Category Archives: Special Circumstances: Multiples, Adoption & Special Needs

For parents of children with special needs, such as disabilities, autism, and chronic illnesses. Also for adoptive and foster parents.

Traci’s Story: Developing an Appreciation for Bottle-feeding

By Traci Singree, leader of API of Stark County, Ohio

**Originally published in the Spring 2007 annual New Baby issue of The Journal of API

Traci and baby
Traci and baby

Before my children, I was career driven, working in retail management, which meant no family time at holiday or summer get-togethers because I was always working! And I loved it! I met my husband right out of college. We were together for about five years before we got married. In 1995, we were wed. I continued my course of 12-hour days, sometimes 6-day work weeks, and I was having a blast working in the fast-paced field of fashion retail.

About five years later, my husband and I were starting to get that something’s missing feeling, having done all the things we wanted to do. We found ourselves sitting around the house looking at each other on weekends saying, “What do you want to do?” round and round until we decided that maybe that something missing was a baby!

It took us nearly a year to conceive our first-born. We discovered I was pregnant the day of my first fertility appointment. My only knowledge of pregnancy came from what I had heard from my mother or from fellow co-workers with children. I never really researched anything to do with birthing or babies until late in my pregnancy. Continue reading

Twins Plus Two

By Heather Eckstein, DONA doula

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

Heather's children
Heather’s children

Being a parent comes with a fair share of challenges and rewards. Being a parent to twins seems to mean twice as many challenges and twice as many rewards! One of the guiding beliefs of API is that every family is unique, with unique needs and resources. I have found this to be completely true.

I practiced Attachment Parenting (AP) before I even knew what the term meant. When my first child was born, it seemed natural to meet his needs in a way that encouraged him to trust me and fostered a greater bond between us. Over time, I found more and more benefits to this style of parenting and knew that my instincts were correct when I wanted to hold my baby and nurture him.

In April 2006, I gave birth to identical twin girls in my bedroom as my older children watched. My other children are both boys and they were ages three and one at the time. I knew that our life was going to change when the twins arrived but really had no idea what daily life would be like for our family. I don’t think anything could have fully prepared me for the next two years. Continue reading

UAE Childhood Depression on the Rise

From API’s Publications Team

childhood depressionAccording to an article on the United Arab Emirates’ TheNational.ae, “More than Sadness,” the rate of children with depression in the UAE is on the rise.

According to Dr. Timo Brosig of the German Center for Neurology and Psychiatry in Dubai Healthcare City, one in 33 children under 12 years old – and one in eight adolescents – suffers from significant depression. Experts blame the rising divorce rate, more stress in general, and family anxiety are to blame. With concerns over an economic recession and the financial worries families will have, the rate of childhood is only expected to increase.

Another factor in the UAE is that more children – especially expats – are being cared for by someone other than Mom or Dad. Parents aren’t taking the time to connect with their children, and television is replacing the caretaker position. 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

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

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

Caroline’s Story: Living with 25+ Food Intolerances

By Lindsay Killick

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

Caroline
Caroline

When our daughter Caroline joined our family, after a few rough weeks, things seemed to fall right into place. We dealt with typical newborn breastfeeding difficulties such as thrush, oversupply, and latching troubles, and we even managed to survive new-parent sleep deprivation and an intercontinental move five weeks after her birth. We thought we were surely off and running.

Caroline was six weeks old when we began to notice some mucous in her diapers. I’d read a large amount of breastfeeding information during pregnancy and knew that there were many potential causes of mucous in the stools of breastfed babies. I thought the problem would probably clear up soon. It didn’t.

Refusal to Nurse

Shortly thereafter, Caroline began refusing to nurse – even when I knew she must be very hungry. Often she would want to go five-plus hours without nursing, at only seven weeks old. Continue reading