Posts Tagged ‘ toddler adoption ’

New Website Spreads Awareness of Dangers of “Orphanage Tourism”

Monday, November 26th, 2012

international adoption nutritionIf you are even considering an international adoption, much like my family is with a toddler daughter in India, you must thoroughly do your homework, document all your paperwork, legalize everything — and make sure you’re not stealing some poor mother’s newborn in a Third World Country without her knowledge.

It happens all the time, but international rules and regulations are halting such illegal practices.

This helpful website is to educate people about what orphanage tourism is and the devastating affect is having on the children of Cambodia, many of whom are not even orphans. Most governments and child care professionals regard the institutionalization of children in orphanages as the very last resort. Unfortunately, in Cambodia it is increasingly becoming the first, mainly due to the increased demand from travelers and donors for more and more orphanages. Others are nothing more than money-making scams that are specifically targeting unsuspecting tourists.

Considering International Adoption?

The group’s spokesperson said in an interview, “Few of these people that are trying to help are actually qualified to work with traumatized or vulnerable children, so what we end up with is an even more dire situation. We really want to get the word out about this important cause, and let well-intentioned people know that there are better alternatives and avenues through which they can help.”

“The fact is, most travelers, donors, and volunteers are completely unaware that they are fueling this problem or that they may be doing more harm than good,” comments the group spokesperson. Media Note: Because many of the most profiteering Cambodian orphanages have close ties with the government (some of those who have spoken out about this in the past have been threatened) this group prefers to remain anonymous for now.

“We encourage visitors to become educated about orphanage tourism, and to help us continue to raise awareness by sharing the information they learn here with others. The goal is to stop fueling the orphanage industry and find ways to support vulnerable children and their families, not split them up. The children of Cambodia, and around the world, deserve better.”

You can help channel the good intentions of travelers and donors towards initiatives that provide more positive support for children, and support family based care, reducing the separation of children and their communities.”

Are you considering international adoption of a baby or a special needs toddler? What countries are you considering?

 

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Domestic Adoption: Open vs. Closed

Monday, November 12th, 2012

When I disclosed that my small perfect Los Angeles family would prefer to adopt internationally, many of you weighed in with Comments about domestic adoption instead: it’s cheaper, takes a shorter amount of time and allows your adopted child to know its birth parents. But… what if I don’t want my new kid to know her own birth parents? What if they are awful people?

Controversy ensued.

Than, a brilliant letter from author Lori Holden, who just finished writing “The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole” (available from Rowman & Littlefield 2013). She allows us to read excerpts below or on her site. And she discusses the pros and cons of open adoption far better than I ever could — she just went through a successful domestic, open adoption. With love and care.

Part 1 and Adoption Letter from Lori. I’ll add Part 2 from Lori on Friday — stay tuned to The Adoption Diaries.

“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.

Often, such fear causes people to come from a place of Either/Or thinking. Either WE are the “real” parents or THEY are. Either we can legitimately claim the child or they can. In the old days of closed adoption, the child could scarcely even think about his other parents without it feeling like a betrayal. US?….or THEM??? (Cue ominous and sinister music.)

But 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.

Tune in on Friday for Part 2: An Adoption Letter from Lori.

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To Honor International Adoption Month: Fight Malnutrition

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

My family is considering international adoption in India. It’s been a real rollercoaster simply narrowing down the nations and the age of our future kid.

All of our adoption reading material — so much adoption homework if you do it right — discusses a condition called “Failure to Thrive,” a common nutrition-related health condition found among many internationally adopted orphans, which may impact their growth and brain development.

Foster children are also at higher risk for nutrient deficiencies, including anemia. One common denominator among all children who fail to thrive is poverty. Here are the symptoms of poverty and maternal wellness when considering international adoption as we are here in the Straff household:

  • Inadequate prenatal diet or vitamins
  • Infants with very low birth weight
  • Inadequate breastfeeding
  • Nursed with animal milk products instead of fortified formula
  • Premature solid food in the infant’s diet
  • Inadequate exposure to sunlight, which inhibits vitamin D production

One small way to fight malnutrition worldwide is to buy a cookbook from one of the largest and oldest International Adoption agencies who published  “Cooking With Our Kids” where monies will go directly to Indian orphanages.

