Good Luck and have fun!
Good Luck and have fun!
Becoming a parent is an exciting, transformative time in one’s life, and that is true whether you’re carrying your own baby, working with a surrogate, or adopting a child into your home. For would-be parents looking at the wide range of options out there for expanding their families, adopting a baby or a child can be a controversial decision because of widespread social attitudes about biological heredity.
The fact is, adoption represents a way to put children with loving families and to make lives better for the biological parents, the adoptive family, and the kids themselves. If you are ready to move forward with the process, there are a few things you should know before you get started.
Understanding the difference between adoption systems, as well as the fact that they vary from state to state in their requirements, is vital to making sure you know how to navigate this process before you plunge in.
In most states, there are separate resources for would-be parents who are looking to adopt an infant through a voluntary process and those who are looking to adopt through the foster care system after parental rights are terminated, because generally speaking the state’s child welfare resources do not concern themselves with voluntary adoptions. Instead, the transfer of legal parenthood happens through a court petition.
While adopting a baby from a voluntary biological parent is generally a smooth process because both parties are seeking the arrangement, there are details to negotiate that can represent some sticking points. By contrast, when seeking an adoption through state placement, the process involves weighing the best placement choice for the child. In the U.S., 59% of all placements are through the child welfare system.
Here’s what you should know about the two systems:
If you do choose to use the voluntary system, then you need to know how to navigate it, because there is not a centralized system for administering placements when you are adopting a child who is voluntarily placed with a family. Luckily, there are information networks to avail yourself of if you’re looking.
You might need to put more time and effort into the search, taking on a few processes for yourself that state placements handle for you. On the other hand, you have additional options, including international adoptions, which can increase your chances of finding the perfect fit for your new family much more quickly.
Private placement agencies are operating around the country to identify and facilitate these processes, and some lawyers even specialize in this niche as part of a family law practice. They tend to have resources for finding available parents looking to place children soon after birth, so they can help. Lawyers do have costs, though, as do agencies that do the legwork to bring people together.
Private religious institutions are also known for both placing children through voluntary processes and also for maintaining larger networks with other organizations looking to place kids.
Catholic organizations are especially good at this, in part due to the church’s international efforts toward child welfare and in part because of its traditional investment in institutions like hospitals. If you are seeking a private process and you’re intent on adopting an infant, these networks can be a huge help. Luckily, for those who are considering adoption as a biological parent, the demand is high enough that working with a good agency that has an established reputation should be all you need to find a range of possible placements for your child.
Tionne “TBoz” Watkins, is one third of the iconic 90s pop group TLC, a brain tumor survivor, and mom to two kids, 18-year old daughter Chase and 4-year old son Chance who she adopted from a woman she knew from her hometown of Des Moines, Iowa.
But she despises the term “adopted” and let Dr. Sean, host of Soul Fox, know it during a sit down interview last November.
“And I hate now, on social media people be like, ‘That’s her adopted son,'” the chronic Sickle Cell Anemia disease sufferer laments of the child who she emotionally welcomed into her family in 2016, though she personally shielded the decision from the press until 2017.
Chance’s birth mom had previously promised to carry a child for Watkins but reneged shortly after the baby was born.
Watkins didn’t give up hope.
And in 2015, when that same birth mother in Des Moines became pregnant again, she promised Watkins the baby was hers.
In May 2016, Watkins brought home her son Chance, nine months after he was born.
“We all just bust out crying,” Watkins says of the moment the judge finalized the adoption. “I’m not even a happy crier, ever, but I was bawling! I was so relieved because you love this person with all your heart — and to know that someone can still take him from you? I couldn’t imagine. I was so relieved once that part was over.”
She also wrote in A Sick Life.“Chance has brought new life and fulfillment in our house and made us feel even more complete, and I can’t thank his birth mother enough for that.”
She also told Dr Sean, “He’s been a blessing…That’s why his name is Chance. Because he gave me a chance—all the stuff I was going through in life, he gave me a second chance too.”
