Health

Is Adopting From Third World Countries Necessary?

A mom who gave birth to surprise twins! A not so unusual happening without the aid of ultrasounds.
A mom who gave birth to surprise twins! A not so unusual happening without the aid of ultrasounds.

Is Haiti's instability as a nation and chronic poverty a justifiable reason for adoption to a developed nation? Surely parenting looks different for those living in the poorest country in the western hemisphere, but does this automatically necessitate women making adoption plans?

Children's Home and Adoption Program (Now called Heartline Ministries) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti used to be filled with children and the adoptions were frequent. The homes emptied of children after the 2010 Haitian earthquake as children left in droves thanks to the humanitarian parole which allowed the adoptions already in process to be expedited. This natural disaster lent way towards the perfect excuse for Tara Livesay (a mid-wife) and her staff to stop taking in orphans and to instead turn their focus solely to prenatal care and prevention work. Heartline turned catastrophe into opportunity. They reorganized their mission and began teaching about family planning and birth control - offering free Depo Provera as well as monitor women in labor, facilitate the delivery, postpartum needs and infant developmental care. The moms stop by the homes every week throughout their pregnancy and then weekly until babies are six months old. Out of approximately 350 births at Heartline only one woman placed her baby for adoption since 2009 (that child now lives with a wonderful family in Vermont and his birth mom still stops by to get photos of him on occasion)! From Tara's experience, orphanages tend to ascribe to the belief that if women are poor they cannot parent and then proceed to help find a "better" place for the child via adoption. Tara's co-workers demonstrate through speech and attitude they absolutely can parent their children. In Tara's words "They can bond, they can breastfeed and they can raise the precious child because they have what they need."

A new momma outside her home.
A new momma outside her home.

Food and money are oftentimes tight, lack of support is commonplace and resources are not plentiful. All of these factors certainly aid in making parenting hard, but these women do not lack joy or moxie! And thanks to Heartline, they don't lack parenting skills either. International adoption is a beautiful second choice solution to meet an unfortunate yet very necessary need. I have many international adoptee friends and others who are in the painstaking process of becoming adoptive parents to beautiful children, but are awaiting the countries process, ensuring that all ethical aspects of the relinquishment of the child are met before their children can fly out of their home country to be with them here in the U.S. I certainly am not anti-international adoption as there are many true orphans needing homes all around the world. I was, however surprised to learn of Heartline's statistics which clearly show that moms are able to parent their children when given the tools and support. What if we worked towards establishing more services like Heartline instead of more adoption agencies in these areas? Would this take the novelty and romance out of our feel good tendency towards a rags-to-riches view of American adoptions from third world countries? What do you think?

***Photo credit: www.livesayhaiti.com****

What does it mean to be perfect, anyway?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8umFV69fNg

With this video, we are one step closer to helping people accept that their body and shape can be represented in mainstream fashion, too. Although this did not take place in the United States, I'm proud of our world for taking a step towards inclusivity, and acceptance towards true beauty and diversity that's representative of how our culture actually  looks.

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It's A Secret

Over the past few years, in my professional life, and psychological interests I've learned the power keeping secrets has in it's ability to ruin people's bodies, and lives, as well as effect so many other people along the way.  The brain does not like keeping secrets. There is a neurological reason to why people gossip, confide in a mentor or a pastor, or write down their deepest darkest secrets in a journal. Getting a secret out of the jail in your brain decreases the stress hormone, which is heightened when a secret is kept inside. This stress hormone can cause symptoms such as  weight gain, digestive problems, headaches, back pain and high blood pressure. The brain is an amazing organ, all of the neurons firing like a massive electrical storm, powering our body to act, think and produce. However when working to keep a secret, the neurons electric map changes, and suddenly the brain isn't quite as effective, thus causing sleepless nights, anger, anxiety, unhealthy choices and poor motivation.

"Keeping a secret often becomes less about protecting people and more about becoming overly preoccupied with the "thing" or maintaining the double, secret life. It takes over as an "unhealthy obsession" for our own secrets and those we keep for others [source 1="<a" href="http://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/getArticle.cfm?id=2015" rel="nofollow" 2="target="_blank">Jaffe</a>" language=":"][/source]. It can be a lot of work to maintain and live that way."

These weightless thoughts that no one else can see, touch, smell or hear, is the source of much of the unhappiness in the World. It can be quite powerful to know that you can hold something that doesn't weigh anything, but that you can feel like you have all of the power in the world. Maybe holding secrets feels like you're spiking the chemicals in your brain with alcohol. Keeping secrets does tend to give people a bit of a buzz. Just as alcohol can kill, so can secrets. We spend so much time trying to fix the symptoms of blood pressure, anxiousness, restless sleep etc, with medicine, when I believe it can start with ridding your brain of the secret that's not allowing the brain to function properly.

Now's the time to clear the mind of the secrets that are altering the way the brain naturally wants to work. Free your mind, and free a whole lot of others while you're at it.

Caveat: This post is written to no one specific. It's simply a neurological reminder that secrets have adverse effects. Though, admittedly not all secrets are bad. The correlation between physical sickness, ilness and general anxiety and secrets seems to go hand in hand. Someday perhaps I will conduct a research investigation on this to back up my posts.

Life is a school, and we are here to learn.

As I bring my 25th year of life to a close, and embark on year number 26 I thought that I'd post my goals for the year. I am proud of myself for accomplishing my goals that I set out to accomplish for year 25.

The biggest completed goal? Finding my birth family.

Year 26 Goals (compiled via help from the internet).

My Health:

  1. Drink plenty of water.
  2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
  3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
  4. Live with the 3 E’s - Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
  5. Read more books than you did in 2011.
  6. Exercise everyday.

Personality:

  1. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  2. Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  3. Don’t over do. Keep your limits.
  4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  5. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
  6. Dream more while you are awake.
  7. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  8. Forget issues of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
  9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
  10. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
  11. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  12. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  13. Smile and laugh more.
  14. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

My Society:

  1. Finish memoir, and get published.
  2. Each day give something good to others.
  3. Forgive everyone for everything.
  4. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
  5. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  6. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  7. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

My Life:

  1. Do the right thing!
  2. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  3. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  4.  No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  5. Continue with the natural hair. AFRO!