Monday, July 31, 2006

A heaping pile of love!

What's more fun than wrestling with your family?

Not much. :-)

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Yo, I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want...

Lydia is still not a big talker. She has some words, but usually she communicates with sign language over spoken word. We have had her evaluated, and so far the speech therapist has told us while she may be slow to speak her comprehension is good so we shouldn't worry just yet. Lydia's sign language for the most part is of her own making. She is teaching us her signs while we teach her our words. One of her favourite signs right now is glasses. She loves wearing my glasses and will ask me if it's okay for her to put them on. Here she is asking...and receiving. ;-)

Domestic Adoption in China


BEIJING -- When he saw the poignant photos of orphans on an adoption agency website this year, Sun Xiaoping yearned to adopt one of them.
to adopt Chinese babies, including a voluminous list of answers to frequently asked questions. But under "domestic adoption," the FAQ file is completely blank, and other information is scanty.

But even as China experiences a dramatic rise in foreign adoption of its children, many Chinese couples are left out in the cold. In 2005, only about 38,000 children were adopted by Chinese families --a relatively small number for a country of 1.3 billion people.

Chinese policies are supposed to favour domestic adoptions. Yet there is strong evidence that foreigners get preferential treatment -- largely because their payments are more lucrative. Despite the
national policy, many Chinese orphanages have set up unofficial barriers to discourage Chinese families from adopting their orphans.

"Chinese orphanages give priority to foreign families, rather than to Chinese families," said Wu Jianying, director of the Beijing office of Children's Hope International, a U.S.-based adoption agency. "Orphanages can get more money from foreigners than from Chinese. Each foreign family usually donates around $3,000 (U.S.) to the orphanage. The amount donated by Chinese families is usually
much lower."

Foreigners who want to adopt Chinese babies have myriad agencies available to them, all providing a host of services: booking their hotels; providing their transportation; helping with paperwork and
translations; and even taking them on sightseeing tours as they wait for the paperwork to be finished.

Chinese parents find it much tougher. There is no network to support them. Ms. Wu's office, for example, is providing some volunteer help to Chinese parents, but it primarily works for Americans.

"There really isn't any organization or agency providing
consultations and other services for domestic adoptions," she said. "Orphanages usually don't publicize information about their children, because the law doesn't require it. As a result, many Chinese families can't find a child to adopt."

Qiao Cuiping, a 31-year-old engineer in Fujian province, met only frustration when she and her husband contacted Chinese orphanages to
try to adopt. "The orphanages in Fujian all answered that they didn't have healthy children available," she said. "The orphanages outside Fujian asked for large sums of money, around 20,000 yuan [about $2,500 U.S.], which was too expensive for us. The orphanages
are unwilling to help us because they can earn much more in international adoptions."

Ms. Qiao and her husband eventually succeeded in adopting a Chinese baby -- but only because of a newspaper report about an orphaned
girl who was handicapped. By contacting the newspaper, they were able to find the child.

Another woman, a 36-year-old legal-affairs agent in Beijing, says
that she and her husband have spent six months trying to adopt a
baby from a Chinese orphanage, but have been allowed to see only one
child so far. "I know many Chinese people who have turned to private
contacts to find a child," she said. "I haven't heard of anyone who was successful in adopting a child from an orphanage. So I'm considering a private contact as well. I will ask for help from relatives and friends."

Partly because of the barriers to domestic adoptions, China has a thriving system of private and unofficial adoptions, including an underground system of kidnapping and baby-trafficking. Earlier this
year, China admitted that six orphanages in southern China had been purchasing babies since 2002, including the purchase of 78 abducted children last year alone. At least 33 people were punished for their
involvement in the schemes. Foreigners and Chinese families were adopting children from the six orphanages, often for hefty fees.

Ms. Wu, of the Children's Hope agency, said the Chinese government needs to take stronger action to encourage domestic adoptions.

"The government could require that each orphanage must provide as many children to Chinese families as to foreigners," she said. "It could require the orphanages to publicize information about their children on the Internet. It could eliminate the adoption fees for
Chinese families, and it could use its financial subsidies to encourage orphanages to send their children to Chinese families."


