Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New Blog Address

My New Blog is being hosted at:

Hope to read ya there!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Foster Kids Medication Use

There's debate over the use of Ritalin, Lithium, and other psychotropic medications in foster and special needs adoptive kids. Parents find it hard to accept depression, ADHD, and mood disorders as real issues when they themselves have not experienced it first hand or have ever loved someone who's struggled to be good enough, "get it" as easily as peers, or live unburdened by the mood storms these kids and teens have inherited from the very biological family members who failed to care for the child due to the limiting effects of their own mental health issues.
Sorrowfully parents feel they are being manipulated, tricked, duped, or bullied. "If only the child were less selfish, could just apply himself, needs more discipline or punishment."
Failing to recognize, accept, or seek help for a child experiencing hereditary mood disorders, brain chemical abnormalities, or cognitive impairments can lead to a teen or adult who feels they'll never measure up, be normal, or worthy. An attitude that medications and therapy is wrong, dangerous, or unnecessary can lead to the very self medication (drugs and alcohol), suicide and attempts, isolation and failures that cost the child's birth parents the right and ability to raise the child that is now living their legacy.

The medications aren't perfected and some do have dangerous or bothersome side effects but the alternatives can be worse. Children should be allowed help without the guilt of not being able to power through mental health issues on their own. Accepting the child's extra needs and supporting them is a true act of understanding and compassion.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Post Adoption Depression

Post Adoption Depression Syndrome. It's not commonly known that it happens after a baby or child joins a family through adoption not just a form of post partum depression post giving birth. It can happen a day after your child joins your family or a year. It can happen to a Mom or a Dad. It can happen if your child is perfectly perfect or beautifully flawed. Some call it adoption blues but it can feel much worse then a small case of being down. It can range from annoyance from losing the life you previously had before children arrived or all the way up to anxiety episodes or panic disorders. The triggers can be anything from lack of sleep, discovering a difficult special need, feeling overwhelmed. It's really really real and will improve if seeking support from others who've adopted, a professional to talk with, medication, journaling, just be sure to seek help in some way. You don't have to feel guilt or do this alone.

Here are some real mom's experiences with PADS:

Mom #1-My daughter was adorable! That is for certain. We adopted her at one year old through our state's Social Services Department. Actually she moved in then (legally free), but didn't finalize the adoption right then. She had a loving but over bearing foster mom who was a constiant intrusion with visits, phone calls and how-to lessons on the care of my daughter. My dear daughter was a little off always. I couldn't explain what it was a just brushed it aside as a drug effect and probably some issue attaching to me after the trauma off moving. The caseworker and attorney visits with their annoying unhelpful intrusions, the therapist appointments where it was made clear they are the experts on my child and the fact that my dd was having some kind of issue all bogged down on me at once. I'd given up a life with my two older boys where I could sleep in a bit, no diapers, no hand holding, no need to constantly watch over the child for this new life that included opening my home to scrutinizing, strangers and a child with issues I didn't have a good idea what they were. If depression is rage turned inward then I was feeling it full force! My body physically ached, I lost friends interest who didn't have little kids anymore, and I felt alone as if I had no right to "complain" because I had a million chances in my 2 year adoption process to change my mind. I still wrestle with depression symptoms 3 years later. Three years later I still don't have a 100% clear idea about what's going on with my daughter. But I know that this period in her life isn't permanent, we'll reach new stages as time goes on. Kids are little for just a short time in their lives. I have appointments with all the professionals. Someone will help my daughter or I'll just keep advocating till they do. I know that much is true.

Mom #2-I tried to talk to my husband about my feelings but he didn't seem to feel the same way. I tried to talk to my best friend but her attitude seemed kinda like she thought I got a child after a two year wait so I should just be happy. I was glad to find a message board that had other moms who've been through it. My ND put me on 5HTP. I got over it pretty much but did find that the hard behaviors I have to put up with have required counseling, more help with my child and a lot of work. It's hard but got easier when I found out I didn't cause this, choose this and don't have to control it by myself.

Mom #3- I still take medication. My child takes medication. I'm as crazy as they are. Life is what it is. Gotta love it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What Happens to foster kids when the state's run out of money for social services?

Economic Solution for Foster Kids
By Ali Bond-Smith, 2/26/09

I’ll never forget the first time I saw my new foster daughters. I’d left my husband and three kids back in Oregon and flew all the way to Arizona while eight months pregnant to pick them up. There standing in the lobby was 5-yr-old Sadie with her dark brown features and 3-yr-old Jamey with her tempting squishy cheeks and missing tooth. Arizona DES hoped if they could get the judge or birthparents to terminate their parental rights we could adopt them. There young drug addicted birth mom was my second cousin making the girls second cousins twice removed and though it’s not an actual relative and we haven’t spoken since I was 11-yrs-old I thought she’d consider doing what was best for the young girl’s by getting them out of a distant foster home, knowing James and I have adopted before and are capable of loving them as our very own.

