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Be an Ally, and Have a Safe Weekend

To say this week has been tough is an understatement. One True Gift stands with Black Americans everywhere, and we are heartbroken at what has transpired this week and in the weeks, months, years, decades, and centuries past. There is no excuse.

We are allies, and we are here for you in your adoption journey and beyond. We’ll be sharing more content here and on our social media feeds to amplify equality in adoption, parenting, childhood experiences, and raising Black children and children of color in America. If there’s anything you’d like to see us cover or talk about, please let us know.

May this weekend offer you restoration, a moment of healing, a bit of sunshine, shared joy with friends and family, and even a moment’s relief from the traumatizing, challenging, and heartrending news cycle.

Here are some of the thing we’ve been reading this week:

On becoming anti-racist (don’t sleep on the comments).

The unbearable grief of Black mothers.

This week on the blog: do we need to be posting our children on social media? “Sharenting” is a modern-day parenting trend, and it’s not without consequences. 

Parenting mishaps don’t have to be permanent. 

We must always be talking to our children about race. 

This family documented their international adoption journey, and then recently re-homed their special needs son. 

Signed, sealed, delivered: this family is yours! 

The Stuy couple made an interesting discovery while researching China’s “one-child” rule. 

National Foster Care month has highlighted an Iowa couple who made it their mission to help children in the system. 

The Children’s Bureau is offering online training and orientation for prospective adoptive and foster parents. 

Are slumber parties a thing of the past? 

Positive parenting is what we need right now. 

<3

 

Should You Be Posting About Your Child on Social Media?

Sharenting is an evolution of modern parenting: the art of sharing your parenting with the digital world. By speaking openly about your family on social media, you are shaping your child’s digital identity potentially before they’ve even created their first email account. Blogging and social media have vastly changed the landscape of the issues that children and young adults will encounter and how they will deal with them. How will what we share about our children now affect them later on in life? 

For example, it’s your child’s birthday. You post a sweet photo of them blowing out their candles, tag a few family members and friends, and call it good. When a close friend or family member shares that photo with their friends, it opens your life to a broader audience—sometimes without your consent. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but in reality, it has the potential to give strangers a unique inside look at your family and your child’s life. 

Now more than ever, children are growing up while being watched. With social media, their personal lives are broadcast to family and friends. While parents are sharing on social media, children are working to develop their own identities. When is it time to give your child a say in what is posted or shared about them? At what point do we give our children autonomy to develop their personality? 

Does this mean we need to all give up social media? Not at all. It can be used as a positive outlet for families to share, but make sure you’re aware of the privacy laws surrounding the social platforms you may use. It may be worth it to sit down as a family and establish boundaries on sharing information with the public. 

Currently, the United Nations is reviewing its Convention on the Rights of the Child. This agreement is being expanded further to protect the privacy and privacy rights of children. A study by the Herald Sun showed that the majority of young adults over the age of thirteen would like to have control over what is posted about them. Sharing is fun and can be very special, but for the sake of your family’s health and your child’s privacy, it’s always good to create a plan with your family the information to which people have access.

Have A Lovely Long Weekend

Happy Memorial Day weekend! Holiday weekends still count in quarantine. We say, even more so. Set the boundaries you deserve and dedicate whatever you can to enjoying this long weekend. It’s yours and you deserve it. 

To kick things off, we’re sharing our favorite reads of the week. Enjoy and be well, dear friends.

A growing number of adoptive mothers are taking a shot at breastfeeding. We discussed this rising trend on the blog this week. 

There are currently 111 kiddos up for adoption through the Oklahoma Heart Gallery

Do your children seem extra clingy right now? There may be a good reason. 

The best moments to take pictures of your children. 

Parents of special needs children are frontline workers, too.  

Nicole Cliffe talks about her son’s interest in nature.

You may be getting sick of the people you’re quarantining with—here are some fun relationship-building games to get you back on track. 

Does your child have disruptive behaviors?

Stop mom-shaming yourself! 

It started with a newspaper article. 34 years later Pegg Smith has created a safe haven for children. 

Adoption and Breastfeeding

Throughout the years, there’s been a growing trend in the adoption community—adoptive mothers exploring induced lactation as a way of breastfeeding a newly-adopted infant. Should this be something you choose to explore, it should be early in your process, and always with consultation from a physician. Milk production can sometimes take weeks to build up to even supplemental levels, so it is crucial to develop a plan with your care team. 

Currently, there are no FDA regulated drugs for induced lactation. The one most commonly used by mothers, Domperidone, has FDA warnings about the side effects, as they may impact a mother’s physical health. Your doctor should prescribe any medication that you are curious about.

Should you want to explore induced breastfeeding, prescription drugs aren’t necessarily the only option. Some mothers may begin pumping regularly in the weeks leading up to the birth of their baby—the more stimulation, the more potential supply. Mayo Clinic states that with “considerable dedication and preparation,” breastfeeding without pregnancy could be possible. 

Breastfeeding without pregnancy simply may not be possible, and the most important thing is that your child is fed and healthy. The production of breast milk is triggered by the interaction of three hormones: estrogen, progesterone, and human placental lactogen. These hormones can occur with months of hormone therapy, which should be conducted under the advisement and guidance of a physician. 