“Do you say that’s my c-section daughter? Do you say, that’s my vaginal canal son? No, you don’t. That’s my damn son,” Watkins told Dr. Sean.
“I’m so nervous for when he is old enough. I’m not nervous in my household because he knows how much I love him. But it’s the world who talks. That part is irrelevant. I understand it was a story at first or if I’m sitting here. But to say that, like—cuz you don’t know who knows what or how—like, you can’t ruin people’s lives like that.”
It has been a long while since I have highlighted what’s popular and most wanted on Baby Registries these days so I searched the web sphere and revisited my past posts then cross referenced to determine a List.
Now this is not necessarily the essentials.
Below are some of the top items and I urge Moms-to-be to still consider my list of things you do not need no matter how many books or ads tell you that you do
Burt’s Bees Baby 100% Natural Ointment ($8.45; amazon.com)
Hiccapop Wipe Warmer and Dispenser ($34.92; amazon.com)
Sophie The Giraffe Teething Toy ($23.75)
Infant Quickchange Portable Changing Pad ($7.99; amazon.com)
Ergobaby Carrier Omni 360 ($171.49; amazon.com)
Britax Back Seat Mirror ($34.99; amazon.com)
Reusable Food Storage Bags ($10.99; amazon.com)
Welly Traveler Stainless Steel Bamboo Water Bottle ($33; amazon.com)
Rosti Mepal Ellipse Reusable Lunch Pot ($16.95; amazon.com)
Google Nest Cam (169.89, originally $199; amazon.com)
aden + anais Silky Soft Bamboo Swaddle Blanket ($42.75; amazon.com)
Boon Bundle Feeding Set ($29.87; amazon.com)
BEABA Babycook 4 in 1 Steam Cooker ($149.95; amazon.com)
Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk Tea ($23.33; amazon.com)
My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow ($42.99; amazon.com)
Milkmakers Lactation Cookie Bites ($27.99; amazon.com)
Skip Hop Moby Bath Spout Cover ($9.95, originally $13; amazon.com)
Baby Nasal Aspirator ($17.63, originally $20; amazon.com)
The Honest Company Shampoo + Body Wash ($8.99, originally $9.99; amazon.com)
Tomorrow is the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, MLK Day of Service.
All around the nation, schools, philanthropic organizations and civic groups have planned service events in honor of the memory of the civil rights icon who gave his life for others.
With the New Year just arriving, you may still be thinking about your resolutions or setting new goals for your personal or family life. Setting goals and making new commitments can benefit both you and your family.
As you think through the changes you’d like to see in your personal and family life, consider these ways you can start the New Year off right.
Work on spending time together – Families tend to spend a lot of time around each other during the holidays, but as soon as they end the hustle and bustle of everyday life takes over and families often find themselves with little time to connect. The New Year is a great time to set a goal to spend at least one night a week together as a family. Create a game night or movie night once a week. Maybe even mix it up and do something different each week. Have everyone in the family come up with five family activities they want to do, then put them in a bowl and pick them out one by one, scheduling them a week or two in advance. This way everyone in the family gets to do something they picked to do pretty frequently.
Limit screen time – Parents often complain that all their children want to do is watch TV, play video games or text and talk on their phones. The amount of time children spend engaged in these activities is disturbing and can be frustrating to parents. However, parents are often distracted with these devices as well. How much time do you spend on your smart phone, tablet or laptop at home around meal time and in the evenings? Challenge yourself to limit the time you spend on these devices when you could be spending time with your children. Set a new rule that there are no phones at the meal table, parents included. Spend that 30 minutes engaging in conversation with your children instead. Your older children may resist at first, but as they see you put away your phone and really connect in conversation with them, they will become less opposed to the idea.