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Our dirty little secret

Okay, true confessions time. I like Chinese food okay fine, but it's really not my favourite. What is my favourite is Japanese food. I'm also a Thai food fan, but Japanese...well it's just THE BEST!! So today we went out and had Japanese food for the first time since we adopted Lydia. It was sinfully good...and Lydia loved it. And honestly, we got her to eat more Japanese than we've ever gotten her to eat Chinese.

Here's Lydia taking her first ever bite of Sushi. It was an Alaskan roll; salmon, avacado and cucumber wrapped in seaweed and rice. She loved it!

Even more than the sushi Lydia liked the Miso soup. Originally ordered by Daddy for Daddy, Lydia totally usurped this portion of his meal. Poor Daddy, but happy baby!


Well, looks like daddy got caught. Russell left his baby margarita bottle out and Lydia was none too pleased! Looks like daddy's in the dog house!

I hope Mary-Mia's baby from Do They Have Salsa in China? ( a little more understanding. She'll be seeing her baby's face for the first time very soon and what a great day that will be!
We're all thinking about you Mary-Mia!

Friday, July 28, 2006

July 28, 2005--Family Day

"The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave
To the dark and the end of the skies"

"Raise your head up
Lift high the load
Take strength from those that need you
Build high the walls
Build strong the beams
A new life is waiting
Two worlds, one family"

Thursday, July 27, 2006

July 27, 2005

One year ago today I was in Anchorage directing a show for Alaska Theatre of Youth. I was out of touch with the world as the internet was pretty difficult to access from where they had us housed. My last contact with the world told me I should expect an August referral and so, even though I knew referrals were to soon be received by many of my online friends…I waited patiently for August, expecting nothing.

I called Russell at the beginning of lunch that day and spoke with him from the greenroom of the theatre where I ate. He was still in bed while we spoke. I’d woken him up…he was working third shift and of course there was a time difference between Alaska and Kentucky. After we chatted I made my way up to the main level of the theatre to the office so I could pick up the balls I needed for my afternoon rehearsal.

I’m pretty good about turning off my cell phone, but that day I forgot. It was on and it rang in the office. I checked it, fully expecting it to be my stage-manager…but it was Russell. I had JUST spoken to him, so I got excited. “Honey,” I said: “Did we get our…No. I’m sorry…that’s crazy. What’s up? Is something wrong?” He was crying as he said. “The agency just called, we have a daughter!”

I screamed…literally screamed as the people in the office swamped me…I have my baby I have my baby and then I ran outside as over 200 children who were all inside for lunch due to smog alerts (there were BIG fires in Alaska at the time, so the smoke was horrible) began to descend. I knew they weren’t allowed outside…and I needed to hear about my girl. So out into the smokey streets I flew eager to hear every detail.

Is she healthy? How old is she? What is her name? What does it mean? Was she fostered? Do we have a picture? Tell me everything…EVERYTHING!!

Russ answered. She is healthy, She is 9 months old. Her name is Ye Hong Hua. It means red flower. She wasn’t fostered. We will have a picture tomorrow…I don’t know anything else. I love you.

I love you too.

And with that our call was over and our daughter was finally a reality.

Many hugs and kisses and congratulations followed. Tons of red flowers showered me and I waited one more day, not so patiently, for her picture. My first glimpse of Lydia was still to come.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Pigtails and Piggyback Rides

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Beauty in Blue

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Movin' On Up!

But it's not to a deluxe apartment in the sky. It's to a toddler bed!

Lydia has outgrown her crib. One day less than a week ago I came into her room to get her up for the morning and found her trying to climb out. (And doing a good job at it, I may add.) So Russell and I had a "sit down" and after lots of crying on my part while I repeated over and over: "She's still just a baby. " and "We haven't even had her a year yet." we decided it was time to convert. Lydia has slept in the converted bed 2 nights now, and so far so good. We've added a security rail. (I insisted.) But otherwise it pretty much looks just like it did after daycare on Friday when Lydia gleefully romped on her new bed.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Reality 101: A required course!

Recently there was much controversy on the internet about a family that disrupted their adoption. Their child Hannah was smaller than expected, was sick with conjunctivitis and was not thriving in the manner they expected or hoped. After adopting Hannah and being her parents for 3 days, they asked to disrupt their adoption and be assigned another child. Hannah 2. first I was outraged. Hannah was their daughter and I felt they threw her away. Merely tossed aside like a pair of old shoes and replaced with a newer cleaner more beautiful pair that would look better with their already existing outfit. I was angry at them. VERY.

