Get out of your comfort zone, learn how to do something you never thought possible

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This past weekend Roxie the Doxie and I traveled to Joliet, Illinois to compete in a Nose Work competition, level 1.  Nose work is a sport where the dog is trained to locate the source of a specific odor: birch, anise, and clove.  The very tiny amount, super tiny, is put on a Q-tip and placed in a small container and hidden.  The dog has to find the container and “alert” the handler.  They have to search in four different elements: exteriors,  interiors,  in containers, and on vehicles.  No easy task!

For vehicles, there are three cars and the scent is hidden on only one of them. In the container … Read More...

Wait, Are You Comparing a Dog to a Child in Your Book?

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A well meaning person asked me this one day. Without having read the book, their impression was that I was comparing the adoption of a dog to the adoption of a child.
The answer in short, is of course not!

Roxie’s journey from foster care to her forever home is intended to be a fun children’s book, but can also be used to elicit from children feelings and thoughts about the adoption process, or any change in the family unit.

From the Book: Roxie the Doxie Finds Her Forever Home
From the Book: Roxie the Doxie Finds Her Forever Home

As clinicians, parents and teachers know, kids tend to talk about their feelings, especially feelings that are new, confusing, scary … Read More...

Never Give Up – Adopting From a Foreign Country

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Story by Chris Baumann

I am a true believer that things happen for a reason. On my very first Medical Mission trip to Nicaragua, in 1989, I had the privilege to visit the El Deviño Niño orphanage in Managua, Nicaragua.  It was actually an old Samoza army barracks. I saw those sad but beautiful faces, peering out of the small crate like containments, as they wondered who we were. There were at least 100 kids, under 8 years old…that had little to no chance of ever having family of their own.

I always wanted kids, but due to all kinds of circumstances, it just never worked out. When I saw … Read More...

Deja Vu All Over Again – I Knew I Would Adopt One day

By Maura McLarty

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Megs and Jimmy as young kids.

My friend sent me a children’s book called “Roxie the Doxie Finds Her Forever Home“. It’s a beautiful book about a little dachshund named Roxie who needs a permanent home. Her foster mother explains that a “forever home” for Roxie has been found. Roxie has lots of questions about adoption and the book explores these topics. This book touches my heart for two very perfect reasons.

At age 6, before I had any understanding about the birds and bees , I knew that I would adopt children. It wasn’t because I was trying to be a heroine, or change … Read More...

How Old is Too Old to Adopt?

More people are adopting in later life than ever. While generally age is no barrier, (nor is being single or not owning a home) being too old is a topic that comes up when people adopt later in life.

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While adopters have to be over 21, it seems generally adoption agencies are looking for parents who have stable lives, financial ability and the potential to provide care and support to their child or children.

So, I took an internet stroll through a few US and UK adoption agencies and looked at their age guidelines and what I found was found was both sensible and consistent. You must be at least … Read More...

Meet Renee Smola, the therapist who wrote the guides for our latest book

Meet Renee Smola, the therapist who wrote the parent and clinician guide for our latest book.

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Renee Smola has been working with children in residential and in private practice since 1995. She is certified as a Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (TF-CBT) working with children who have been severely abused and neglected. Renee owns a midsized counseling agency in St. Louis where she supervises other counselors, provides counseling and offers trainings to Children’s Division, Parent Aides and school districts.

Additionally, she teaches part time at two local colleges. In her spare time, Renée volunteers as a board member for the Missouri Mental Health Counselor Association and is the President of … Read More...

No, Adoption is Not Like in the Movies…

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If you believe TV and movies, adoption is pretty easy, you happily somehow “sign up” to adopt, maybe get a home visit from a smiling social worker, or sometimes the situation is not realistic and suddenly you receive a made to order child. Maybe in the movies, but in real life, not so much.  Some movies that deal with this topic you may not even realize are very popular today, like The Blind Side, Elf, Disney’s Tarzan, Superman, Kung Fu Panda 2 and many more. Adoption is not like in the movies and is very challenging emotional and mental process. During the adoption process, you will find yourself … Read More...

Kids Say “We Aren’t Little Adults”!

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Back when I was in clinical practice I was often amazed at the insight young children had related to how others viewed them. The most compelling thing that kids would tell me was “adults just don’t think our feelings matter. They think because we are kids, our feelings are not important”!

I would ask them what they meant by that. They would explain that if they were sad or upset about something, often their very well meaning, probably busy and stressed parents would say “oh well tomorrow is another day” or “it will pass don’t worry”, without really asking them “what are you sad about” or “did something happen that … Read More...

The Therapeutic Value of Animals – It’s Not Just a Dog Story

From the Book: Roxie the Doxie Finds Her Forever Home
From the Book: Roxie the Doxie Finds Her Forever Home

Having worked with kids in a therapeutic setting, I was always fascinated by the manner in which children will relate to animals when they are experiencing distress or uncomfortable feelings. This is what drove me to use Roxie as a character that would allow kids to discuss their own feelings in a safe and non threatening way.

Both real and fictional animals have been used for years to assist children and teens who are struggling with difficult situations, emotional issues, kids who are on the autism spectrum has shown to benefit from equine and canine therapy.

In the story and … Read More...