Help others – Building a sense of generosity in your children can be difficult. Working on projects to help others as a family can be a very memorable experience for them that they cherish for a lifetime. Serving at a soup kitchen, volunteering to be a part of a city wide clean-up day and signing up to do a charity walk are just a few examples of activities you can participate in with your children that benefit others. There are also a lot of smaller jobs that you can do together too. Making a meal for a sick neighbor, raking the leaves for the elderly couple down the street and taking care of a friend’s child for the day so she can rest are simple actions that make a big impact on the outlook your child has toward others.
Take time for yourself – Yes, parents need time on their own. Everyone knows that. Making it happen can be challenging, but don’t forget that your child needs some time to himself too. Whether it is taking a long bath or going for an extended run, be sure to carve out time in the week to spend caring for you. You should also help your child find time for himself as well. He may have a mound of homework to finish, but he is going to be better equipped to work efficiently if he has a little down time in his day too.
By setting a few goals for the New Year you and your family can build a connection and get off to a great start.
As any brand new expecting couple understands, the process of starting a family is daunting, from conception, to appointments, to dietary restrictions, to the unsolicited advice to the actually prep for getting ready to add a brand new member of the family.
It’s a good thing that there is a lot more technology these days that is taking the headache out of some of the items on the long to-do-list.
In my day, over a decade and more ago, if you wanted to create a baby registry for your family and friends who wanted to help you out with your initial childcare expenses, you had to load yourself and your growing girth in the car, stand in line for a clerk who’d give you a scanning gun and then, you’d have to waddle all over a big box store like Target or Walmart scanning items to add to your list. After that, you had to go back in line and have another clerk upload the list. Phew!
These days, there is Amazon Baby Registry
Got to the Amazon Baby Registry landing page and click the “Create a new Baby Registry” button. You’ll be directed to a page with questions you need to answer, enter the address to have gifts sent to and then create the registry.
After that, you can start adding gifts you want. As you probably already know, Amazon has the Earth’s Biggest Selection of products to fill your house with all the right baby things.
Now, here is a bonus that you get with Amazon that you won’t get with other one off stores, if there is a product that isn’t carried or available on Amazon, you can add it using the University Registry option. It’s a browser plug in and you can add items from any site to your registry.
If you are not at your desktop and you think of something to add, you can do it via the Amazon app on your phone. It allows you to access and update your registry whenever you want, from wherever you are.
Once you’re done with your registry, Amazon works its magic and organizes it by categories to make it easy for your family and friends to search and decide what they want to buy.
Once you’re done, you can decide if you want to make your registry public so anyone can find it by searching your name.
You can also limit your registry so that only people with the link can access it. Or you can make it totally private to yourself only as you build it out and before it’s ready for public consumption.
When you sign up, Amazon sets you up with a welcome box with up to $35 worth of baby products. Yay!
When your co-workers, or college friends want to go in on one large expensive gift like a stroller, glider or car seat on the list, they can utilize the Amazon group gifting option.
Friends and family or coworkers and associates can pitch in towards the purchase of one costly item.
The average annual cost of diapers for the first year of life for an infant is $550.
Another option for friends who want to help offset the expense of a new baby is for them to contribute to Diaper Fund. Friends and family can contribute any amount of money, up to $550 total, toward diapers.
You’ll get this money in the form of an electronic Amazon gift card, which can be used toward diapers and a variety of other eligible baby products as well.
All you have to do is go to the Baby Registry search page and look for the name of the mom-to-be, pick gifts, then check out. You can opt to pitch in towards a large group gift or contribute to the Diaper Fund.
If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you’ll have to spend at least $25 to be eligible for free shipping. If you have Prime, you’ll get the regular, two-day free shipping rates you’ve come to know and love.
Once you’re registry is closed, or after baby is born, you can go back and order items unpurchased for 10% off or 15% off if you are an Amazon Prime member.
Returns are Generous and Easy
If you have to return an item, don’t worry about rushing because Amazon gives you an entire year to return items from your list! That’s the best part if you ask me!
