Posts Tagged ‘ when a child dies ’

Can you Report Foster Care Abuse and Adoption Neglect?

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

How much can we get involved if we even suspect a child is in danger? Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Every year 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving nearly six million children (a report can include multiple children).

The United States has the worst record in the industrialized nation, losing five children every day due to abuse-related deaths, according to the National Child Abuse Hotline. I wondered last week if some of us parents and adoptive parents had the balls to call child protection services if they suspected anything.

Reader Vanessa remarked back about reporting members of her own family, and she got nowhere with the foster care system.

She said, “I have even reported my uncle’s girlfriend (she has two girls, one his and another whose father she does not know) to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) three times. I happen to know that there have been other calls made by schools and pediatrician’s offices.

I have done everything in my power (taking them to my house as often as possible for sleepovers, having them over for dinners to make sure they are fed, bathing them to make sure they are clean, giving them clothes, advice, helping with homework, etc.) short of kidnapping them to help the girls. The system is flawed.”

Vanessa said sometimes a social worker visited (after a pre-notification to the party under investigation) and they would do a cursory home inspection. “Unless the person is literally beating the kid in front of them they usually find nothing. Of course if you call them first then they have plenty of time (which she has) to warn the kids that they will be removed, punished, etc. By the time the worker comes these kids are all smiles and life is great, dinner is at 6 every night and they really love their mommy.”

That is a big, fat lie. What would you do to alert the authotrities about an abused child? I’d scream my holy head off. Just for starters…

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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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Back To The Adoption Diaries, by Nicole Dorsey-Straff

Widespread Abuse in the Foster Care System

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

I admit it: I troll news sites and websites for the most up-to-the-minute breaking mom news. Mom blogger news up the kazoo. Both having my own child and following the missing children websites, including the frenzy over the Jaycee Duggard story, I feel an obligation to keep up with the flow of scary child information.

Funny story:  About three years ago, my husband and I agreed that Los Angeles was too crime-filled and smog-polluted and we decided to move to Colorado after I personally witnessed the arrest of a child molester who lived down the street.

We’re outta there.

Here’s the punch line:  A week after moving to white-collar, homogenous bike-lovin’ Boulder, Colorado, I check a familiar Sex Offender website and find several yucky old men in a 4-mile radius. I sat on my new, snow-covered lawn and shivered.

We were back in Los Angeles in 10 months for a host of reasons.

Do you ever follow shocking kidnapping horror stories like this out of curiosity or a sense of vengeance, or maybe the horrific circumstances of others makes us feel just a tiny bit safer? I do, I troll websites for stories that keep my son safer.

Here’s one about gross accusations of a foster care organization in Vienna, Austria:

Lawyer Thomas Oelboeck represents two sisters claiming they and 18 other girls were raped for years in the early 1970s in the institution run by the city of Vienna. He said the third woman asserts that children at the Schloss Wilhelminenberg home were also regularly raped during her time there in the late 1940s and 1950s.

Oelboeck spoke of “anatomical changes due to the abuse,” adding medical reports he had seen related to the claims show that “these bodies are maltreated.” He said he could not divulge further details for now. One victim, now 69, was cited as saying that she saw a female teacher stomp a child to death.

“The women are totally believable and authentic,” he told reporters. “A story of this kind cannot be made up.” Authorities say that — even if crimes can be proven and perpetrators tracked down — the statute of limitations mean the cases cannot be pursued.”

PS: Welcome to new mommy blogger at I don’t have a middle name, and neither does my son, Sam, and I like it that way!

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Celebrate International Adoption Month with Heroes

Monday, November 7th, 2011

As a journalist, I have my fair share of heroes, from those brazen well-written female journalists who came before me (such as Sally Lee, one of my written-word mentors who is now a Senior VP and editor-in-chief of Ladies Home Journal. She is one of a few full-fledged award-winning journalists who weaned me here on the pages of Parents Magazine.) She taught me — still does — that women like me have a social and emotional responsibility to help other women.

As I moved through my thirties and became ultra-aware of the world around me, and began to write about international travel and citizens of our world, my heroes began to include pioneers of a healthier more woman-friendly world, such as Madelyn Albright and Hillary Clinton. Whatever your personal politics, my environmental and political heroes add up!

Then when I gave birth and became a mom a few years back, I had a major paradigm shift. Suddenly, I birthed a healthy baby boy who was perfect in every way — Sam was at the top of his height and weight charts. Sam hit every milestone exactly right, he crawled when he was supposed to, slept through the night right on time and was easy to potty train (but my husband totally did it).

Having Sam in my life every day makes my life’s meaning powerful, passionate, and resolute.

So reading this NY Times story from a mom who gave birth to a very sick baby boy who is going to die before his third birthday, hits me in the gut like a ton of bricks. This mom did all her genetic testing like I did, both of them came back negative. But hers was wrong! My  good God, she had no warning and now her perfect angel will die from Tay-Sachs disease.

My heart breaks.

And as I sit here weeping my guts out for her and her beautiful boy, I must place myself in her shoes for only five minutes and I can barely take it! So my own heart grows bigger in my chest cavity and to make meaning of this, I must help a child, another child. Who by luck of the genetic draw needs my help. I have been so lucky with Sam.

I think my family — and especially me — might have the strength to adopt a child from the foster care system, an older kid who will be loved and schooled and supported throughout her life. We’re going for it.

But moms who have chronically sick children are now my heroes.

Tell me your adoption story here and I will write and report to help!


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