Their caseworker promised their medical records, foster care records, social security numbers, and birth certificates were all in the mail to me so I’d be able to enroll them in school, take them to the doctor, and get state insurance to cover the cost till we could adopt them, if we could adopt them. Seven months later we’re still unable to enroll Jamey in the special classes she needs for her emotional difficulties, Sadie is threatened by the school every trimester for not being able to provide proof of age or immunization despite an Oregon caseworkers letters, and our family of eight is still paying cash out of pocket unreimbursed for emergency doctor and dentist appointments despite the fact that our self employed business is directly tied to the failing real estate market. Sadly after using a 401k account we still can not afford the mental health services the girls require to deal with their mounting anxiety and attachment issues. Jamey’s breathing machine, prescriptions and treatments sit at the pharmacy waiting half a year later because the cost is too great for us combined with the emergency dental treatments they’ve required. Our health insurance company won’t accept responsibility for the girls because they are not our kids. Oregon Health Plan won’t place the girls on Medicaid because we don’t have the social security numbers, proof of naturalization, and as it turns out one of the girls has a different legal last name even their Oregon caseworker was unaware of. Finally Arizona ICPC office prompted a caseworker visit to our home yesterday to inform us the state is out of money due to the economy and our options as foster parents are to continue to pay out of pocket or send the girl’s back to Arizona.

The government seems to feel that in times of economic stress children can be thrown away, “sent back” or disposed of.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Post Adoption Support


Post Adoption Support Services

Once the adoption papers are signed and all is finalized seems like the safest time to a child with extra needs to give her parents cause to seek extra support and services. If you contact information for your state that will benefit other foster and adoptive families will you please add them to comments? We look forward to your contribution!

State of Oregon:

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Adoption Information Curiosity

Adoption Information Curiosity

How many of us who have adopted, been adopted or placed a child for adoption have to face the dreaded questions from curious people? Some people are curious for very modest reasons such as they are interested in adding their family through adoption, but most are just plain entertained by whole adoption world. Hoping to hear the details of the Birth Mom villain or victim, the LifeTime drama’s of babies overcoming drug addicts, and who the “real” parents are. How many of us have had to face the dreaded personal questions in front of our children?!?

“Are they really brother and sister?”
“Is he a crack baby?”
Did you get her from Ethiopia?”
“Why can’t you have kids of your own?”
Aren’t you afraid his real Mom will want him back?”
“How does he like having two Moms?!?”

We’ve heard it all and not just from strangers in the check out line, but from our own family members, neighbors or health care professionals. A child’s adoption story is their own. Their history, their genetic family members and their life stories are their own to share with whomever they are comfortable. They may be just one year old now but someday they will an eleven year old with a best friend they may chose to confide in, a twenty one year old with a serious boyfriend who should learn her history from her, a fifty year old getting ready to have grandchildren herself and information shared years earlier is still circling the family gossip chain. It’s the child’s story to tell. Even the smiling four year old before you comprehends more than you know. Having to see her Dad grope for a polite but appropriate answer to nosey questions is uncomfortable.

The Adoption Manners Rule for asking adoption related questions is 1st: Ask yourself why you want that information. 2nd: Don’t ever ask in front of children. 3rd: Review Positive Adoption Language before talking about adoption. 4th: Trust that the parent/s will share information with you that they feel you should know.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Adoption Announcements

Adoption Announcements

They aren’t a new thing. They are exactly like receiving a New Baby announcement. Respond the exact same way. If you’d normally send a Congrats card or gift do so. Adoption is as exciting as a brand new baby especially to the new parents; even if the child is older, part of a sibling group, had previously been the parents foster child they are now able to adopt, or has special needs. Its celebration time and your acknowledgement will go a long way with the new family!

Adoption Announcements can be specially ordered or handmade. Decide if you are sending an individual annoucement for each child or a group one if adopting siblings. If you are having an adoption ceremony or celebration you could include the invitation. Consider including a list of Positive Adoption Language if you think your loved ones will be more comfortable knowing the most PC terms. The important information on the announcement is the child’s name as it’ll read on the newly issued birth certificate, birth date and the word “forever”. Adoption education isn’t a taught subject in school and some people just don’t understand that adoption is, is, is forever. It’ll be reassuring that your child is your child no matter what issues may develop in the coming years.

Lovely homemade ones can be done on colored note cards with a picture showing off your new child, hand printed, made on a computer, ordered or done as an e-card:

The Jones Family proudly announces the adoption of
Suzy Q Jones
Date of Birth

Home forever!
Our dearly adored son

Johnny Doe

-Date of Birth-

Joining proud parents Jose and Janie Doe, and brother and sister Joe and Jan Doe


The mannerism rule for adoption announcements is this: “Celebrate the child as you would any child/baby!”