Please enjoy this video from Colleen Marquez talking about her book “A Gift for Little Tree”. See how her struggles with infertility lead to a new perspective and changed her heart toward adoption.
On Tuesday of this week the state of Colorado adoption licensing division visited our offices for their annual review of our services. The licensing staff completed a thorough examination of our adoption services over the past year and makes note of any areas of deficiency needing correction or improvement. We a pleased to report that our Colorado adoption office was found to have zero, none, nada issues at this time, and we passed with flying colors!
Our Colorado adoption offices in Loveland and Aurora will continue to provide you with excellent domestic, international, embryo adoption and home study services. We also provide post adoption counseling services throughout the state.
New developments are also on the horizon for Nightlight. At the end of this year we are excited to announce that Nightlight Colorado will begin serving children in foster care.
Contact us here in Colorado at 970-663-6799 or email Liana@Nightlight.org.
Nightlight will continue its illustrious 54 year history of serving families in Colorado, South Carolina, California, Kentucky and throughout the nation for years to come.
Learning about a country’s history is often important and helpful when deciding where to adopt from. Even though many countries have a dirty and saddening past with their orphan care, it can still be inspiring and helpful in your search for adoption. A recent article published in the Scientific American focuses on Romania and a study that was conducted on infants and young children in their orphanages. The study group was able to split up children in to groups where one group was put into foster care while the other group stayed in an orphanage. The results in this study were amazing in the differences of foster care and the orphan system. Children placed into a foster home setting showed to have a higher IQ as they grew compared to children in an orphanage. Foster care children also had less anxiety and were able to attach to loved ones easier than children in orphan care.
To read the article visit the Scientific American website.
To learn more about Romania adoption with Nightlight Christian Adoption Romania Adoption Page.
Have you come across a hard time of noticing difference with your adopted child? Your child may be at that stage where they are noticing biological differences or may be more curious about where they come from. What you can do to make your adopted child feel more included and apart of your family? This article has some great examples on how to help your family feel like you all belong together and always will. http://www.growbeyondwords.com/adoption
The following is part 2 of a 2 part series examining Schizophrenia and Adopted Children. See Part 1.
In citing an earlier study from 1997, these same researchers also discussed how communication deviance (CD) (parents whose communication pattern is senseless and illogical) has a great impact on the healthy emotional development of a child (Tienari et al.). For adoptees who were at a high genetic risk for thought disorders, if they were reared by adoptive parents with a higher level of CD, these adoptees were also more likely to have thought disorders (Tienari et al.). Those high risk adoptees reared by adoptive parents who had low levels of CD were much less likely to have thought disorders (Tienari et al.). However, for those not at a genetic risk, the family environment of high or low CD rates had much less impact on the adult adoptees’ having a thought disorder (Tienari et al.). In a follow-up study 19 years later, it was found that those adult adoptees at higher genetic risk and reared by parents with high CD, there was a statistically significant increase in thought disorders (Tienari et al.).
In summary these researchers state that the genetic-environmental hypothesis of producing schizophrenia and other thought and psychotic disorders is supported in this and other studies. In these studies, it appears that if the adoptee has no known genetic risk and the child was reared in a positive environment, there appears to be no to little risk of a child developing these disorders (Tienari et al.).
In addition to a genetic predisposition and dysfunction within the home environment, there is also evidence that gestational stress can increase the risk for schizophrenia, including maternal viral infection (especially during mid-trimester); very traumatic events during pregnancy; pregnancy complications, such as toxemia and preeclampsia; abnormal prenatal development; malnutrition (two-fold risk during famines) and complications at birth (Kestler et al 2012.; St. Clair, et al., 2005).
When counseling a family regarding adopting a child with a possible genetic risk for schizophrenia or psychotic disorders , the family should consider the genetic family history of both the birth mother and father (if known); the birth mother’s type of psychosis and symptoms; and the child’s prenatal and birth history. In internationally adopted children these risk factors are seldom known. When families are matched with a birth mother here in the US, these risk factors are often known (at least based on the birth mother’s mental health history). Also, PAPs can find reassurance in knowing that a child would be at a very low risk of developing narrowly defined schizophrenia when reared in a highly functional home. In such a situation, the parents should be encouraged to provide a very narrow range of parenting style based on Trust-Based Relational Intervention (Purvis & Cross, 2011). Parents with a strong emotive style of parenting tend to produce children lower at risk for schizophrenia.
Ingraham, L. J., & Kev, S. S. (2000). Adoption studies of schizophrenia. American Journal of Medical Genetics, 97, 18-22. Retrieved from
Kestler, L., Bollini, A., Hochman, K., Mittai, V. A., & Walker, E. (2012). Schizophrenia. In J. E. Maddux, & B. A. Winstead (Eds.), Psychopathology: Foundations for a contemporary understanding (third ed., pp. 247-276). New York: Routledge.
Purvis, K. B., & Cross, D. R. (2011, June). TPRI Professional Training Program presented by the TCU Institute of Child Development. . In K. B. Purvis (Chair), . Symposium conducted at the Trust-Based Relational Intervention, Texas Christian University , Fort Worth Texas
St. Clair, D., Xu, M., Wang, P., Yu, Y., Fang, Y., Xhang, F.,…He, L. (2005, August 3). Rates of adult schizophrenia following prenatal exposure to the Chinese famine of 1959-1961. Journal of American Medical Association, 294(5), 557-562. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16077049
The following is part 1 of a 2 part series examining Schizophrenia and Adopted Children. Stay tuned for Part 2 early next week.