Skin-to-skin contact is one of the best ways to build that special bond with your newborn. If breastfeeding isn’t possible or of interest, try doing feedings with a bare chest so that the natural warmth and touch that breastfeeding provides comes through. It’s one of the best ways to nurture your child without actually feeding them. 

If you are interested in this path, but a milk supply doesn’t develop, don’t be discouraged. Breastfeeding is a nuanced and layered experience that is both easy and difficult for so many women for so many circumstances. It has nothing to do with a mother’s ability to parent or take care of her child.

If having your newborn on a breast milk feeding pattern is important to you, there are other options, like a local milk sharing program. La Leche is helping facilitate connections with local breast milk banks. They offer advice on finding safe and reputable agencies that follow necessary FDA approved procedures for milk sharing. 

You can feed and bond with your baby in so many ways. We love What To Expect’s thought ideas. However your journey unfolds, stay present and know that your child is unfathomably lucky to have you. 

Have A Safe Weekend

You made it through another week! Congratulate yourself. That’s no small feat these days. We continue to send our love and thoughts to everyone navigating the ins and outs of this stilled chaos. Remember to check your local government’s website for updates regarding coronavirus.

In the meantime, enjoy some of our favorite reads of the week and enjoy the rest of your weekend. 

Opioid addiction is real—make sure you’re having the right conversations with your family. Visit this week’s blog for tips on starting the conversation. 

Having a sibling with special needs presents many advantages, but is there a burden to bear? 

What is the most powerful skill a child can learn during times of crisis? 

Bridge Michigan is helping parents strategize ways to ensure their children thrive. 

Level up your space while stuck at home! 

Nebraska is developing a tool to connect childcare providers and parents. 

Parenting during quarantine: have you given up? 

Watching this teen realize he’s part of a family will warm your heart (maybe grab tissues, too). 

Potbelly is currently testing a very creative solution for stressed-out parents.

The Washington Post is providing real-time updates on COVID-19. 

 

 

Talking to Kids About the Opioid Crisis

Dr. John DeGarmo is the director of the Foster Care Institute, an adoptive father of three children, and has seen the opioid crisis firsthand. According to DeGarmo, the opioid epidemic is the main reason for the alarming rise of children in foster care. With the number of opioid prescriptions rapidly rising—a total of 259 million prescriptions were written in 2015—the United States has become the highest opioid consumer in the world. Children orphaned by the opioid crisis are thrust into an already overwhelmed foster care system. 

The opioid crisis is also generating a continuous spread of addiction and mental health issues. Johns Hopkins projects that by the year 2030, the lifetime cost of this devastation will total nearly $480 billion. That cost often is passed onto children struggling with mental health or abuse issues, who require special services to cope, heal, and manage lifelong trauma. “This includes additional spending in health care, special education, child welfare, and criminal justice stemming from the multiple impacts of parental opioid use disorder on a child’s physical, mental, and social-emotional health,” the report states. 

The widespread devastation of this crisis is gutting. While ultimately, local and federal governments need to change with laws and policies, you and your family can begin affecting change on a micro-level. The simplest way to start? Talk to your children. Given the scale of the national crisis, this is a conversation parents need to have with their children, just like with safe sex, sexual abuse, bullying, and social and digital safety. You can keep the conversation age-appropriate without sugarcoating it. Be clear about the real facts and long term effects of opioid abuse and addiction. Most people, especially young adults, do not realize how quickly addictions can form and how the repercussions will affect the rest of their life. 

The National Institute of Drug Abuse compiled valuable information to help families navigate conversations about opioid addiction. Many people falsely believe that people struggling with addiction sought out drugs to get high. As a result, your children may not realize that something as simple as a dental procedure or a sports injury could lead them down a dangerous path of dependence. Safety always begins at home. 

Have A Loving Weekend

Happy weekend! How is everyone doing? The is a time filled with many ups and downs. It’s so important to check in with yourself daily and to take inventory of your emotions, struggles, and wins. One day at a time, friends.

We also want to wish a very happy Birth Mother’s Day to all the birth mothers in our lives, and a happy Mother’s Day to those celebrating tomorrow. We know that this can be a very tough weekend for women and children of all backgrounds—our hearts, thoughts, and loving energy are with every single one of you struggling this weekend. We see you and love you. 

Here are some of favorite reads of the week.

Have you struggled with your child favoring one parent over the other? You’re not alone. 

It’s important to make a plan for yourself should a member in your household test positive for COVID-19. 

We are all struggling with the mundanity of staying home all the time. Insider.com put together a really creative list of activities for the whole family. 

The Mosiers flew to India to pick up their baby, but the country locked down before they could leave. 

Can a loving family reduce depression later in life? 

Do you feel like you’re struggling with making simple parenting solutions? Slate’s parenting podcast is a great resource for shaking things up.

Supriya shares her story of becoming a single mother by choice. 

Families are turning to telehealth in order to maintain their child’s mental health throughout the COVID crisis.