But, I am the type who feels first and thinks later. It's part of the "artist" in my soul I guess. React then think. Now that I have thought. I am still angry...but not in the same way. I am angry because I have met people who have told me their agencies or their families or someone else has discouraged them from doing research because this research will only "scare" them and keep them from adopting. People I have met currently going through the process are remaining ignorant because they are afraid.

I had a great support network and agency. Neither of which ever encouraged me to sink my head in a hole in the sand and just hope. They told me to remain cautious, but to go out and learn as much as I could. They encouraged me to listen and to see and to know. I, being an academic type probably would have done this anyway. Knowledge is empowering. I knew before I went to China much of what I may face. But I also knew I didn't know everything I may face, and that I needed to be prepared for that as well. I went to China knowing what services were available not only in my town, but nearby cities as well. I had phone numbers of doctors, social workers, and family and friends with me in case I needed advice or support while in China. I brought a borrowed laptop so I could access the web and research any concerns I had about Lydia's health or well being.(And trust me...once she was asleep--I spent a lot of "Gotme Night" online researching some concerns--because Lydia did not come to us completely healthy.)

I think a parent should be scared. Parenting is hard. It's scary. It's a huge responsibility. A life, a precious life, literally in your hands and heart forever. To only tell potential parents good stories is irresponsible. It does the child and the parent a huge injustice. I'm not saying you should focus on only the bad. There is sooooo much joy. I bask in Lydia's light daily...but there is a lot for which parents need to be prepared. To discourage a parent from doing that preparation is unconscionable.

Honestly...I am the type that even if anyone had told me not to seek knowledge, I would of anyway. But many are not that way. Many are trusting and will "do as told" because they fear not receiving what they most desire. Many adoptive parents have faced so much sadness already they don't want to approach the possibility that more may exist. But no matter what we fear we MUST be strong and open our eyes and see. I implore you if you are waiting or paperchasing or contemplating...READ, RESEARCH and KNOW! Go prepared to China. Know what your resources are, even if you think you won't need them. Have numbers to doctors and friends. If you can, bring a research tool with you to China like a laptop. Do it for your child. She needs you to be ready for her...she needs you to be ready for anything.

Attached is a letter from Amy Eldrdige from Love Without Boundaries that mirror my sentiments. They are spoken far more articulately than I ever could speak.

I have been so saddened by this situation. I most definitely wish there was a way to educate ALL adoptive parents about the truths of institutional care, however I have come to realize in my daily work that there are just as many parents who are not online reading everything they can find on adoption as are.

There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of parents out there who have no idea what life is like for a child in an orphanage, and who head overseas to pick up their "China doll" only to be handed a baby who is unresponsive, thin, unable to eat..and on and on and on. While adopting my son last month, I walked several times over to the White Swan to talk to parents, and over and over I spoke with moms and dads who had no clue whatsoever about the issues their kids were having. I heard so many times things like, "she won't eat solid foods" (oral aversion), "she has no muscle tone" (muscle atrophy from lying in a crib all day), "she won't smile" (pure grieving from being taken from her foster mom). I guess since I live China 24/7, I assume everyone adopting does, too, which is not the case.

I talked to at least a dozen parents who didn't even know their child's orphanage name, and while I gently said "you might want to memorize that for your child's sake", at the same time I was trying to process how many parents get all the way to China without ever reading about post-institutional issues. It was sobering to me.

Babies in the NSN as well as the SN path can have issues with attachment, motor skills, emotional issues and more. I think all of us on the WCC list acknowledge that, while also acknowledging that all children (whether bio or not) can have these same issues. Living in an orphanage of course increases the odds.

I think the easy out is to say that agencies have to do more, as well as social workers, but I do think that most of them do try to give information to the parents but often parents don't want to hear it or else think it won't happen to them. Again, I am often surprised to talk to parents leaving soon and to realize they are not prepared. One family was adopting from our foster care program, and when I told them that the child was dEEPLY attached to the mom, the father said, "guess she might cry for an hour or so then?" An hour or so? She had been in foster care for over a year! I tried to explain that this little girl was about ready to lose everything she had ever known, and that they should not expect her to be sunny, happy, and full of personality after an hour. I told them to please remember the 72 hour rule.......that after 72 hours they would probably see her spark, but that she would probably grieve for a long time after that as well.