And you have no store to drive to, just print out the return label and drop it off at an Amazon location or ship it back through regular carriers like USPS.
It’s all too common to come home in the winter to find that far from being fresh and inviting, your home smells and feels dusty, musty, and damp. The air might feel stale, and perhaps even humid or very dry. This is usually the result of a lack of fresh air, as we’ve all had our windows closed for months, a lack of natural light, the dampness that comes with having to have washing dry indoors, and the fact that we’re all spending much more time wrapped up in close quarters at home.
This mustiness can be annoying, but it can also be a health risk. When the air is stale, there are increased allergens. You might find that colds and other bugs spread more quickly, that you don’t sleep as well, and that you get more coughs or that you have trouble recovering from illnesses. Keeping your home fresh can boost your health, and your mood, as well as making your home more inviting.
1. Open Your Windows for a Little Every Day
When it’s cold outside, we want to keep our windows closed all of the time. But, opening the windows, at least in the rooms that you use the most, for just a few minutes every day could let in some fresh air, and move the stale air out. If it’s more comfortable, do this for a few minutes before you leave the house, so you don’t have to worry about bringing the temperature back up.
2. Wash Bedding and Towels
If we’re honest, most of us don’t wash our towels and bedding often enough. Try to wash them once a week, it’s more hygienic, and your house will smell and feel much fresher. When it’s not raining, drying washing outside can also help.
3. Get A/C and Filters Checked
Whether you are using it at the moment or not, this is the perfect time to look at getting your AC unit serviced, and the filters changed. If you need to get emergency ac repair and start running your unit a little every day to keep air moving and fresh.
4. Add an Air Freshener
An air freshener does precisely what it says on the tin. Sort of. It won’t actually freshen the air. But, it will help it to smell nicer and fresher. If your house feels stale, try to avoid scents that are overpowering or heavy. Light florals, linen, and sweet vanilla can all be effective.
5. Open Internal Doors
If your home is musty, you want to move the air as much as possible. Keeping internal doors closed can help you to keep warm, but opening them sometimes will help keep air circulating.
6. Air Soft Furnishings Out
Soft furnishings such as bedding, throws, rugs, sofa covers, curtains, and other heavy fabrics hold on to scents, as well as dust. On a dry, bright day, take these outside and let them hang. Beat the dust off, and let them get some fresh air. They’ll bring it back into the home with them, and the atmosphere will be much lighter.
It’s a New Year! Let’s start out Must Free, shall we!? (SMILE)
A lot of parents have resolved to be better and more supportive sports moms and sports dads this year, according to a survey by team funding app FlipGive.
The poll of 1,000 American parents whose children are actively involved in organized sports looked to uncover parents’ biggest resolutions related to games, practices, schedules, and healthy lifestyle choices.
First off, some states have parents more committed than others. The top 10 states where parents are making resolutions to be better sports moms and dads are:
The survey yielded many other interesting insights on sports parents’ New Year’s resolutions as well.
For example, most parents (37%) want to spend time helping their child practice/train (37%), with the runner up being arrive on time to games and practices (23%). Following these goals: volunteer to help out with team duties like carpool (21%), and bake time into their family’s schedule for meals together (19%).
Here are some additional findings:
“Parents can ensure they keep their resolutions for 2020 by setting forth goals that are realistic and measurable, defining clear steps on how to achieve them, and setting up progress checks points to ensure they’re on track,” FlipGive CEO and Co-Founder Mark Bachman said. “For example, if your resolution is to arrive on time to all games and practices, plan ahead so you and your young athlete can get out the door faster, and keep a log of your arrival times to track progress.”
Sounds great! Good Luck Parents!
Now that I’ve reviewed the parenting trends of the past, from a celebrity perspective, let’s take a look at the top parenting trends that we can expect in the coming decade.
From Helicopter to Free Range Parenting, child raising techniques and patterns change over time, with each generation and with scholarship and research.
There really is no right way to accomplish this fine craft and art of raising decent human beings from newborns to young adult.
