Adoption STAR’s International Adoption Coordinator, Megan Montgomery is quoted twice in this Chicago Tribune article:
Michele Fried is the author of Creating a Cultural Continuity Plan for Our Children, an article published in several adoption trade magazines including Adoption Today’s October 2010 Edition. (See pages 38-40.) Adoption Today is an online magazine about domestic and international adoption. Michele is also a frequent speaker on cultural diversity, cultural competency and developing cultural continuity plans for families and organizations. The Adoption STAR staff is representative of the culture at all levels of the organization. Additionally the Agency believes (even as a non profit themselves) that diversity includes acknowledging the reciprocal nature of relationships and is always working to “give back to other organizations.” The Agency’s programs exemplify cultural preservation and celebration. Language translation services are provided, particularly in assisting and advocating for families whose first and/or primary language is not English. And finally, in the field of adoption, Adoption STAR is one of a kind when it comes to it’s strong philosophy that they work to find families for children, not children for families. It is an important distinction and one that resonates while promoting the creation forever families.
By using a set of principles, Michele introduces how organizations can become more culturally competent. Michele also shares with parents to be what they can do now to be prepared to raise a child of a different race and ethnicity. Cultural competence is not about being colorblind or being diverse, it is the ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures while being aware of one’s own cultural analysis. While many will look at the term specific to transracial adoptive readiness, Michele prefers to extend cultural competence to include a respect for people of all cultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, and sexual orientations.
With upwards of 600,000 orphaned or abandoned children in Russia, why ban ALL adoptions by US Citizens who have added 60,000 Russian children to their families over the last twenty years?
Families in the process of adopting a child from Russia wait on pins and needles as January 1st quickly approaches and brings with it a determination as to whether or not adoption of Russian children will continue to be allowed by families abroad. If the law passes, these families will not be bringing their children home.
Parliment has unanimously approved a bill to ban adoptions of Russian children. Now, the final decision lies in the hands of President Vladmir Putin, who will be making this determination any day.
In 2011 alone almost 1,000 Russian children were adopted by parents from the United States and Russia was in the top 3 countries from which US families adopted.
According to the US Department of State website on Intercountry Adoption children adopted from Russia must be registered first on the local databank for one month, the regional databank for one month, and the federal databank for six months before the child can be officially released for intercountry adoption. Meaning it is usually eight months before a child’s paperwork can even be prepared for International Adoption. Eight months without their family, may now turn into forever if this ban is put in to place.
What will happen to these children?
To read more :
Megan Montgomery, LMSW
Adoption STAR, International Adoption Coordinator
Buffalo Business First selected Adoption STAR as one of The Most Admired Companies in Western New York.
Buffalo Business First wrote, “We asked readers, businesses and our staff to make suggestions and nominations. We examined them all, considering each company’s growth, its success as an employer, its work in promoting diversity, its connection within the local community and more. And we’re proud to share with you our list of Western New York’s Most Admired Companies.”
An abbreviated version of the nomination appeared in the December 21 edition of the Buffalo Business First newspaper.
Adoption STAR been recognized many times as a leader in its industry. The Agency maintains the prestigious COA Hague Accreditation, and was recently re-accredited with high marks through 2017. Additionally Adoption STAR is authorized in New York State, licensed in Florida and Ohio, and approved in Connecticut. This 501(c 3) non-profit charitable organization has been noticed by the community-at-large . In 2003 the founder received a Business First 40 Under Forty Award and in 2004 WKBW-TV honored the founder by selecting her to be one of the community’s Everyday Heroes. The YWCA also honored her in 2005 by selecting her as one of twenty-six women making a difference in Western New York. In 2009 she was the recipient of a Business First Women of Influence Entrepreneur Award. On May 1, 2010 during the Dazzling Decade ~ A Night of Stars 10th Birthday Gala, the founder and ceo was presented with the First Michele Fried Founder’s Award.
Adoption STAR is honored to be included as one of WNY’s Most Admired Leaders In Esteem.
An adoptive mother shares how she was able to explain adoption in a language and style first graders were able to understand. PLUS: a list of useful adoption resources and tips from professionals for talking about adoption in schools.
Each holiday season and approaching New Year, I reflect on the past…. calculating statistics, planning for the future, reassessing goals, celebrating growth and evaluating the year we are leaving behind.
I also think of those whose memories include family gatherings that highlight a missing member. Although these family traditions of togetherness give us some beauty it is also tempered by the acute awareness of the missing loved one. This loved one could be absent due to an adoption plan, miscarriage, death, divorce, substance abuse, mental illness, or family strife.
Instead of peace and joy as the holiday commercials insist upon, we often can’t help but think of our losses. For those who are hoping to become parents, the loss is just as painful. The dream of becoming a family may feel more difficult to hold on to.
Missing someone whether they were real or “hoped for” can be relentlessly palpable. I don’t believe any one person or family is without these realities. All I know, especially from the very real losses many of us experienced in 2012, is that life offers us amazing gifts… but sometimes we have to take the time to look for them.
So my wish for all of you is that…
Whatever is beautiful,
Whatever is meaningful,
Whatever brings you happiness…
May it be yours this Holiday Season
and throughout the coming year!
I treasure the gift of knowing each of you. Thank you for the pleasure of working with you and for supporting the work we do.