I think for many adoptive parents, they just don't want to read the "bad stuff", and so I do think that ultimately it is the parents who are at fault for not doing more to educate themselves. There certainly are books galore out there about post-institutional issues. I equate this to when I was pregnant with my kids and I would read "What to Expect When Expecting", and I would get to the C-section part and always skip it. Each and every time I would jump to the next chapter as "that wasn't going to happen to me". Well, on my fifth baby, when they were rushing me in for an emergency C section, I sure was wishing I had read that section earlier! But at that point in the OR, while they were strapping my hands down to the table, it was too late, and so I felt complete panic when I could have been prepared. I think adoption from China is very similar to giving birth.. it is much more rosy to only read the happy stories on APC, but I now encourage every family I meet to read the harder ones as well, because if you are the family who is handed a child that is limp and listless and who looks autistic, what you have learned in the past will help you make the right decision for your family during those very emotional first few days.

I have been called many times in the last few years by parents in China worried about their children. I agree that having a support network to help you through the initial time is essential. Everyone should go to China with at least one phone number of someone they can call if they are panicked upon meeting their new child. I remember feeling so alone when I was handed my daughter and she was so tiny and limp. Because our foundation often helps with the kids who have been disrupted, I am aware that sometimes there are children who have much more serious issues than originally reported..and that is such a hard thing for a parent to get to China and then discover their child is truly autistic or has serious mental delays. I think everyone on both the China and international side would agree that it is absolutely wrong of an orphanage to not be honest in their reports, and no one would excuse that, but I also know without a doubt that the majority of kids who are disrupted are just suffering from institutional issues and would catch up quickly in a loving home. It is always a very sad day for the orphanage and everyone involved when a child that they know is absolutely fine, but perhaps thin and grieving, is returned by their new parents for being "delayed".

I think far too many people believe their child's life is going to begin the moment they meet them. The truth is, and everyone must realize it..a child's life is going on RIGHT NOW in China, and all of their experiences are shaping who they are. The vast majority of aunties that I have met in China are such kind and caring people, but it absolutely is not the same as having a mom and dad at your beck and call. I have had new parents call and say "we didn't think living in an orphanage would affect her at all", and those statements truly puzzle me. How could they not contemplate life in an orphanage?

Walk through Babies R Us and you will see every gadget known to man to make our children's lives here as ideal as possible. Now Americans have two way video monitors, so that when baby awakens not only can mommy see when to immediately rush in and comfort him, but she can talk to baby so that he doesn't even have one single second where he feels alone. How many new parents would have a newborn and then put that baby in a crib 22 hours a day on their own? How many would only feed their baby, even if they were really crying hard, every 8 hours? Or prop the bottle in her crib and then not watch to see if she ever really ate?

Of course no one would do that..we feed newborns on demand, comfort on demand, love continuously..and whether people want to recognize it or not, that is NOT the life of an orphan in an institution. ...even when the aunties are as good as gold. I remember one night when I took some volunteers in for the night shift in an orphanage, when normally just a few aunties are working. One mom looked at me with tears in her eyes as she slowly realized that it was absolutely impossible with just two hands to feed every child, to comfort every child, to soothe every baby who was crying. She said her heart was aching to realize that her own daughter most likely had many, many times where she cried without someone to comfort her.....and she told me that for the first time she finally understood why her daughter had such a deep seated fear of being out of her mom's sight.

The aunties are trying their absolute best, but that doesn't equal mother/child care. I remember being in an orphanage in the north this past winter and the aunties were so proud of how they had 6-8 layers of clothes and blankets on every baby to keep them warm. They were swaddled so tight that they couldn't move, but it was freezing in the orphanage and so the aunties wanted the babies to stay as warm as possible. What alternative did they have? It really was freezing there..I was cold in my wool coat, so the babies couldn't be up and about with just 1-2 layers on, with the ability to move their arms and legs. To stay warm they had to be immobile, and so of course all of those kids have weak muscle tone. But the aunties were truly trying their best, and when a parent is given one of those beautiful children on adoption day, I am sure they will go back to their room with concern and say "she can't sit up by herself..she can't put weight on her legs". That is absolutely the truth, but she also survived 10 degree weather in a very cold province and she will catch up soon enough with parents to encourage her.