If you’re a bigger thinker: $20 million in new grants was recently donated from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to growing nutritionally enhanced rice and cassava in order to decrease malnourishment across Asia and Africa.

The grants will help in the development, testing and marketing of Golden Rice, which is fortified with vitamin A, in the Philippines and Bangladesh, and BioCassava Plus, a tuber fortified with vitamin A, iron and protein in Kenya and Nigeria.

Celebrate National Adoption Month with me; tell me another wonderful way to celebrate National Adoption (and International) Adoption Day.

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Update: Adoptive Parents Travel to Ghana for 4 Siblings

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Here is a happy ending to the story we ran last week on an Irvine couple who traveled to Ghana with two biological children last month. Originally, we thought, how awesome and easy it souded, after waiting two years for a sibling group from Ghana, this family was about to inherit four siblings younger than 10. Imagine?

And then the worst happened when the arrived in Ghana for immigration paperwork and their new adopted kids. The married couple was actually held in a prison-like environment during adoption proceedings.

The big-hearted Irvine Calif. couple and their two children recently traveled to Ghana in order to adopt a set of four young siblings, and they became entwined in a bureaucratic, international adoption nightmare.

See the original story here. Long story short? The entire family is happy to be home!

According to the Orange Country Register reports, Sol and Christine Moghadam were accused of child trafficking when the family and their two biological sons went to Ghana to pick up their new siblings. But an anonymous phone call accusing the Moghadams of child trafficking prompted police to arrest both parents and put all the children into an orphanage.

The two biological sons, ages 3 and 7, and the four adoptive children were taken from them and placed in a Ghanaian orphanage. Their biological sons were returned to them the following day, after the couple posted bail. The whole family, all eight of them, were reunited within a couple days and they now have their passports back.

“We are investigating a couple who arrived at the airport with six children – four blacks and two whites – which aroused the suspicion of security officers at the airport who stopped them from traveling,” an official with the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghanaian police told the Associated Press. “They say the children were adopted, and we are investigating to find out if this has been properly granted by a court of proper jurisdiction.”‘

In a video created on their behalf, the couple and their friends say Christine Moghadam was forced to spend a night in jail while Sol Moghadam was held in a detention center. “Ghanaian police did not tell us about our rights until the day after they detained us; they did not tell us about the offense at the time of the arrest; violence was involved… Thank you for your prayers.”

They were never charged with anything!

What do you think of the mountains of paperwork, endless immigration legalities and slow-moving beurocracy that prevent orphans from being adopted? Tell me your adoption story here:

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Happy Adoption Story from a Family of Adopted Kids

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

I asked readers of The Adoption Diaries to tell me a happy, true story of adoption because we’ve been focusing on some of the recent foster care and adoption horror stories, like the Sandusky scandal at Penn State.

So outspoken reader Jamie wrote, “Here’s a good adoption story. If you did more research you would find many good stories. My aunt and uncle adopted my cousin when he was two days old, and he is loved, treated with all the respect in the world. He was never abused by anyone. My own parents adopted three children: my older brother was adopted when he was 7; my sister and I were adopted at ages 3 and 4.

Raised happy, good Jewish kids by the grace of God. We all had wonderful childhoods and we’re all still close.  My brother went on to be an underwater welder, my sisters are both in college now and I’m an aesthetician; all four good people with great lives.

I am sure that  99% of adoptive parents are good loving people who don’t rape or abuse there children…”

That’s a smart response to my lamenting posts about adopting from foster care and being afraid of the the emotional composition of these kids, many of whom were born addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Breaking News: Father’s Age Is Linked to Autism

Cell mutations become more numerous with advancing age, so older men are more likely than younger ones to father a child who develops autism or schizophrenia. Scientists just reported in Nature last week, the age of mothers had no significance.

According to the study, surging rate of autism diagnoses over recent decades is partially attributable to the increasing average age of fathers, and may account for as many as 30 percent of new cases. The overall risk to a man in his forties is 2 percent and increases each year.

There are many autistic children up for adoption in foster care situations all across America; it takes a strong commitment to parent a troubled kid.

Do you know anyone who’d adopted an autistic child and has tips for other parents?

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