Posts Tagged ‘ toddler adoption ’

IPhone App that May Prevent Sex Abuse in Kids, Teens

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Co-creator Nancy Schwartzman was, in fact, a victim of sexual abuse when she was young, and she is hyper-aware of the very real threats to safety that result in 1 of 4 college-age women reporting sexual assault.  A fierce advocate for social change, Nancy recently served as the Campaign & Advocacy Director for the Sundance award-winning documentary, The Invisible War, about rape in the military. She published op-eds about local NYC sexual violence, is an active member of the feminist community, and has participated in many initiatives, panels, and events.

Schwartzman says this app is just one tool available for young folks that offers support rather than victim-blaming and scare tactics.

Throughout Nancy’s work as a filmmaker and founder of The Line Campaign –  a non-profit that creates media to empower young leaders to end sexual violence — she is very savvy about ways to engage young people with tools, stories, and solutions. Her sex-positive approach to violence prevention has been very successful in her work with college students around the country, too.

Always solutions-oriented, Nancy’s work in conferences, workshops, and online campaigns (@thelinecampaign) taps into young people’s enthusiasm for technology and multimedia avenues of engagement that allows them to share their stories, explore the very personal ways they choose to experience sex and love (and how best to communicate their boundaries to their partners), and to feel the support of the community around the Circle of 6 iPhone app!

She drew from dozens of candid conversations with students across the country on how consent, dating culture, and rape affect their lives and what strategies have proven most effective in preventing violence, including leveraging existing social networks. Try her app!

Do you have an inspiring story of helping kids or helping a family through the emotional roller-coaster of adoption? Tell me your story here!

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Ready to Adopt Quiz: Is the Timing Right?

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

One thing everyone agrees on — whether you’ve been adopted yourself, plan to adopt in the near future, or even if you have very firm beliefs about the process itself.  Here’s the truth: Adoption is an emotional roller coaster that both beings out the best in your family (social responsibility, loyalty and the ability to love) and challenges any family to come together in new ways.

Take this great readiness quiz on Parents.com to see if emotionally, you are prepared to proceed on this roller-coaster journey of adoption. The second question has tripped up our family for six months because I simply have not been ready to move forward in the international adoption process, and several strikes against us have cropped up.

This is the question that stalled us for several months:

True or false: My partner is not as open to adopting a child as I am.

True, True and True

Also, we considered our finances carefully, and though we’ve wanted to adopt internationally for a couple years now, we haven’t had the capital, and an international adoption can cost upwards of $30,000. For starter, yup, that’s right.

Adoption readiness also hinges on whether or not you know other adoptive families who have experienced happy outcomes. This support system — primed and ready — really helps prepare your family to welcome a new addition. And helps you wait it out, which may be the longest part of the journey. We are just starting to meet other potential families at adoption seminars and while they’re always emotional, Darrin and Sam and I feel untouched somehow. We don’t care about other peoples stories that much — we want to hear more about the pitfalls so we don’t do them as well.

I spoke briefly last week to a social worker at an agency we no longer want to work with but every piece of narrowing down helps the adoption cause. But answer this: Why don’t my eyes fill with congratulatory tears every time I meet a family who’s recently adopted? Should I not feel a sense of urgency or relief that adoption still happens with regularity? “Not again,” I think to myself and try to edge out the door. Am I just envious?

Do you have moving-forward adoption tips for Parents.com?

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Part 2: Successful International Adoption from Ethiopia!

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

On Wednesday, Marni and Joe from Philadelphia told us how they adopted Remy in Ethiopia, and how it took about two years too long.

Marni and Joe had spent some time in Africa and always felt an emotional tie to that continent, and that swayed their decision to adopt their daughter from Ethiopia.

After 26 months of immigration paperwork, home study, check written, Marni said the family got to meet her once briefly. “The most challenging time was after our file was submitted to the US Embassy for final approval and clearance,” Marni said. “We had already met and fallen in love with Remy on our first trip to Ethiopia, and she was deemed to be our daughter through the court system and government of Ethiopia.

The final clearance process included some obstacles and extra steps and bigger hurdles, which was extremely frustrating: We felt like we were being kept apart from our daughter!