The Elly’s Angels Foundation provides opportunities, inspiration, and financial assistance to children of all ages. Inspired by Ellyce Kausner, who was killed on February 12, 2009 when Continental Flight 3407 crashed into a home in Buffalo, NY, Elly’s Angels was founded with two goals:
1. To support the development of strong, confident, young women by creating volunteer opportunities and providing strong mentorship.
2. To provide funds to infants with special needs who are in need of adoption. These Angels will be placed in a home where they can achieve their highest potential, receive all of the care and love that they deserve, and be provided with unique opportunities.
As a volunteer program, Elly’s Angels has been a part of numerous community events since it’s beginning in June 2009. For the last several years Elly’s Angels has given their time and financial support to many of Adoption STAR’s programs and events. This partnership means so much to us!
Adoption STAR wishes all of Elly’s Angels a very Happy Holiday and New Year and thank you for their ongoing support and generosity!
Georgette Mulheir is a pioneer for the movement to end child abuse in the form of orphanages. Her speech talks about the disadvantages of orphanage care and touches on why children lives in institutions and what is is like for them there…if you have 10 minutes take a look.
Need a last minute holiday gift? Why not show that someone special that you are thinking of them by making a donation in their name to the Adoption STAR Family Tree. It’s a great way to honor friends, family or professional contacts, and we will gladly notify them of your generosity. At the same time, if you would just as soon pass on another fruitcake or holiday necktie, we can help you let friends and family know that you would appreciate a donation be made to the Adoption STAR Family Tree on your behalf.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!
Today we offer the second guest post from Lori Holden, an emerging expert on open adoption. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole will be published in the spring, and early reviews indicate it will become the latest go-to manual for parents navigating the journey to parent in open adoption.
Lori responds to the question we posed: You ask a great question, Adoption STAR, a question that needs to be asked and pondered by each person exploring open adoption.
I bet if you asked a bunch of people who know about adoption what open adoption is, you would get variations on the theme of contact, that there is a continuum of contact, and that each adoption will find its way on to a point on the continuum. On one end might be a fully closed adoption, meaning no contact and no identifying information. At the other end people might place full openness — adoptive and birth parents treating each other as extended families.
But as we move into the third decade of the movement toward open adoptions, I submit that we should stop using contact as our measure. Why?
Because contact≠ openness. Contact is not the same as openness.
Further, because of the need to consider contact and openness separately, we need a better tool than a spectrum. How about a grid?
Let’s look at each of the boxes:
Box 1 is what we used to consider a closed adoption. Not only is there very little contact or identifying information available to the child, but the adoptive parents are ill-equipped to deal with adoption openly. They may have unresolved grief left over from their infertility struggles. They may have been counseled to act “as if” their child were born to them. They may not be comfortable having tough conversations and confronting “icky” feelings about adoption, either theirs or their child’s as she grows and advances cognitively. This box may be the most crippling for a child to grow up in, the least conducive to integrating her identity from both her sets of parents.
Box 2 is where there is contact with birth family, maybe through exchanges of photos, emails or even meetings. But what’s lacking is what Jim Gritter calls the Spirit of Open Adoption. Adoptive parents may harbor feelings of guilt, envy, distaste or even superiority about their child’s birth family, either consciously or subconsciously (by no means am I saying that all do, but rather the possibility that some do). These adoptive parents may enjoy having all the power they hold in the relationship, rather than inviting the first parents to co-create their open adoption relationship. Because of the lack of openness here, the child is still at a disadvantage, feeling split between her clan of biology and her clan of biography.
Box 3 is at play in many foster and international adoptions, as well as some domestic infant adoptions. It involves low contact but high openness. Distance, logistics, safety issues or the unavailability of first parents may make actual contact not possible or not wise, but the adoptive parents in this box still parent with openness. They deal with their own emotions about their adoption story mindfully, and they are able to open their hearts to their child as she processes her adoption story and integrates her identity. A child growing up in Box 3 is in a good position to have the space and support to do just that.
Box 4 is where the birth family is considered extended family, both in contact and in openness. This relationship may be no different than one with a beloved uncle, sister-in-law or grandmother (or even one not so beloved!). The relationships are child-centered and inclusive. The child is claimed by and able to claim both her clans, thereby helping her integrate all her pieces as she grows through her toddler and school years, through her tweens and teens and into adulthood. She is not pulled to choose or rank one family over the other and she is therefore not split — she is free to integrate herSelves and pursue wholeness in her identity.
I encourage parents via adoption to consider both aspects of open adoption — contact and openness — as they build and sustain a child-centered family constellation.
Lori Holden writes regularly at LavenderLuz.com about parenting and living mindfully. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available for pre-order on Amazon. She has written for Adoptive Families magazine, Parenting magazine and for BlogHer and MileHighMamas.com, a Denver Post site. On Twitter she’s @LavLuz and you can also find her on Facebook. She practices her Both/And technique with dark chocolate and red wine (though not at the same time).
Lori Lavender Luz
Yin yanging my way.
Author of The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption, available March, 2013.
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November Memories Shared
This post was written by Adoption STAR Founder and CEO, Michele Fried I have always believed that National Adoption Month and Thanksgiving were perfectly placed on the calendar. How wonderful to bring awareness and celebration to adopti