Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Russian Adoption Ban: More than just an adoption news story!

December 28, 2012

19 years ago today my husband and I were counting the last few days until we could fly to Russia to finally bring our daughter Tanya home.  Today we are shocked and saddened by the news that President Putin has signed the bill banning US adoptions of Russian children.  We are sickened to read  that the passing of this bill  has little to do with adoption itself and more to do with retaliation for our own government’s passing of the  Magnitsky Act.  Ironically, this act was passed  to send a human rights message to Russia and instead it has created a new and even more haunting human rights issue.

My heart aches for the US families in the process of adopting who may now never see their precious children come home.  More importantly, my heart breaks for every Russian child whose fate, because of this bill,  will be to grow up in an institution; a fate that the research clearly tells us has dire consequences.  The children are the real victims in this drama.  This is much much more than an adoption news story.  This is much more than the political maneuverings of two countries’ governments   This is a children’s human rights issue.

The simple fact is that the signing of this bill means that thousands of Russian orphans who would have had homes, will now languish in orphanages.  Unacceptable.  It is not unacceptable to me just as an American or just as an adoptive mother or even just  as someone who educates adoptive parents about the very real needs of children who have waited in orphanages.  It is unacceptable to me as a human being.  It is unconscionable to  know that institutional care creates undeniable issues for the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical well being of children and then to enact policy that actually means more children will suffer this fate.

As an adoptive parent, I have always taught my daughter that her father and I are the lucky ones.  I’ve never liked it when people told us how lucky she was to have us.  She was and is our dream come true.  It seemed insane to think of her as the lucky one.  But today, I am forced to imagine what would have happened to our Tanya, and the more than 55,000 other children that were adopted from Russia since then, if they had played out their years in a Russian orphanage.  It is chilling to  think of what would have been lost  to our Tanya, to us, and to the world, if  she (and the others) had not come home to us.

tanya life 2

Feel free to respond to this blog with your own pictures and stories.  And as this tragedy plays out in the days and weeks to come please help to educate the people around you that this is much more than an adoption news story.  Reach out to your senators and representatives and tell them that you expect our government to continue to fight for these children’s human rights.  And if you are blessed with children that are home safe and sound, hug them tightly and commit to teaching them about human rights and our responsibility as members of the human race to fight for them.

Heart of the Matter HOME



Open Adoption: Capturing the Voice of the Adoptee

April 18, 2012

Katie and I are deep in work on our newest project, an online course for prospective parents considering an open adoption.  As part of our work we have launched a research project to try and capture adult adoptees’ voices.  We’re specifically looking for adults 18+ who had some degree of contact with birth family members while growing up.  Please share this link with those you know who might want to participate.  The participants may remain anonymous.  Results will be published on our website and used in our course.  The survey takes only a few minutes to complete.

Heart of the Matter Home


How, When and Why to Phase Out International Adoptions?

September 13, 2011

South Korean Adoptions: The Canary in the International Adoption Mine? is an article written by Dawn Davenport that explores some of the thought processes, pressures and goals behind South Korea’s policies limiting international adoptions.  It does an excellent job of examining some of the rationales and policies based on research rather than opinion or rhetoric.

Most important, it brings to light the unintended consequences of imposing limits on international adoptions before the rate of domestic adoptions has caught up.

What Have You Done Since June 24th?

August 5, 2011

What has happened in your life since June 24th?  Take just a minute to look at the last two months of your calendar, scan through the last 2 months of your email or just think about what you and your family have done this summer.

Here at my house we’ve:

  • eaten well over 65 meals together
  • celebrated the 4th of July
  • enrolled our youngest daughter in kindergarten and our son for his sophomore year in high school

Since June 24, I have:

  • fixed our daughter’s hair about 41 times
  • hugged our son good night about 27 times (he went on a trip with his grandpa)
  • read at LEAST 82 books to our daughter, not including a couple of chapter books
  • almost finished writing and visually creating my section of our new online class for special needs adoptions

Why do I ask you to think about what you’ve done since June 24th?  Because that is the last time I posted about the “Bac Lieu 16” and every single one of these children are still waiting.

Take just a few minutes to watch this video… we all need to remember and be accountable.  If you haven’t signed the petition yet, please do so!  If you haven’t emailed about these little ones, please do so now!

Empty Stroller March from Both Ends Burning on Vimeo.

British Struggling with Transracial Adoption Issues

January 25, 2011

I just read a really interesting article about transracial adoptions (or rather, the policy against transracial adoptions) in the British foster care system.   What do you think?

Heart of the Matter Seminars

Amazing Brains!

January 12, 2011

I watched a story on Nightline last night that talked about individuals who have healed from traumatic brain injuries. (video is here and a text summary is here)   While this piece was spurred by the Tuscon tragedy and Rep. Giffords’ injuries, its main focus was really on our brains’ incredible capacity to heal and re-work itself after injuries.

I found the topic to be incredibly hopeful for those of us parenting or working with kids who had less than optimal experiences early in life.  In Because They Waited we talk about the neurological consequences of neglect, deprivation, chaos or abuse early in life.  We also spend a great deal of time talking about how to really put the “use it or lose it” concept into practice in our every day life.

Those of you who have completed Because They Waited will likely find the Nightline piece encouraging and a boost to your own efforts to promote positive brain development through your everyday life.  If you haven’t yet completed Because They Waited, I’d encourage you to use it to learn more about brain development and children who have spent time in less than optimal care before entering their homes.

Keep International Adoption an Option

October 28, 2010

I just read an article titled Ethiopian Adoptions Rise, Bucking Global Trend.  The article discusses changes in international adoptions from a global perspective and highlights the fact that although many children are currently being adopted from Ethiopia, most other countries that used to allow international adoptions have either shut down or have dramatically slowed in international placements.

I worked at an international adoption agency during the time Romania shut down in 2003.   (more…)

Katie’s thoughts on “Child Development Isn’t Linear”

September 29, 2010

I just read an article called “Child’s Development Isn’t Linear” that you can find here.   Although it is geared toward school readiness it has a lot of truth for any parent and especially for parents whose children had a hard start in life.  Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

“Children cannot be pushed, hurried, practiced or tutored along developmental stages,” Wolfe says. “Normal growth just needs time. Outside pressures cause a child to spin out of control.”

This is so,  true, isn’t it?  And yet, how much time, money and effort is spent pushing, hurrying, practicing or tutoring skills that we think our children should have NOW?   True for typical parenting experiences and probably even more true for parents whose children whose children spent time in less than optimal care.  Especially true for parents who don’t have information about what we call a child’s “real age” as opposed to their “chronological age”.  (we’re going to talk a lot more about this in an upcoming webinar) (more…)

Depression in Preschoolers?

August 26, 2010

I just read an article, “Can Preschoolers Be Depressed” from the New York Times and wanted to share it here.   There are no hard and fast answers, but I do think that it’s an article that’s especially relevant for those of us parenting children who had a less than optimal start in life.

Bullying, Empathy and Babies

July 21, 2010

At first glance, bullying, empathy and babies do not seem to be connected and yet they are incredibly interconnected.  I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about our neighbor’s baby and empathy for awhile, but work and family commitments have kept me (and Julie) off our blog for awhile.  But as I was eating lunch and surfing the web I found an article in Time Magazine that made me login here and start blogging! (more…)

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