To not acknowledge that living in orphanage circumstances can cause lower body weights, low muscle tone, inability to make good eye contact is very sad to me. Can it be overcome? Most definitely! The one thing I have learned over and over again about the kids in China is that they are fighters and survivors. But for some reason, people seem to want to ignore these issues in public forums.

Recently, one of our medical babies that we had met several times in person was adopted, and we all knew that this child was a "spitfire". When the family arrived and spent a few days with her, they decided she was too much of a handful for them and they wanted to disrupt. She absolutely was not what they expected. When they called their agency, they were told they had two choices: adopt the child, bring her to the US, and change their expectations of what they were hoping for, or adopt the child, bring her to the US and the agency would have a family waiting at the airport to adopt her locally. Option three of leaving the child in China was never once given. I admire that agency so much, as they were thinking of the child and the child alone. The family followed through with the adoption and handed the little girl to a new family upon her arrival in the US. As horrible and tragic and emotional as it was for everyone involved...I still feel this was the right decision for the agency to make. It was done in the absolute best interest of the child, who had waited a long, long time for a family. I wish more agencies would advocate for the rights of the child, instead of always seeming to give in to the parents, especially in those cases when they know with absolute certainty that nothing is permanently wrong with the child. Recently with another disruption, the agency I spoke with told me that it was "easier" to just get the family a new baby.

Sometimes easier does not equal right. The first baby who was rejected has now been labeled "mentally challenged" even though the agency knew the child was really going to be okay.

I think all of us, who do realize that delays occur and that babies can usually overcome them, should be these children's advocates by continually trying to educate new parents on what to expect in China. By helping them be better prepared, we just might help stop a disruption in the future. I love Chinese adoption with my whole heart, and it is my life's work..but I also want every family who goes to get their baby to go with their eyes open and to be as emotionally prepared as possible, for the child's sake.

Amy E"

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sharing Sammy with Lydia.

A mass of contradictions, Samantha was the first pet you lost. She was 10 and you weren't even 2. She was very patient with you while you pulled her tail and tried to pick her up. And you loved her and called her "Mantha." Here are some of Mommy's recollections about her best friend who was born with health problems, but who lived well beyond the years the doctors said she would.

Samantha was:
Silent meows but noisy purrs that sounded underwater.
Poofy tails meaning I'm happy but walking at you sideways meant I'm mad.
Trying to kill Daddy when he first moved in but always enjoying company.
Chewing your hand after you showered and licking plastic bags.
Jumping straight up 6 feet high and a patience greater than a saint.
Mousing in the farmhouse and ruling the roost wherever we hung our hat.
Long sharp claws in the back and dainty feet in the front with one tiny claw that hurt as she kneeded you for what seemed like hours.
Her finiky nature toward all cat foods but her great love of Doritos.
A heart too tiny to keep her healthy, but big enough to house all the love in the world.

"Danger, Danger Will Robinson!!!"

Okay...I know we just went through this, but for a whole different reason.

"Geekbase One" (our laptop) is back in the shop. It will be a week, possibly two before it is returned to our loving home. What's wrong this time? Well...Lydia got a hold of my keys. And since we, being forward thinking parents, covered all the electrical outlets the only hole she could find was the hole in my computer where I normally put the camera disk to retrieve photos. Not knowing the computer had been "violated" by my daughter when I went to plug it in we had...well, a fire. Yes ladies and computer caught fire. No burns or singes or damage other than my hair is a little whiter and my computer is literally fried.

Fried...yes...oh and what a lovely smell let me tell you. But fortunately computer is still under warrantee and curious baby and silly mommy are safe and soung.

