words I used but with the birth mother was convinced. The following day she signed some papers and left the state.”

That was 10 years ago, and daughter Katelyn is 10 years old and gorgeously healthy. And, yes, very nearly dropped right on Gina’s head.

I couldn’t have written a story more wonderful, rethinks Gina! Tell me your adoption story here in Comments!

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Foster Care Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

IMG_3806This story sends a powerful message to adoptive parents. Reader Yolanda Rodriguez urges me to open discussions about fostering a baby or young child who has RAD and how children are diagnosed.

Yolanda Rodriguez says, “Please research Reactive Attachment Disorder asap! I adopted a special needs little girl, whose parents abused drugs and alcohol during pregnancy and neglected the baby during the first three months of her life before giving up their parental rights… results were endless diagnosis, FAS, ADHD, ODD… the worst of all RAD! This child is afraid to love and misbehaves in order to turn you away from them, worse is the lack of treatment coverage by insurance, little expertise about it in the medical field, and not too much effective support available for parents, families and the child itself.”

Yolanda tell me that private agencies should explain this condition during the foster-to-adopt domestic programs. “RAD can happen easily to an infant when they are not nurtured, they do not necessarily need to be listed as a Special Needs child. But they are!”

Yolanda, I want to discuss this topic without potential parents becoming more wary of adopting an older child. I want people to become educated about it. What I found:

RAD can be a serious condition in which infants and young children don’t establish healthy bonds with parents or caregivers, according to the Mayo Clinic and other adoption experts.

A child with RAD has been neglected, abused or orphaned and the condition develop because the child’s basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren’t met and caring attachments are never established.

Whip out the tissues for this one: RAD may permanently change the child’s growing brain, hurting the ability to establish future relationships.

Reactive attachment disorder is a lifelong condition but begins before age 5. Signs and symptoms in babies may include:

  • Withdrawn, sad appearance, no smiling
  • Failure to reach out when picked up
  • No interest in playing peekaboo or other interactive games
  • No interest in playing with toys
  • Engaging in self-soothing behavior, such as rocking or self-stroking
  • Calm when left alone

Some of the causes of attachment problems are  subtle and often go unrecognized. Symptoms in toddlers and older children may include:

  1. Withdrawing from others
  2. Avoiding or dismissing comforting comments or gestures
  3. Acting aggressively toward peers
  4. Watching others closely but not engaging in social interaction
  5. Failing to ask for support or assistance
  6. Obvious awkwardness or discomfort
  7. Masking feelings of anger or distress
  8. Alcohol or drug abuse in adolescents

If you have an adoption story to tell, comment below!

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Foster to Adopt Parenting Training

Friday, August 19th, 2011

adoption diaries eating fruitLike many, many of you, my husband Darrin and I have veered from yearning to adopt an African or Asian orphan via international adoption channels to shifting gears and wanting to move forward with a domestic adoption that seems more like a sure thing. (Nothing about adoption seems like a sure thing, however.)

I talked to several parents who have been waiting for a Chinese newborn daughter for three long years.  I have an editor-friend in NYC who waited nearly four years for her newborn Chinese daughter! Too long.

Talked to a couple who has been waiting for a domestic adoption with a newborn for almost three years… The first two birth mothers backed out of the planned adoption.

And then you hear from a mother or parent who is finally counting the days until she holds her baby and that single conversation (for me) makes all the difference in this volatile, seemingly endless adoption journey. Every family must feed on hope as they wait, I think that’s the lesson for me to learn. The journey and what it does to your family is part of the outcome of a successful adoption; this rollercoaster ride has to make your family stronger along the way.

Here are a few inspiring words from an adoptive mother in Florida, a friend I will call *Denise.

Denise is very involved with the yoga community on the East Coast and she is single and in her mid-forties. She’s been working with an international agency who specializes in Indian adoptions because Denise feels  involved with the culture, the food, the history. She owns her own business and plunked down just over $15,000 to start the agency process nearly three years ago now.

Several months ago, she was sent a beautiful photo of a 2-year-old toddler and became incredibly excited to meet her and push forward with the Indian adoption. But then an Indian family (who has preference in India) decided to adopt the little girl and Denise was back to waiting for another daughter.

Months went by. Yesterday we spoke once again, and Denise was literally packing up to fly to India for 10 days or so to legally finalize her adoption of  3-year-old girl Jaya.

This is what Denise says about finally meeting her new daughter in less than 48 hours. “I can’t believe this moment has arrived. I’ve now waited years to meet my daughter. The agency has shown her pictures of our house, of what her pink room looks  like, she sees photos of me and tries to say ‘Mommy’ but she does not speak a word of English!”

Mother and daughter have never met and Denise says with a semi-hysterical laugh, “I am terrified!” She promises to send photos and call to report when they return to Florida.

I cannot imagine the wild sense of anticipation! …. Comment here if you have a great story for Parents.com!

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Part 2: Adopted Daughter Tries to Adopt Her Half-Brother! 

Friday, August 5th, 2011

If you tuned in on Wednesday, you discovered that courageous Abby Geotz, 33, who was abused as a child, went on to live a beautiful and productive life, happily married to Mike and a mom to three kids.

A couple years back, Abby searched and found her biological family, including a sister whom she remains close to today. Abby finally met her biological mother — who put her up for adoption when Abby was just four months old — last September 2010.

“When I found my biological mother, I also found out that I also had a 4-year-old half-brother still in her custody,” says Abby.

Though Abby does not want to malign her “bio-mom” Abby admits her half-brother was not in a healthy environment. “My husband and I drove to Grand Forks, ND the very next day (after their contact) and spent two days with my mother and my half-brother.”

Just 10 days after that historical visit, Abby received an email from her biological grandmother stating that once again, her biological mother had placed young Cody (Abby’s half-brother) into foster care, and then the mother had literally jumped a train to Montana.

Poor little boy. Enter, Abby and her family!

“I immediately contacted Grand Forks County Social Services and started the process of becoming his foster family. He was officially placed with us on February 19, 2011 (his 5th birthday) and parental rights were terminated  April 5, 2011.”

Abby and Mike are soon to be his adoptive parents! “I still have contact with my bio-mom and she fully supports this situation and even gave her blessing.” Bio-mom now lives in South Carolina.

Abby explains, “My biological mother has six kids — I am her oldest child and Cody (soon to be my adopted son) is her youngest child and she had four children in between – six total. Cody is also practically the same age as our youngest daughter, Hailey.  They both recently turned five.

“Cody does understand that his bio-mom and my bio-mom are the same person. However, Cody has called me ‘Mom’ since his placement, so I’m not sure he fully comprehends the whole story… but I’m not sure that I fully comprehend the whole story,” says Abby Geotz, mother, adoptee and hero to kids!

Thanks Abby, for sharing this incredible feel-good story.

Photo Credit: Abby,  Mike and their three biological kids plus 5-year-old Cody, top right.

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