Parents: Biospace is offering tips and information on maintaining your career goals in this time of crisis. 

The New York Times is providing real-time information regarding the COVID crisis, and they’ve dropped their paywall

xoxo 

 

What Happens When Your Child Favors One Parent?

There’s never a dull day in parenting, that’s for sure. One situation that’s more common than we think is favoritism or situational shunning by a child. While this is entirely natural, the first time it occurs can be confusing and hurtful. 

Children create bonds with their parents in different ways, and sometimes it’s favored more toward one parent over another. In happy, healthy households, favoritism simply means that your child has created a secure bond with you. It doesn’t mean that they “hate” the other parent, we promise! Toddlers and young children are known for displaying strong favoritism, and they can get frustrated when the “favorite” parent isn’t available. While favoritism can be hurtful and make parenting more difficult, the positive is that it shows your child can start distinguishing their basic needs and is becoming more autonomous. 

Despite a child or young adult’s reasoning for favoritism, there are some avenues both parents can take to alleviate stress and help create and strengthen bonds between everyone. One of the most important ones is: don’t change your parenting ethics and values. While a parent on the opposite end of favoritism may feel the need to loosen restrictions or parent on the softer side: don’t. Maintaining consistency and balance will help improve the situation over time. Keep your feelings in control and display empathy. Favoritism does not indicate that one parent is better than the other. For example, if your child is upset because they want their mom to feed them, but she is unavailable, calmly explain that you are here to make sure they get what they need and don’t back down. 

Showing favoritism is a sign that your child is growing and developing into a more independent human. Over time your child will balance out and recognize the strengths and similarities in both parents. Remember to continue working on building and evolving your relationships with your child. Perhaps pick a day of the week and plan a fun activity for just the two of you, one that connects to your child’s strengths and interests. One on one time is an excellent way to develop and hone unique and strong relationships. 

Parents.com developed an excellent blueprint for helping parents work through this issue together. The most important step is acknowledging and accepting the ways your child is asserting herself while also keeping your feelings in check. Recognize that this is an essential part of development in a child’s life and use it as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship in creative ways. 

Have A Restorative Weekend

Another week has passed. March felt like a million years, and April whipped by like lightening. How are you feeling? Check-in with yourself daily to ensure you’re doing okay. Or, to realize that you’re not doing okay at all, and could use a little bit of rest and self-love. We continue to send our warmth and love to everyone in lockdown, on the frontlines, and to those who’ve lost a loved one to COVID-19. 

Here’s our simple offering: a few of our favorite reads from around the internet this week.

This week on the blog we discuss maintaining a healthy social life while social distancing. 

Emotional intelligence is crucial. How do you foster it in your child? 

The pandemic’s effect is widespread. 1 in 5 children in China reported being depressed

What are evidence-based parenting strategies, and how do you bring them into your home?

Stephanie Kaloi shares 10 things to think about before fostering or adopting

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching! Cup of Jo has got you covered with an amazing gift guide. 

From the confessional: Special needs parenting is so hard. 

This Kentucky family got the entire community in on their adoption celebration

The Wall Street Journal puts down the phone and gives us almost 100 non-screen activities. 

Read this for coronavirus updates from all over the world. 

*Image via the Women’s March Instagram.

Helping Kids Stay Connected While Social Distancing

Social interaction is a vital part of any human’s life—adults and children. This quarantine is essential, but we can’t confuse social distancing with social isolation. It’s these times that force us to be creative and develop new ways to interact with our friends and family until we can physically see them again. 

Don’t forget about your milestones. While you won’t be able to “celebrate” in the traditional sense, you can still have a lot of fun. It’s hard for little ones to understand not being able to celebrate their birthday or their friends’ birthdays. Virtual celebrations, and birthday parades, can save the day! They’ll help your child feel celebrated and remembered during a time when they otherwise cannot see their friends. If you have something to celebrate: do it! 

Remember the power of the internet. Find an easy craft, game, or project for your child and their friends. You can set up a virtual meeting (check out Zoom or Skype) to kick off the project and then schedule weekly check-ins to see how everyone is coming along. A regular playdate will give your kids something to look forward to and you a little break. Visit Common Sense Media to see how to effectively get your child virtually set up for all their needs during this quarantine. 

Explore local attractions. For those of you who are comfortable and able, some fresh air never hurts. You may be surprised at the number of local outdoor activities that exist close to your home. The National Park Service can help you locate parks of all sizes nearby. You can filter out individual options if you’re looking for water features or trail walking. Pro tip: set up a map of your state, and have a family member pick a new place to explore each week. 

Don’t forget to talk. Distractions are crucial, but so is talking about what we’re trying to distract ourselves from. The impact of this crisis is heartwrenching and can lead to isolation, depression, loss of motivation, and more. If you start seeing any signs of this in your family or friends, don’t be afraid to seek help

We know this is stressful, but necessity breeds invention. You may find that during this time of quarantine, you discover information and build more robust and better relationships with your family. Who knows? Maybe the changes you made to accommodate this crisis will become a part of your daily life. Do what you can to keep yourself physically and mentally well during this time, and never forget to give yourself grace.