So to recap. The bad news: Loving Lydia will be anywhere from slow to down for one-two weeks because the computer is in the shop. The good news: The computer will be fixed and my keys were not harmed. :-)

Friday, July 07, 2006

A woman's work is never done

I am not a big housework kinda gal. Russell is the one who usually takes care of the house...and honestly he's not a big housework kinda guy, so our house keeps a perpetual "lived in" look.
Lydia on the other hand is (other than when she eats) a pretty neat kinda gal. She likes her stuff where it belongs and when she's done with it she tends to put it away. Heck she even puts our stuff away too when we (ahem) don't. Here she is helping with the groceries. She loves to help out and we love to let her. :-)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Love Comes In Cinnamon

Children come in all the colors of the earth.
For love comes in cinnamon, walnut, and wheat,
The roaring browns of bears and soaring eagles,
Love is amber and ivory and ginger and sweet,
The whispering goals of late summer grasses,
Like caramel, and chocolate, and the honey of bees.
And crackling russets of fallen leaves,
The tinkling pinks of tiny seashells by the rumbling sea.
Dark as leopard spots, light as sand,
Children buzz with laughter that kisses our land
Children come with hair like bouncy baby lambs,
With sunlight like butterflies happy and free,
Or hair that flows like water,
Or hair that curls like the sea.
Children come in all the colors of the earth.
They are sleeping cats in snoozy cat colors.
Children come in all the colors of love,
In endless shades of you and me.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A cuddle for the "Fourth"

Jack must have really missed us when we were living at the academy, because he's even glad to see Lydia. To say the cats love Lydia would be stretching the truth quite a bit. Oz enjoys the attention until she begins poking him with a feather instead of waving the feather to play...but otherwise the cats keep their distance.
Lydia is wearing her flag dress from Uncle Tony. Tony is originally from Italy and Lydia is originally from he said he felt a kinship with her this Fourth of July. It's a cute dress and she, Russell and I appreciate the gift.

Notice Lydia's hairline too everybody. Her "bangs"have pretty much either been non-existant or just fuzz since we adopted her...but now she's starting to get some length!!. It won't be long until I can get out the hairclips and bows! I can hardly wait!

To love one's country with all your heart

Monday, July 03, 2006


One of the things I loved most about being at the academy for the last month is that normally very shy Lydia came out of her shell some. As the youngest person living in our "community" (have I told you I'm glad to not be living in a dorm anymore?) she was quite the focal point for a lot of attention. She was scared at first but ended up really like the attention. She especially liked the younger members...Christian, Laurean, Ashley and Hannah were her frequent compainions. Here she is with Ashley who loved to hold Lydia anytime she could.

End of Adoptions as One Agency Protests Gay Parents

Boston Religious Charity Shuts Down Over Conflict With State Law


June 30, 2006 — For 103 years, Catholic Charities of Boston has found homes for tens of thousands of needy children, but tomorrow the adoption agency shuts its doors.

It is closing because of pressure from the Catholic Church, which opposes the Massachusetts law that protects the rights of gay couples to adopt a child.

"We find ourselves in a conflict," said the Rev. Bryan Hehir from Catholic Charities. "The religious, moral principles of Catholic teaching and practice clash with the political and civil regulations of the state."

Churches are increasingly banding together to fight gay adoptions, something George Graham and Michael Fleenor feel personally.

They have been partners for 16 years and adopted their 3-year-old son, Robbie, who was in foster care.

Now they want to adopt another child, but it might not be as easy this time, because legislators in their home state of Ohio have proposed a bill to ban adoption by gay couples.

"We really do feel under pressure," George Graham said. "We feel like there is a window that is possibly closing and once it is closed, it's closed."

States Debate Issues as Children Need Homes

In addition to religious activism on this issue, a groundswell of grassroots activity to ban gay couples from adopting children has led to proposed legislation across the country.

Last year, bills banning adoptions by gay couples were introduced in Alabama, Indiana, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. All those bills were killed in committee, but some legislators say they're not giving up.

"It's my job as a state legislator to make sure that these children have the best environment and the best household they are able to be placed in, and that is a traditional household with a mom and a dad," said Rep. Paul Stanley, R-Tenn.

But the American Academy of Pediatrics said that a growing body of scientific literature shows that children who grow up with one or two gay and or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual.

The academy has found that children's development seems to be influenced more by the nature of the relationships and interactions within the family unit than by the particular structural form it takes.

The AAP is expected to take a closer look at the legal and financial challenges for the children of same-gender parents in a special article in the journal Pediatrics, due out next week.

There are nearly 126,000 children in foster care who are eligible for adoption each year. Less than half find permanent homes.

"To say, 'Oh, because you're gay you can't or you shouldn't be able to raise a child,' that is horrible," said Karen Brown, a mother who gave her daughter up for adoption.

She added, "If they have the love to give, let them!"