Families considering adoption often wonder about the genetic risk a child may have for a mental illness. One of the most frightening of all the mental illnesses is schizophrenia, and if a child is at what may be considered a genetic risk for the disorder, families are often not prepared to take this risk and proceed with the adoption (Kestler, Bollini, Hochman, Mittai, & Walker, 2012). But a birth mother, birth father or other close relative having the condition does not necessarily mean the child is very likely to have the disorder. There is no one identified cause or even one common trait that is characteristic of all those with schizophrenia.“Schizophrenia patients vary in symptom profiles, developmental histories, family backgrounds, cognitive functions, and even brain morphology and neurochemistry” (Kestler et al., p. 247).
Even with this lack of understanding of schizophrenia, it is known that genetics do play a role. For example, identical twins have the highest concordance rates of any two family members; yet the rate is only 25 to 50% (Kestler et al.) that if one twin has schizophrenia the other one will as well. Considering that identical twins share 100% of the same genetic material, there are obviously other factors that contribute to the expression of schizophrenia (Kestler et al.).
Older studies of those adopted, indicate that the disease appears to be more strongly linked to genetic rather than environmental factors (Kestler et al.). In an adoption study published in 2000, researchers noted that genetics played a significant factor in placing a person at risk (Ingraham & Kev, 2000). Of the 190 adult adoptees who had a biological mother with narrowly defined schizophrenia, the adoptees had a 5.34% risk of schizophrenia compared to 1.74% of those in which the adoptee had low genetic risk for schizophrenia (Tienari et al., 2006). For adoptees whose birth mother had broad spectrum schizophrenia, the rate among the adoptees for schizophrenia spectrum disorder, including Schizotypal personality disorder, was 22.36% (Tienari et al). These differences are statistically significant (Tienari et al.).
A more recently published 21-year follow-up adoption study, in which adoptees were assessed for the prevalence of schizophrenia based on the adoptive family’s level of dysfunction and the adoptees’ genetic risk for schizophrenia, it was found that for those adopted with a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia, the adoptive home environment could be a contributing factor to or a protective factor against having schizophrenia (Tienari et al). The authors of this study note that former studies that demonstrated a genetic link to schizophrenia among adoptees did not take into consideration the adoptive families’ levels of function. This study found that adoptees with no known genetic risk of schizophrenia as defined by the DSM-III-TR and reared in functional adoptive families showed 0% risk of schizophrenia (Tienari et al.). Adoptees who were considered at high genetic risk but reared in healthy adoptive families, there was a 1.49% risk of schizophrenia (Tienari et al.). On the other hand, low risk adoptees reared in dysfunctional families had a nearly 5.0% risk of schizophrenia, and adoptees who were at a high genetic risk and raised in dysfunctional families were at a 13% risk for the disorder (Tienari et al.).
The Never Alone Foundation serves to bridge the financial gap to assist parents in bringing orphaned children home (“Zoe’s Rainbow”), offer aid to parents shouldering significant medical expenses as they endeavor to bring their youngsters to full health (“Lucy’s Love”), and finally, provide financial assistance allowing families to access the unique post‐placement services and support that help children with adoption challenges to be born in their parents’ hearts (“Hannah’s Halo”). The foundation hopes to award grants beginning in 2013.
So, I have been sick for three days this week. It is a fact of life that one must suffer sickness once in a while. This experience reminds me of the countless times my mama took me under her wing and nursed me back to health. There was one especially difficult time when I had the flu for almost 6 months. I was not exactly the healthiest child. As those of you might understand, children especially from the Former Soviet Union have very weak immune systems and struggled to regain the level of health that their American peers had. I was no exception. I remember getting Cactus Cooler and a really cute pink Barbie telephone toy that I used to call my mom for help with. It was so nice to know mama was only a few steps away from me at all times. Today, I am grateful for all the effort she took to keep me healthy.
So as I prepare to return to Russia in two weeks I prepare in my mind a list of all the advises mama gave to me over the years.
- Get some sleep even when you don’t want to!
- Drink fluids!
- Cuddle up with your favorite blankie or stuffed animal! On a side note it is never too childish to have a favorite blankie!
- Have a Cactus Cooler o1r a Coke for an upset stomach!
- And something that might be a little bit strange but Russians believe in COLD showers to help clear the cobwebs! It works!
- Tea with Lemon will then warm you right back up.
All in all, I know I have the best mother in the world. She fed me soup, read me stories about the Three Billy Goats Gruff to cheer me up and always had a warm hug for me when I needed it. It does make a difference to an orphan to have just one person to love them and give them sweet memories.
In the midst of a busy holiday season Nightlight is excited share a few of the things our staff is thankful for this year, including the thousands of adoptive families who have decided to open their hearts and homes to orphans around the world. Below are a few of the things that made our lists in 2012.
Dan: I am thankful that God is wiser than I, and that he has frustrated my own plans so he can accomplish his own.
Rhonda: I’m thankful for my family and friends, a job and volunteer work I enjoy, pets who are always excited to see me, a home in sunny California and good health!
Kristen: This year I am especially thankful that God, in his faithful character, just seems to work everything out for good, even when it feels difficult along the way!
Kelly: I am continually thankful and awed by the men and women who selflessly place their babies or embryos for adoption. What an amazing gift to give someone the gift of the life of a child; each of the birthparents/genetic parents that we work with has put the life of their child above their own wants and has chosen to give them not only life, but to place them with another family. I will always be thankful for their generous, kind, selfless act of love.
Victory: I’m thankful for the devoted Nightlight staff that works so hard for each child to have a loving family. Especially, happy to have Sarah, our newest social worker. She is very devoted to her work with birthmothers.
Amy: I am thankful for my family. Continue reading