“We  missed the entire first year of our daughter’s  life. No fair.”

International Adoption: Missing Your Child’s Childhood

Marni said, “A few weeks or months doesn’t seem like much in the grand scheme of time, but we missed the first year of our daughter’s life, and we were very anxious to have her home with us.

We felt very helpless during the final weeks before clearance, and we hope that the process is streamlined so that adoptions can move along as ethically and smoothly as possible and the orphaned children of Ethiopia can get the wonderful homes they all deserve.”

Elijah had to wait over two years to meet his own sister! She said of her daughter, “Remy is so sweet and easygoing; we are lucky that she has been so patient with her big brother during his transition from being an only child.

We have our new family traditions and routines, like reading in bed together in the morning and taking the dog out for walks, which helped form the bond. We love that our kids will always have another little person to play with.”

Thanks for sharing Marni.

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Completion of the 3-Hour Foster Family Orientation

Monday, February 27th, 2012

adopting a baby from foster care Up until husband Darrin and I completed our 3-hour “Resource Parent” Foster family application and orientation, I did not realize that you can be both a foster parent and an adoptive parent at the same time when you register with the county and pass their 24 hours of training. You can foster a child and apply to adopt that child simultaneously; it’s a great way to make triple-sure you are the best match for that child!

These are great definitions to keep in mind if you’re looking to adopt domestically:

  • A foster parent provides a loving but temporary stable home for a child and helps them reunite with broth parents or family members.
  • An adoptive parent provides a permanent stable home once it has been determined that the child cannot live safely with their birth parent or birth family.

In fact, with domestic adoption, you can be single, married, divorced or living with a partner. There is no mandated minimum income but you must be able to show how you support both yourself and a foster child. And I found out, gladly, that I can be a different race, culture or even sexual orientation that my foster or adopted child through the county process.

My worst-case scenario is hosting a foster child, applying to adopt that beloved foster child over a period of months… and then having the birth partners want her back. No way! If I had to knowingly return a child to a questionable family who might hurt her or negate all the stable love we’d provided a child for months, I might end up in jail.

I might do all kinds of crazy things to keep her. My husband Darrin wants us to write  in our application that we’re open to a sibling group but I don’t think I can handle that, either.

Since “returning the foster-child scenario” is one of my biggest fears, a cold dread stops me from signing up for the 24 hours of domestic adoption training, I need to hear a successful  adoption story from parents out there who actually fostered a child and then went on to adopt that child!

I’m begging adoptive parents to out there to send me your success story with fostering, and I will print it!

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International Adoption: Understanding the Hague Convention

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

The Hague Convention on Protection of Children is a set of internationally agreed-upon ethical standards for countries involved in international adoption.

These standards are designed to protect children, birth parents and adoptive parents, and to prevent child trafficking and other abuses.  Hague Convention countries must adhere to the rigorous Hague Convention standards, and any adoption agency wishing to facilitate an adoption through two countries must sign the Treaty and be accredited.

The Hague Convention for Inter-country Adoption was enacted in the United States in April 2008. To date, 75 countries have joined and follow a stricter set of guidelines than countries that are not operating under Hague. Hague countries are active in preventing child trafficking and abduction. They also make all efforts to find a family within their own country and culture before deeming a child eligible for inter-country adoption.

There are countries that have not signed on to be party to the Hague Convention and are considered non-Convention countries. It is possible to adopt from these countries, but choose a recommended agency who is licensed and operating under the highest standards.

A way to do this is to choose an agency that holds Hague Accredited/Approved which means:

  • The agency makes sure that they are ethically and morally operating in the best interest of the children involved with adoption.
  • The agency makes sure that there is no involvement in child trafficking, abduction, child exploitation, or the unethical “sale” of children.

The Department of State issues Adoption Alerts to caution American citizens about adopting from a certain country. Adoption Alerts may notify that a country has suspended adoptions or that the United States cannot process adoptions from that country. They may also inform prospective adoptive parents and adoption service providers about countries not compliant with the Hague Adoption Conventions.

For a list of countries that have ratified the Hague Convention click here, see the US Department of State site, and for a list of Hague Convention Countries. At this point in our journey, my family will only work with Hague Accredited countries.

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