Archive for the ‘International Adoption’ Category

Letter to Mrs. Obama about Russian Adoptions


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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

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Things You Need to Know Before Adopting Internationally


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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

First Month after Orphanage Life


I just found a journal I kept back when my two kids first came here from Russia.  My daughter was almost 11 and my son was 5.  I forgot I had jotted this list down.  It was a crazy time.  I wrote down the behaviors they had then.  Please realize some just lasted a few days or weeks but some lasted far longer…some a year or more! Remember these two children lived in a Russian orphanage and never experienced many things our birth kids take for granted. I laugh when I read this list as I remember being so exhausted that first year by many of these things on the list.  Here you go–

  • touching EVERYTHING in the house
  • going through drawers
  • shutting doors around the house
  • not wanting bedroom door shut at bedtime
  • can’t take a bath without me being in the room
  • trying on clothes over and over (this was just a girl thing!)
  • the 5 yr. old thought Kindergarten just lasted one day!
  • terrified of the shower when turned on. Jumped out and ran out of the room.
  • meltdowns after saying goodbye to people
  • very loud and needed reminders to tone it down
  • LOTS of crying –when left alone, bedtime, leaving friends, when overtired,many times for reasons we couldn’t understand
  • meltdowns when we were taking them places…fun places like fairs, McDonald’s, movies, etc. They cried all the way there and then would have a great time once there.
  • Alex slept with his shoes on the first couple of weeks, then the shoes had to be right next to him in bed after that. (He never had his own shoes and didn’t want someone to take them.)
  • it took several weeks of baths before the ‘smell’ came off of them from Russia. Not sure what it was but may have been nutrition related.
  • keeping fresh fruit and vegetables in the house was almost impossible.  They ate them non-stop for weeks.
  • terrified of the sound of the flushing of the toilet.

Most of these things I was never warned about.  We adopt these children with no training or warnings and then have to figure out what all their fears and insecurities are about. It is really a tough journey and takes TONS of patience. (and a lot of therapy!)

We have come a long way.  I just wanted to share this list so people currently adopting kids from orphanages can have an idea of what kinds of things they may see once you bring them home.  Obviously, our children were a bit older and had different fears than some little children.

Things do get better—for most things, at least!

Deborah Mumm, Adoption Coach

Everything for Adoption

Grants and Loans for Adoptions


Here is a great list of places that offer Grants or Loans to help with Adoption of a child!

 

Grants and Loans:

www.achildwaits.org  international adoptions

www.avashope.org/

www.brightfuturesfoundation.org/other-projects.htm

www.ggam.org/ For Christian families

www.abbafund.org/resources.htm for Christian families

www.nafadopt.org

www.jsw-adoption.org.

www.grantmeachance.com/grants.htm

www.orphanimpact.com

www.workersforjesus.com helps with adoption expenses for children that are deaf

www.familylegacies.us interest free loans

www.potters-hands.org for Christian families

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: http://www.nacac.org/taxcredit/taxcredit.html
• IRS Form 8839 Instructions: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i8839.pdf
• IRS Form 8839: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8839.pdf
• IRS adoption tax credit FAQs: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=231663,00.html
• Voice for Adoption’s distributable postcard: http://voice-for-adoption.org/adoption_tax_credit

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach
Everything for Adoption

Adopted Kids & Parents Meet!



Happy New Year!

We celebrated the end of 2011 and the new beginnings of 2012 by having our local Adoption Support Group over for a little party. It was a great time. A dozen kids, all adopted, got to meet other families created by adoption. The parents all seemed to enjoy talking about their kids, their adoption stories and more!
The common theme I heard was…’Parenting is great but full of challenges, whether your kids are adopted or not.’
I do realize, speaking from experience, that being an adoptive parent can be more challenging if your adopted children come to you with issues. (This is not to say that biological kids don’t come with issues, but sometimes Adoption issues are created by ‘adoption’.) To be adopted means that someone gave you away. I know this is actually a choice for many women, and a wonderful one for the child in most cases.
Adoption is a journey and it doesn’t end once your child is home. Many times things come up that we need to deal with because the child suffers from an inner loss of some kind, usually brought on by the idea of being adopted. Therapy by someone trained in Adoption issues is my first recommendation. Healing can come with time!
It was wonderful to see so many kids in my home that are adopted! We had some from the USA and some from Russia and China. However, they all blended beautifully together.
My 18 yr. old daughter, adopted from Russia was found in her room surrounded by little girls, from China, Russia and USA. So she did what any ordinary teenage girl might do…paint all their nails. The little girls were thrilled!
I am attaching a photo of all the kids at the party. It was a great way to start the new year! All of us….Blessed by Adoption.

Deborah Mumm
Everything for Adoption

WKRS Radio Adoption Show


Alex at orphanage


Today Alex and I were guests on the Personal Best Show on WKRS Radio. We shared our adoption story. Here is the link to it if you would like to hear us! Let me know what you think.

Russian Adoption Story

Deborah Mumm
Everything for Adoption