Best of Nightlight: Extraordinary Kids – Understanding Special Needs Adoption

cerebral Palsy“Focus on: Cerebral Palsy”

Many families pursuing international adoption are intimidated by the options, the process, as well as the potential challenges. So when a family hears about “special needs” adoption, they can feel completely overwhelmed.

But the truth is that most of these special needs are quite misunderstood and often can be corrected with minor treatments or training.

This week, we put a special focus on special needs adoption by taking a revealing look at cerebral palsy. The following was written by Joan Francis, an attorney whose expertise is in Family, Disability and Juvenile Law, and who has also adopted a special needs child.

“What is cerebral palsy (CP)?

Any situation involving any level of brain damage immediately before, during, or within about a year after birth is essentially by definition “cerebral palsy,” unless other diagnoses also apply. Typically this is due to deprivation of oxygen on a temporary basis or bleeding in the brain, which sometimes occurs in very premature infants.  Injury to the brain after a child is one year old is usually called TBI (traumatic brain injury) —for example: a blow to the head, near-drowning, shaken baby, etc.

Many with CP may have great difficulties in one area (such as severe dyslexia) but display almost photographic memory, dramatic intuitive thought, and comprehension, as well as  other unexpected gifts as well.

CP is a STABLE condition; it does not worsen, but can definitely improve over time. By itself it does not shorten life expectancy and so on. Continue reading

Incantation


InternationalAdoptionLoveThe following is the first in a new series of posts by guest author Michael Hedges focusing on international adoption and life as an adoptive family. Stay tuned for further posts.  

For when you are 18

People will say we rescued you
Took you from a place of terror
Stole you from sickness

People will say we’ve done wrong
Kindled the fire
Broken a culture

People will question
How do we do it
How do you feel

But we will say you are
Strong
Proud

But we will say Love knows no
Continent
Color

But Love knows
Love knows
You

by Michael Hedges

Sasha’s Thoughts: The Beginning – В начале

 

The following is part 1 of an ongoing series of posts that will be featured on the Nightlight Blog. Stay tuned for future  posts! 

For those of you who do not know who I am or where my story starts, lets start from the very beginning.

My American name is Julia Sasha. My Russian name is Aleksandra Aleksandrovna Tanina (Александра Александровна Танина). I am just a simple girl who has been privileged to live in two countries and experience the blessings of two very rich cultures.

Some facts to help set up my story:
Born in March of 1990 in St. Petersburg, Russia
Moved to California, America in July 1995
Finished K-12 in the South Bay in 2008
Finished University this past May 2012
Moving back to Russia September 2012!

It seems that Russia and America were part of the destiny that God had for me all along. I look into my past and am amazed at the small things that have transformed my life and prepared me for a bicultural life filled with extraordinary possibilities.

But I am getting ahead of myself… the story starts in a dark and gloomy but magical city on the Gulf of Finland 22 years ago on a day filled with floating premonitions about the miraculous future that would unfold in front of my very eyes.

So I think that I need to keep these posts short and sweet. I am excited to share with you many many thoughts on my own adoption, the impact it had on my own salvation, success and happiness and of course my small words of wisdom for both orphans, adoptees and their families and those with a heart for helping the lost generation of Russia…

Humbly yours,
Саша

Sensory Processing Disorders and Your Child: Part I–Description

This is a Part I in a three part series on sensory processing disorders. On Wednesday, I will address why children develop these disorders and on Friday, you, as a parent, can learn more about what you can do for your child.

flyingMany children adopted internationally have what are known as Sensory Processing Disorders (SPDs). These children have problems processing and appropriately responding to stimuli, such as touch and noise. The SPDs can affect children’s behavior and emotions and may impact their ability to learn and socially function. SPDs are found in 5-10% of non-disabled children and in 40 to 88 % of children with disabilities. It is also more prevalent in children with ADHD.

There are different types of SPDs. Some children overreact to stimuli that most others do not find annoying. These are the kids who cannot stand tags in their clothes or being lightly touched; others may have a “melt-down” if their nails are trimmed or their teeth brushed. If the children have auditory processing problems, they may over react to the vacuum cleaner or other “normal” noises. Others with auditory processing problems can hear just fine but can have difficulty understanding what is being said. These are children who are told, “You are not paying attention.” Continue reading

Nutrition and the Child from China

ChildNutritionIf you listen to the webinar “Food for Thought” on Adoption Learning Partners, featuring Dr. Dana Johnson, you will see that parents are very concerned how the nutritional status of their children may affect their cognitive abilities [1]. What the parents are really asking is, “Will my child be smart, even if my child had a less than optimum diet while living in the orphanage?” The answer is usually “Yes,” but there are a few things you should know.

Overall, children from China have good nutrient status upon arrival home. In one study Dr. Johnson noted the percentage of children from China who were low or deficient in the following nutrients: iodine or selenium (20%), iron (8%); zinc (50%); and vitamin D (13%). None of the children were deficient in vitamin A, folic acid, or vitamin B 12. Of course, this is only one sampling of children [1]. The dates the children came home were not mentioned but, overall, the care of the children in the orphanages in China has been improving.

For nearly all children living in orphanages, the primary concern is getting enough calories and protein for growth and development. In general, babies in orphanages may receive less than adequate nutrition. In some cases, even if they are given plenty of formula, the children’s bottles are usually propped up, so the children may have limited ability and time to get the milk out of the bottles. Continue reading

Readoption -vs- domestication: finalizing an international adoption in South Carolina

The following information is adapted from the post-adoption support files here at Carolina Hope. Note that this information is directly applicable only to SC residents who have adopted from overseas. The information provided here should not be construed as legal advice, for which you should see a qualified attorney.

Once you are home with your child, it is important to get a State-issued birth certificate for him or her. Here in South Carolina you have a choice between doing a domestication of the adoption — which you can do without an attorney — or readoption, which requires the help of an attorney. Both domestication and readoption will give you a South Carolina-issued birth certificate.

If you came home on an IR-3 visa, your child became a U.S. citizen as soon as your plane landed in the States. So why choose readoption rather than domestication? The main reason is that readoption terminates under South Carolina law any rights of your child’s birth parents over your child. Carolina Hope has had more than one incident in which an overseas orphanage was shut down, and the orders of adoption for children from that orphanage were nullified. While this is not common, it is a very serious thing, and readopting your child here in the U.S. will strongly affirm the legality of your child’s adoption and help prevent its being called into question. Continue reading