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Recent blog posts
- The Happiness Project, Final Frontier
- New Website For Adoptive Parents Dealing With Children Who Have Learning or Emotional Issues
- The Internet Is Here To Stay – Why You Must Talk To Your Adopted Child About It
- My Little Amiga
- NY Times Article On Foster-Adoption
- The Big Kites
- Older Child Adoption Didn’t Work – Adult Relationship Did
- Transitioning From An Orphanage To A New Home: An Uphill Climb
- Sometimes We Need Another Person's Perspective
- Returning to Work Full-time after being a Stay-at-home Mom
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5 weeks 6 days ago
My daughter has a close friend of the same age (6) who is more than mildly interested in my daughter’s adoption story, especially when she is in a bad or jealous mood!
The other day, this six year old went too far. She told my daughter: Your “real” father lives in Ecuador! Thankfully my daughter questioned this immediately.
I told this girl in no uncertain terms that I am Ella’s real mother and my husband is her real father. I also told her that Ella’s birthparents live in Guatemala (although she knows - she has been told several times over the last couple years). Then I asked Ella if she wanted to talk about this any further. Ella responded with a resounding “no.” I told her friend there would be no more talking about adoption – it was a private matter.
This is a hard subject to broach, but a necessary one, and I am writing it due to comments from people who have not adopted.
Some people look upon my sweet daughter as an “exotic” toy to be acquired.
Others believe that they “must” adopt a child from a third world country because it is the right thing to do or they have been told to adopt by their religious institution. If that is the case, sponsor a child or send money to an NGO helping third world countries.
When I tell people that we adopted because we wanted a daughter, they don’t believe me. They are looking for another, “deeper” reason, almost as if the wish to add a child to the family is not enough.
Well it is, and it should be. If you are adopting to fulfill an obligation (personal or otherwise) don’t. If you are adopting because you think it will be nice to have an “exotic” looking child in the family, don’t. Adopt a child because you want that child in your life, a child to love, protect and provide a supportive home for.
Parents who are attempting to adopt or complete adoptions from foreign countries will no doubt flock to see the new documentary “Stuck” when it is released to the general public in November. Produced by “Both Ends Burning,” a grassroots organization devoted to reversing the downward trend of intercountry adoption, “Stuck” was shown to a congressional delegation in Washington July 31, 2012, hosted by Senator Landrieu. Landrieu has been faithfully and stubbornly travelling to Guatemala the last couple years in an effort to bring home the children caught in an ugly adoption quagmire that has transpired over the last five years. On August 3, “Stuck” will debut at the Traverse City Film Festival.
Apparently this documentary will expose the broken intercountry adoption system, and no doubt point fingers at foreign governments and our own as the culprits. Additionally, it will emphasize the plight of the sad, voiceless victims – the children. With an estimated 10 million children in orphanages worldwide, it is a travesty that these adoptions have been held up due to bureaucracy, politics and yes, corruption.
I rented the movie “The Sitter” with Jonah Hill hoping for a light comedy on a relaxing summer’s evening. Instead I found myself disgusted with among other things, a crude and ignorant portrayal of a young school aged boy from El Salvador adopted by a wealthy family.
The first glimpse you get of this child named Rodrigo is him sitting alone in his bedroom in the family’s basement (they are wealthy and have a huge home – why is he in the basement?) playing with lighters and sparklers. It quickly becomes apparent that he amuses himself by making bombs and breaking valuables in the family home. The parents casually inform the babysitter (Jonah Hill) before leaving that Rodrigo has a habit of running away from home. Consequently they have planted a tracker in his clothes to find him. The whole movie he wears pajamas and cowboy boots, hair slicked back with pomade, looking like a cross between a young drug lord dressed in cowboy pyjamas.
For years Joyce Sterkel’s “Ranch For Kids” in Montana has been the last resort for parents with very challenging adopted children from foreign countries. Children at this ranch suffer among other things from RAD (radical attachment disorder), fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Many spent far too many years in institutions in their countries of birth.
A brief history of how the ranch got started:
The Ranch For Kids unofficially began in 1999 a year after our Executive Director Joyce E. Sterkel adopted a Russian boy who had disrupted from two placements. Her family’s success with this child led other parents to ask for her assistance with their children. From 1999 until 2002 children came and lived on the family ranch near Eureka where the three eldest Sterkel-Sutley children had been raised. In 2003 it was decided that a separate facility with a full time professional staff could better serve the needs of the children needing services. It was in 2002 that Hallmark Entertainment filmed a made for television program called “Second Chances” which highlighted the lives of the three additional Russian adoptees who had been adopted by the family. This program can be seen online at; www.hallmarkchannel.com Adoption Series, Second Chances
Recently Sterkel has been in a battle with authorities who claim that she has not been licensed to run this facility since 2010. Sterkel disputes this, claiming that the ranch has become part of a church mission and is no longer under state board authority.