Archive for the ‘adoption process’ Category

Letter to Mrs. Obama about Russian Adoptions


This is worth sharing…..A letter from an adoptive mother,Stacey DiBlasi Seeley‘s  on the Russian adoption ban

A few days ago thousands of Russian citizens marched in protest of their government’s new legislation banning adoptions to American families. There are more than 700,000 orphans in Russia; 120,000 of those eligible for adoption. Many of those children have families here in the United States wanting desperately to bring them home. I watched in amazement as these Russian individuals braved the cold weather and possible arrest to make a point. And then I looked at my son, who just six months ago lived in a Russian orphanage and thought: “Where is the fight on our side?” And so I reach out, the only way I know how and make an appeal to a mother’s heart:

Dear Mrs. Obama,

I am writing you today to ask for help with a concern that weighs so heavily on my heart. As I am sure you are aware, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that essentially ends inter country adoption between the United States and Russia. I could give you thousands of reasons why that legislation is cruel and unjust but instead I will give you just one: my child’s eyes.

I met my son Aleksandr at the age of 10 months in February of last year. I knew from the moment his eyes looked into mine, that he was indeed the child of my heart. This was not because his eyes sparkled with love and excitement but rather because they looked so uncertain. “Who are you?” those blue eyes said to me. And my soul answered: I am your mother. While other mother’s can look into their child’s eyes for the first time and say, “Welcome to the world Little One,” I understood that my little one already knew too much of this world’s chilling cruelty and I promised then and there to give him all the love and protection that a mother can give.

On August 4, 2012 we brought Aleks home at 15 months of age. He was quickly diagnosed as failure to thrive and he has global developmental delays but through amazing programs available through the state of Virginia and the excellent medical care and support of our military community, Aleks is flourishing and “catching up” to others in his age group! He loves pigs and horses, coconut yogurt and “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. He leans in to give the sweetest kisses to his Momma and Daddy and the twinkle in his eyes (that was absent when we met him) lights up my world. I never imagined that my husband and I would have to travel halfway across the world three times to find our son. But I would do it again and again.

My family is a success story and a blessing thanks to cooperation between this great nation and Russia. But right now, mothers here in this country cry desperately because they are losing their child due to this legislation. A child who has the chance to know a mother’s love will be condemned to life in a less than adequate orphanage where he or she will not ever develop a sense of self worth or know the love of family. What if that was my son? Oh God, I don’t know how I would ever rest if my child were kept from me in those circumstances. And that is why I am writing to you today.

Please, Mrs. Obama, I beg you to speak with your husband on behalf of all the mothers stuck in this limbo, those who have officially started the adoption process, who have held their babies in their arms or have stared deep into the eyes of their child a half a world away. We respectfully ask that President Obama and Vice President Biden appeal to Mr. Putin from a humanitarian stand point and fight for the child’s right to be able to continue to know the mother’s love they had a glimpse of on that first meeting. We hope and pray for an agreement that allows the families who have already petitioned to adopt their child in Russia to be united as a family. What do we lose in trying?

Shared by…Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach, parent of 5 great kids- 2 of which were adopted from Russia. Everything for Adoption


Things You Need to Know Before Adopting Internationally


To improve your chances for a successful adoption, you need to be as fully informed and prepared as possible. Do not assume people in the adoption business “must know what they are doing.” Read all you can on the subject, ask every question you have, and use every resource available to you. This is a major decision not only for you but also the child you are going to bring home. Below are suggested questions to ask yourself and others, checklists, and suggested resources. This is not everything but it is a place to start.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Do we thoroughly understand the process of attachment or parent-child bonding and the consequences of children experiencing insecure attachment or broken attachments?
Do we have the necessary commitment to make an investment in parenthood that raising a child requires?
Do we know what kind of child we would consider bringing into our home?
Do we have sufficient knowledge to ask the right questions about a child?
Do we know how to establish resources before we adopt that we may need after the adoption?
Do we have the patience to participate in pre- and post-adoption placement counseling to be prepared for the problems that will arise?
Do we have the financial resources including adoption subsidies to raise this child?
Does the adoption subsidy include appropriate psychotherapy and residential treatment if these become necessary?

Questions to Ask Agencies and Caseworkers

Is the agency willing to provide full disclosure of all records prior to adoption finalization?
What were the circumstances that placed this child in foster care and for adoption?
What is the history of this child?
What kind of abuse (physical, emotional, and/or sexual) has this child endured?
How long has this child been in foster care and what kinds?
How many times has this child been moved since birth?
What are the existing or potential problems for this child?
What post-adoption intervention resources are available should problems arise?
To get more ideas about what adoptive parents need to know before adopting, read Keck and Kupecky’s book Adopting The Hurt Child, especially chapter six “Dreams and Realities.”