However, each generation adopts varying habits and patterns that mark their eras in distinctive ways.
The Millennial Generation has already established itself as separate and almost the anti-Generation of its Gen X and Baby Boomer generations that precedes it.
One report indicates that 82% of babies born each year is to Millennial moms, so here is how this new generation of parents are creating new trends for the next decade.
1.More traveling with baby and small children–
Parents will be less timid about taking their babies and small children with them while traveling the world.
The concept of traveling with children is not new but was limited to trips to Disney world or roadtrips in the Summer to the Grand Canyon. Of course, we always had those bold wanderlust or Peace Corp types of parents who were never fearful about picking up their toddler and heading to the Andes but they were in the minority.
A new report by Resonance Consultancy points to the increasing importance of Millennials to the family travel market.
Travel Agents Report states that “44 percent of Millennial travelers take their vacations with the kids in tow,” according to the firm’s new Future of U.S. Millennial Travel report.
More than half (58%) of U.S. Millennials who traveled overnight last year have children under the age of 18 in the household, Resonance learned.
Once kids enter the picture, Millennial parents continue to travel.
Now and in the future, millennial parents will not even hesitate to do so. Many are open to the idea of home schooling their children while living and working as digital nomads abroad. They do not think a child necessarily needs in-school instructions. As a result, we will see more children grow up as students of the world.
The well traveled child is the future.
2. Making home made baby food
Millennial parents have grown up in the age of information, and generally speaking, it shows.
They’re not feeding their kids the super-processed, questionably-nutritious baby and kid food of yore, and they want to maintain their principles of eco-minded, earth- and animal-friendly living once they become parents.
And according to Forbes, newer baby food brands are catering to them by partnering up with nutritionists and food engineers to offer sustainable biodynamic food sourcing and processes.
Because Millennial parents of all economic classes want nutritious, organic, science-backed food for their babies , their babies Generation Alpha will be the best fed kids.
3. More Baby wearing, Less investment in multiple strollers
Not long ago, the stroller was a status symbol. Posh parents would have purchased more than two strollers by the time their child reached Kindergarten: a baby carriage or infant car system, a jogging stroller and a toddler stroller.
Nowadays, it’s all about baby-wearing. Also, newer parents have less income and are interested in sustainable living, less waste and extravagance. They do not rely on things like strollers to make a statement.
The term “babywearing” was coined by William Sears, a California-based pediatrician who in 1992 wrote “The Baby Book,” which popularized the concept of “attachment parenting.”
Along with co-sleeping and extended breast-feeding, baby carrying is a core tenet of that parenting approach, which is supposed to nurture a closer attachment between parent and baby and ultimately a healthier child.
The future of parenting is more engaged and connected parents and baby wearing is part of that.
4. Single by Choice/More cohabitation before marriage or without plans to ever marry
Beginning with Generation X, women have been willing to have babies on their own, or elect to just co-habitate with a partner and skip getting married altogether. However, most eventually bowed to societal pressure to find the one, exchange vows and have kids.
Future parents are not willing to be handcuffed by societal rules and tradition.
In 2009, the oldest millennials were in their 20s and as The Wall Street Journal reports, of those older millennials who did have kids, most were unmarried.
And generally, what is norm has changed.
A Pew report finds that just 46% of kids in 2016 were living in a household with two married parents in their first marriage, compared to 61% in 1980.
Generation Z is coming up behind the Millenial generation and are said to be more financially savvy, the next era of parents will be even less constrained by standards of traditional practices.
Their family planning practices will reflect this prediction.
5. More demanding about Parental Leave
Dads in the Generation Y are also leading the charge in changing gender-based roles in the home, and likewise will change policies related to parental leave.
Millennial dads are more likely to take paternity leave after their spouses or partners have a child. They are also more likely to be stay at home dads and to baby wear.
