All posts by The Attached Family

Considerations of Sibling Spacing on the Family Dynamic

By Rita Brhel, managing editor and attachment parenting resource leader (API)

**Originally published in the Spring 2008 New Baby issue of The Journal of API

childrenOne year, two years, five years, ten years – just what is the ideal spacing between siblings?

Every mom contemplating their second child wants to know the answer. But just try to look up an exact answer on the Internet, in a magazine, or in a book. Most of these resources, if they choose to pinpoint an age gap, promote anywhere from two-and-one-half to five years as the best range, but no one can say for sure just what is best when it comes to the appropriate spacing between brothers and sisters.

The answer from many experienced parents is it all depends on what you think you’d like. Some say that closely spaced children, those with only a couple of years or less between them, will be more work in the early years but give siblings a playmate. Others claim that widely spaced children will give parents a break from the energy-intensive early years, but the siblings may not be as closely bonded. Continue reading

Issues Facing Adoptive Parents of Children with Special Needs

By Heather T. Forbes, LCSW, founder of the Beyond Consequences Institute

**Orginally published in the Winter 2007-08 Adoption issue of The Journal of API

boyThe typical scenario of a young married couple adopting an infant from birth has changed dramatically and has been redefined. Historically, a traditional adoption was defined as a healthy infant placed with an infertile, middle-class white couple.

Today, adoptions can be characterized from a much broader spectrum. Many children being adopted are not infants, but are older children of various races being adopted from either the public foster care system or orphanages overseas. Often, children in these groups have suffered abuse, abandonment, and/or neglect.

Due to a history of trauma, these children are considered “special needs” and require special parenting once adopted into permanent homes. Many of these children are dealing with mental health issues such as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), reactive attachment disorder (RAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and/or depression. Continue reading

The Secret Power of Ignorance

By Michael Piraino, CEO of the National CASA Association

**Orginally published in the Winter 2007-08 Adoption issue of The Journal of API

boyI don’t know why, as adults, we think we know everything. Maybe we just automatically subscribe to the theory that as we get older, we get wiser. What I think actually happens is we become more jaded, and we mistake that for knowledge. I think we all agree that age does not teach us. Experience does. That’s why some of my most powerful learning experiences have come from folks far younger than me – but wise beyond their years.

It occurred to me early in my career of advocating for foster children that I needed to find a path to communication with them. This path led me to accepting my own ignorance. I’d like to introduce you to the moment I embraced that ignorance and the impact it’s had on me and thousands of foster children for the past 25 years.

Be Present

My wife and I were at the airport, in an area specially set aside for parents and their young children, waiting to greet our newly adopted infant son. I could barely contain my anticipation. Despite my nervousness and expectation, I couldn’t help but notice a little boy somberly absorbed in squeezing blobs of play clay. After a few minutes, I sat on the ground next to him. He looked at me. I asked what he was playing with. He studied me for a beat and then said, “Play-Doh.” Continue reading

Rosie’s Adoptive Birth Story

By Sara Cole

**Originally published in the Winter 2007-08 Adoption issue of The Journal of API

Sara and her daughter, Rosie
Sara and her daughter, Rosie

Recently, the Seattle API group had a birth-sharing night. Four of us sat down in my living room and shared the stories of how our children came into the world. Listening to the other mamas talk about their different experiences with each of their children, it occurred to me that I also had two stories to tell. As the mother of two children, you’d think this would not have come as a surprise to me.

But I had come to the evening with the expectation of only telling one story – the story of my biological child’s birth. Along the way, though, I realized there are different parts to our birth stories. One part is what happens to us, the mothers. Another huge part is how our babies come into OUR worlds. This is one of the stories I had the privilege of sharing that night in that warm, safe space.

The Roller Coaster of Adoption

Preparing for a child, in adoption, begins with piles and piles of paperwork. Once the paperwork is complete, the agency warned us to be ready for a period of waiting, probably around eight months. Ready to hurry up and wait, my husband and I sped through the forms and essays, compactly scheduled all the necessary home study appointments, and on a non-descript Friday in June, we became “waiting” parents. Continue reading

Postpartum Depression Affects Attachment

From API’s Publications Team

BabyAn article on France’s InfosJuenes.com, “Risk of Maternal Depression on the Infant,” reveals research that shows the negative effects of depression in mothers on their babies.

Compared to children of nondepressed mothers, children of mothers with postpartum depression typically perform worse on cognitive and behavior measures, and exhibit higher rates of insecure attachment. The reason: Depressed mothers tend to be withdrawn and disengaged when interacting with their infants, and to be less attuned to their infants’ needs.

In one study, the age at which these poor cognitive measures become most apparent is 18 months. In another study, depression in parents was the number-one predictor of negative parenting behaviors like yelling, hitting, and shaking once factors for socio-economic status, ethnicity, education level, parent age, and employment status were taken out of consideration.

Research has also found a direct correlation between preventing postpartum depression and prevention of behavior issues, insecure attachment, and decline in IQ in infants.

Michigan Foster Family Embraces AP

From API’s Publications Team

HeartThe Sturgis (Mich.) Journal has published an article, “Ideology Gives Way to Nurturing for Adoptive Parents,” on November 26, 2008, that features a couple who have fully embraced Attachment Parenting during their last 36 years of foster parenting.