Signs of Attachment Difficulties (Birth-one)

Failure to respond with recognition to face of primary caretaker in first six months.
Infrequent vocalizations-babbling, crying.
Delayed milestones-creeping, crawling, sitting.
Resistant to physical contact or appears stressed by it-rigid and unyielding.
Excessive fussiness and irritability.
Passive or withdrawn.
Poor muscle tone-flaccid

Signs of Attachment Difficulties (Ages 1-5)

Excessively clingy and whiny.
Persistent, frequent tantrums, sometimes escalating apparently beyond the child’s control.
High threshold of discomfort-seemingly oblivious to temperature discomfort; picks sores and scabs until bloody without manifesting pain.
Unable to occupy self in a positive way without involving others.
Resistant to being held.
Demands affection in a controlling way on the child’s terms.
Intolerant of separation from primary caretakers except on the child’s terms.
Indiscriminate display of affection, sometimes to strangers.
Problems of speech development q Problems of motor coordination-considered accident prone.
Hyperactivity evident
Feeding problems
By five, may be manipulative, devious, destructive, hurtful to pets, frequently lying.

Symptoms of Attachment Disorder (Ages 5-14)

Superficially engaging and “charming”: uses “cuteness” to get others to do what he or she wants.
Lack of eye contact on parental terms: difficulty making eye contact with others while talking with them.
Indiscriminate affection with strangers: goes up to strangers and becomes overly affectionate with them or asks to go home with them.
Not affectionate on parents’ terms (not cuddly): refuses affection and pushes parents away unless child is in control of how and when it is received.
Destructive to self, others, and material things; accident prone: seems to enjoy hurting others and deliberately breaks or ruins things.
Cruelty to animals: May included incessant teasing, physical assault, torture, or ritualistic killing.
Stealing: steals from their home, parents, and siblings and in ways that almost guarantees getting caught.
Lying about the obvious: lies for no apparent reason when it would have been just as easy to tell the truth.
No impulse controls (frequently acts hyperactive): extremely defiant and angry; needs to be in control of events in his or her life; tends to boss others; responds with prolonged arguing when asked to do something.
Learning lags: often underachieves in school.
Lack of cause and effect thinking: surprised when others are upset by his or her actions.
Lack of conscience: unconcerned about hurting others or destroying things.
Hoarding or gorging food: hoards or sneaks food or has other unusual eating habits (eats paper, glue, paints, flour, garbage, etc.).
Poor peer relationships: difficulty making friends or keeping friends more than a week; bossy in his or her play with others.
Preoccupation with fire or gore: fascinated with or preoccupied by fire, blood, or morbid activities.
Persistent questions and chatter: asks repeated nonsensical questions or chatters non-stop.
Inappropriately demanding and clingy: tries to get attention by demanding things instead of asking for them; clingy or affectionate only when wanting something.
Abnormal speech patterns: along with other more serious symptoms, may develop unusual speech patterns.
Sexual acting out: may act sexually provocative with peers or adults; masturbates in public.
Factors that contribute to a successful adoption
McKelvey and Stevens, Adoption Crisis (1993, p. xviii)

Youth (older children have a harder time adjusting to an adoptive home)
A minimum number of moves and foster placements (frequent moves traumatize children)
A permanency plan developed immediately after the child enter the system
Preplacement services to assess the family strengths and skill, and to ease the transition
A correct temperament match between parents and child
Full disclosure of the child’s history and a realistic appraisal of the disruption risk
Postplacement intervention before problems become crises
Ongoing training and support for parents, lasting through adolescence in “special-needs” adoptions

Thanks to Adoption Helper for this article-
Adoption Helper
189 Springdale Blvd.
Toronto, ON, Canada M4C126

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach– Everything for Adoption

Adopt from Which Country Poll

Take this poll so we can see where our readers wish they could adopt from. Click on it and a survey will pop up. Thanks.

Which country would you adopt a child from (if you could)?


Deborah Mumm
Everything for Adoption

Adoption Tax Credit Awareness Day 2/13/12

We are asking everyone in the adoption community to take part in the first grassroots Adoption Tax Credit Awareness Day. Unfortunately, many adoptive families are still not aware that this tax credit exists. It is our goal to help ensure that all adoptive families who are eligible to receive this benefit are informed about how to claim the credit.

We are asking everyone, including professionals, advocates, state agencies, families, and others to help broadcast the existence of the adoption tax credit on one given day—February 13. You can either copy this text into an e-mail or print flier you share with others or download a flier to distribute.

Save the Date: Plan now to be part of the Adoption Tax Credit Awareness Day on Monday, February 13, 2012—a national effort highlighting the federal tax credit available to adoptive families.