A Business Insider report states that “millennial dads are far more likely than their fathers were to take time off work after the birth of a baby” and quotes a 2016 Cornell University study which asserts that dads who take longer paternal leave tend to be more engaged and involved with their kids in the long run.
That same report indicated that “in 1989, only 10% of these stay-at-home parents were dads, whereas today, stay-at-home fathers account for 17% of such caregivers” and noted that while “women still account for the vast majority of parents in this role, but the numbers are on a course toward more balance.”
Further,it states that in many dual-income millennial homes in which both parents work full time (that’s 46% of households, according to Pew), the mother is the primary earner.
They are making private companies and the government adjust to this new dynamic.
Millennial parents have influenced employers such as Microsoft and Netflix to announce significant expansions to their paid parental leave benefits.
As more private companies start to offer extended family leave and generous paternity leave, future parents from up and down the socioeconomic ladder will start expecting and even demanding adequate time off after welcoming a child to the family.
They will also be more likely to support laws or support candidates that propose new laws standardizing and expanding parental leave policies and laws.
6. More Social Media – Less Friends/Family as Advice Source
Parents will be more comfortable about sharing photos of their children in social media and some with actually brand their children from birth, similar to the way celebrities do now.
About 4 in 5 millennials admit to posting a picture of their kid online at least once, according to a poll conducted by TIME and Survey Monkey. Half of baby boomers, meanwhile, have never posted a photo of their kids online, as well as 30% of Gen X parents.
A Business Insider report about how Millennials use their children as status symbols state they are spending up to $100,000 on things like Instagram-worthy nurseries.
Month-by-Month posts for the first year of a baby’s life and fabulous color coordinated themed first birthday parties are a thing that Instagram following are made of!
Being that the new generation of parents are more digital conscious and aware, they will continue to skip friends and family for advice and turn to Google.
A recent New York Times article states that millennial parents go to Google, chat rooms, and apps for parenting advice and as one expert told the paper, “Google is the new grandparent, the new neighbor, the new nanny.”
7. Creative Names and Less Formal Names with History and Meaning
“Finding a name that has authentic roots, but is completely undiscovered, is the ultimate baby name status symbol,” Pamela Redmond Satran, a founder of the site Nameberry and author of “The Nameberry Guide to Off-the-Grid Baby Names,” told Alex Williams of The New York Times.
The future of parenting will include names that are not necessarily connected to a family or tradition.
In fact, more Millennial parents are reportedly looking for a name that is not already attached to a domain.
Also, that New York Times article mentions that many millennial parents are giving their kids personal hashtags and YouTube channels.
8. Raising Gender Neutral Children
With more awareness of LGBTQ issues and variances of how members of that community identify, modern and Millennial parents are cognizant about how they label their children. In year’s past, we followed strict gender identity and roles. To put it bluntly, children were either male or female. However, in the coming years, more parents will be open with raising children without subjecting them to or assigning them gender identity. Future parents may be more likely to let their kids determine for themselves how they want to identify.
A Euromonitor international report states that middle class parents in developed world, especially older Millennials who are becoming parents, are taking a more gender-neutral approach to child raising, using neutral colors and with names suitable for either gender proving popular.
9. Less Religious – More Spiritual or Non Religious
A lot of holidays in secular society have become so homogenized and commercial that it is very easy for a child raised in a non-religious household to not feel left out. Christmas, Easter even Halloween and Day of the Dead which have cultural and spiritual origins are practiced and recognized by people who do not go to Church or follow the initial practices of each holiday.
Four in ten millennials now say they are religiously unaffiliated, according to the Pew Research Center. In fact, millennials (those between the ages of 23 and 38) are now almost as likely to say they have no religion as they are to identify as Christian.
10. They will do what feels right to them
If any of the aforementioned are clues, the next generation of parenting will go with their gut and not abide by what books, society, the media, the government or advertisers tell them.
In fact, they will be the one dictating what these ancient institutions do!
The next era of parents will be more empowered.
The future is here and it’s going to be quite different!