In all, Jim and Anne Cook have raised six children – three given birth by Anne and three adopted – and fostered more than 70 others.

“We had talked about foster parenting as children of the ‘60s,” Jim said. “Realistically, we set out to save the world – have one or two, adopt one or two.” Continue reading

API Members React to Motrin Ad

From API’s Publications Team

Babywearing momThe makers of Motrin received a flood of feedback from parents about the ibuprofen brand’s latest advertising campaign targeting mothers. The ad, which had been released in November, had put moms and dads on the offensive as the ad’s spokeswoman speaks on the so-called (back, neck, and shoulder) pains of babywearing.

The Actual Transcript of the Ad

“Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion. I mean, in theory it’s a great idea. There’s the front baby carrier, sling, schwing, wrap, pouch. And who knows what else they’ve come up with. Wear your baby on your side, your front, go hands free. Supposedly, it’s a real bonding experience. They say that babies carried close to the bod tend to cry less than others. But what about me? Do moms that wear their babies cry more than those who don’t? I sure do! These things put a ton of strain on your back, your neck, your shoulders. Did I mention your back?! I mean, I’ll put up with the pain because it’s a good kind of pain; it’s for my kid. Plus, it totally makes me look like an official mom. And so if I look tired and crazy, people will understand why.”

API SpeaksA link to the ad and messages sent to Motrin, as well as the opinions of Attachment Parenting International’s bloggers, can be found on API Speaks by clicking here: http://attachmentparenting.org/blog/2008/12/18/making-babywearing-work-for-you/.

API ForumsIn addition, this topic is being discussed on the API Forums at http://www.attachmentparenting.org/forums/showthread.php?p=21255#post21255.

Motrin’s Official Response

“With regard to the recent Motrin advertisement, we have heard you.

On behalf of McNeil Consumer Healthcare and all of us who work on the Motrin Brand, please accept our sincere apology.

We have heard your complaints about the ad that was featured on our website. We are parents ourselves and take feedback from moms very seriously.

We are in the process of removing this ad from all media. It will, unfortunately, take a bit of time to remove it from our magazine advertising, as it is on newsstands and in distribution.

Thank you for your feedback. Its very important to us.”

Sincerely,
Kathy Widmer
Vice President of Marketing
McNeil Consumer Healthcare

Two Years and Five Months: An Adoption Story

By Juliette Oase, leader of API of Portland, Oregon

**Orginally published in the Winter 2007-08 Adoption issue of The Journal of API

Juliette, her children, and her parents
Juliette, her children, and her parents

I remember the day my daughter turned two years and five months old.

The reason I remember it so well, imprinted like a stamp on my heart, is because when I was exactly that age, two years and five months old, my life came tumbling down in a way that life never should for someone that age.

At two years and five months old, I was the girl people read about on the front page of the newspaper. The tragic story of my mother’s death, shot while walking down the street in Los Angeles, not only made the nightly news but carried into the morning shows as well. People wondered, no doubt, whatever would happen to that cute little girl in the stroller…the one who watched her mother die on the street. Continue reading

Hannah’s Story: Infant Reflux

By Stephanie Petters, leader of API of North Fulton, Georgia, & API’s Membership Liaison

**Originally published in the Fall 2007 Special Needs issue of The Journal of API

Hannah
Hannah

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day used to be uneventful times for my husband and me. Then, my daughter Hannah was born. The New Year holidays of 2004 etched permanent and vivid memories in our brains.

We had our beautiful newborn in our arms protesting at the top of her lungs. She had just spit up for the third time in the past half hour. Beginning that New Year’s Eve, we were awake for an entire 48 hours. Hannah was either spitting up or crying. She was very uncomfortable, in pain, and exhausted. We were sleep-deprived and mentally drained. This seemed to be our routine for the next month.

Mother’s Intuition

Something with this situation wasn’t sitting right with me. I knew newborns spit up, and I knew it was to be expected to not get much sleep, but it seemed like this was in excess. But then again, I was a new parent. I doubted my instincts and listened to those around me who said, “It’s just normal.” Continue reading

Tennessee’s Infant Deaths Can Be Prevented

From API’s Publications Team

Pregnant
Pregnant

Attachment Parenting International Co-founder Barbara Nicholson was quoted in a Public News Service (PNS) article about Tennessee’s high infant mortality rate.

According to PNS, 9 of every 1,000 babies born in Tennessee die during their first year of life, with the rate for African Americans rivaling the infant mortality in some third-world countries. Memphis, Tenn., has the highest numbers in the state, with a child dying every 43 hours. Health officials say the leading cause of Tennessee’s infant mortality rate is premature birth.

Nicholson said that many premature infant deaths can be prevented through the use of low-cost services such as Centering Pregnancy, which teaches pregnant women to self-monitor their blood pressure and weight.

“This is group care of pregnant moms in the care of a midwife and this
results in a 41 percent reduction in infant mortality in the
African-American community,” Nicholson said.

There are five Centering Pregnancy programs in Tennessee – four in Memphis and one in Madisonville – with more sites planned for Nashville and Chattanooga. Centering Pregnancy is funded through the State of Tennessee; Gov. Phil Bredsen has pledged $6 million toward programs such as Centering Pregnancy.

“If we put money into prevention, it’s going to save us millions,” Nicholson said. “When we have better outcomes, prevention is always the cheapest and safest alternative.”