Play Your Part: Join with adoption organizations, state agencies, adoptive families, advocates, and other interested parties to raise visibility of the adoption tax credit. Help spread the word collectively, through website postings, e-mail blasts, newsletters, social media, and other informational outlets, so eligible families that may not be aware of this benefit can be sure to access the credit. Families who adopted as far back as 2005 may still benefit if they haven’t already. Be sure to include non-internet based strategies since some adoptive families do not have access to the internet.

The Facts:
• Since 2003, families who adopted a U.S. child with special needs from foster care could claim a federal adoption tax credit even if they had no adoption expenses (as long as their income was below the fairly generous income requirements).
• Children who receive adoption assistance/subsidy benefits are considered children with special needs. Even families who receive a deferred subsidy ($0 per month but medical coverage through the subsidy program) are eligible.
• All adoptive families (except those who adopted a step-child) are eligible for the credit, but those who adopt children other than those with special needs must have—and be able to document, if requested by the IRS—qualified adoption expenses.
• For 2010 and 2011 the credit was made refundable. If parents who adopted as long ago as 2005 had credit to carry forward into 2010, that amount of the credit also became refundable. In 2010 and 2011, parents can claim the credit even if they don’t have income or any tax liability.
The amount of the credit for 2011 is $13,360 per child.

The Information:
• NACAC Tools & Resources:
• IRS Form 8839 Instructions:
• IRS Form 8839:
• IRS adoption tax credit FAQs:,,id=231663,00.html
• Voice for Adoption’s distributable postcard:

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach
Everything for Adoption

Adopt Baby Now from Haiti

To those interested in adopting an infant from Haiti…

Adoption-Link of Oak Park has recently learned of 30 healthy infants now available through its partnership with the Fondation Enfant Jesus orphanage located outside of Port Au Prince, Haiti. Since 2007 Adoption-Link has worked with this quality program and although every adoption is unique, once a family’s home study is approved and their dossier is sent to Haiti, a match with a waiting child will occur quickly. The timeframe to bring a baby home after matching is approximately 11-14 months. For more information, please call or email Heather Breems, or call 708-524-1433. Thank you and be well!

Noreen E. Davidson, LCSW
Director, Domestic Program
1113 South Blvd.
Oak Park, IL 60302
Ph 708-524-1433
Fax 708-524-9691
Cell 773-316-0290

How to Prepare an Adoption Homestudy?

A homestudy is one of the many requirements when you decide to adopt a child. It is to ensure the child is going to a safe environment. Is it difficult?
I wrote an article on this subject. Here it is–

Adoption Homestudy

Best of luck on your adoption journey!

Deborah Mumm

Having Faith when Life gets Difficult

Hi All!
Sometimes I think God is constantly testing me to see if I really have faith in Him. I do believe I am a good Christian, but wonder why I have to keep proving it.

First…we adopt two kids from Russia and that process was more than most people would ever be able to endure. We get them home and then we have the rollercoaster of life…adjusting to these kids and their issues, finding schools, therapists,and more! We spent the last year getting help for our teenage daughter so she could learn to believe in herself and learn to make good choices in her life. It was rough, but now we are seeing a beautiful girl who is so much stronger because of the therapy we have committed her to.

Just when things were starting to look brighter, my youngest son’s school tells us they aren’t a good fit for him…and recommend home school! Home school? That would involve me…a lot….right? I searched all summer for a school that might be able to work with him. But, no…he is just too far behind academically.

Sitting at church last week the priest seemingly did his sermon just for me. Do we trust in God? Do we know we are not alone and that he is always there to help us? I actually listened intently as I pondered the thought of homeschooling. In my head I was screaming at the priest, “But I don’t want to homeschool him! I am scared I might do it all wrong!”

Then, amazingly, just as I thought these things a woman’s voice announced, “Please open your hymnals and sing, ‘Be not Afraid!”
I felt like standing up and saying, “Really? Can this be happening to me? I am afraid…how can I not be afraid?” As I sang the song with the rest of the church I became more calm and realized God was speaking to me at that moment. I needed to have faith and know that I need to teach my son this year.

Is it going to be easy? Probably not. But I do think God is giving me a chance to save this boy from going down the same path his sister did…feeling inadequate, stupid and thinking he can only be friends with kids who have problems.

And, the best part…I really am not alone. I have God. I have friends who have offered to help me. I am discovering a whole new world of homeschoolers who are willing to help me. I’ll be the first to tell you this isn’t going to be easy. But adoption was not easy. Being a parent is not easy. It is another challenge for me that will probably just make me stronger! (again!)
Do you think God will ever think I am strong enough now and quit throwing challenges my way? I don’t know. Maybe he thinks these things all make me a better person. And maybe it is.

I love my life, my husband, and my kids. So I guess I just have to keep my faith when life gets difficult. I am not alone.

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach
Everything for Adoption