December 2005


Creating healthy families It was wonderful reading "Adopting Lisa" (October 2005). The article did a great job of showcasing a successful and loving international adoption.

The motivation for an international adoption should be no different than a domestic adoption: Wanting to create a family where a child can grow up healthy, safe, loved and educated.

Completing an adoption of any kind takes time, money and a commitment from the adopting parents. But once the adoption is complete, parents and children are united as a family with the love, support, loyalty, strength and commitment needed to form their own "forever family." You could not ask for more when starting or growing your family.

NANCY CROUCH Director of Family Placement and Adoption Services Volunteers of America of Illinois

Why point out difference? Your article "Adopting Lisa" (October 2005) was great. But as an adoptive parent, I believe that the word "adopted" in the two captions is an unnecessary qualifier that takes away from the miracle of adoption.

Would you write a caption that said, "Rachel kisses her natural-born sister Lisa?" Or a couple posing with their new "naturally-conceived" baby?

Adoption is just a different journey to the same destination of loving parenthood, as shown quite eloquently in the article itself.


What I like about you In regards to the article "Adopting Lisa" (October 2005), itfs frustrating to read about a family explaining why they chose between an international and a domestic adoption. Too many times people put the route they didnft choose in a bad light, which gives the reader the wrong impression. As an adoptee and an adoptive mother, I believe people should accentuate the positive of the route they choose.

Additionally, your article on dyslexia was VERY helpful (October 2005). Our son experienced speech symptoms as early as 2. When he was 4½ and no longer needed an Individualized Education Plan for speech, my husband and I still expressed concerns regarding his memory, reading and writing skills. We were told he did not need additional help.

We did more research and took him to a learning disability specialist. He was diagnosed with dyslexia and now has the help he needs. He loves to read and loves school. The additional links were also very helpful to obtain more information. Thank you.


Why the anti-mom tone? I love to pick up your magazine. It offers great stories, tips, ideas and help for parents. Thank you for putting out such great quality print month after month.

I would like to take a moment to comment on the article "From the Editor" entitled "Going to the chapel?" (October 2005). The article caught my eye initially because of the picture of five beautiful young girls.

Like Alli, 15, I believe men and women are created equal and should be treated equally. However, while we are equal, our strengths lie in different areas. Being equal does not imply that we must be the same.

The truth is, we women are needed in the home raising our children. These are critical times. Our children need the presence of a mother (yes, a mother because women in general excel more at nurturing than men) teaching, guiding and forming them into the men and women they have the potential to become. Too many children are being left with tired grandparents, minimum wage childcare workers or strangers who are unable to bestow upon our children what they deserve and what is their right.

I am surprised a magazine that relies entirely upon paid advertisements targeting families would choose to print anything even remotely anti-family in the name of womenfs rights. Women "should make something of ... [ourselves] in this modern age because ... [we] have the chance."

The womenfs movement has not failed. We have earned ourselves the right to choose. We can go down in history as someone punching the time clock or someone who made all the difference in the lives of children, people, communities and nations.


Where was fire info? Ifve been reading your magazine for the last year or so and find it a reliable and valuable resource. But in October, I didnft find one article I had expected: information on Fire Prevention Week, which was the week of Oct. 9.

I didnft find any valuable information on the need for smoke detectors on every floor of your home, changing the batteries, home escape plans, being careful with candles or any of the other helpful information I had expected. I just assumed that since being a good parent means keeping your family safe from such a real everyday threat, Chicago Parent would be writing about it.

Keep up the great work. And maybe in the future you will include these tips. It would be a great complement to your already great magazine.

ROGER ELLIOT Firefighter, Orland Park

A new family puzzle We all have things about our lives that, quite honestly, do not go as well as we hoped; things we are disappointed in or that did not go as planned. If this has not happened to everyone who has read the column about Susy Schultzfs separation (October 2005), then pinch me because I must be in heaven.

Children learn the most valuable lessons from parents who have the courage to accept and take responsibility for their disappointments and from watching parents successfully pick up the pieces to make a new puzzle. Our children also will have disappointments and we will not always be there to fix them. Our great responsibility as parents is not to be perfect but to raise children who know how to accept responsibility for their actions and not compound their disappointments with poor choices.

Schultz rightly points out that divorce does not mean her family ceases to exist. She is picking up the pieces and creating a new family puzzle.


Giovannifs gift to a child I recently read the article about banking umbilical cord blood (October 2005). I appear to be one of the 3 percent of your readers who is male and that clearly places me in the minority; however, I would like your readers to know that fathers care, too.

My son was born on Dec. 28, 2004. My wife and I inquired about the different companies that handle cord blood and we found the process a little frustrating and discouraging, but we were not going to let difficulties deter us.

We could have chosen to preserve our sonfs cord blood for the entire span of his life and we had the financial means to prepay all of it. However, we donated his cord blood on the day he was born so that another child today may have a chance for life. The feeling that we had at that time was that our son was born into fortunate circumstances and that other children are not.

Making a cord blood donation cost us a little time, and the feeling we have done a good deed to last a lifetime. Hopefully, Giovannifs gift will allow another child to have a lifetime as well and make the world a better place. Thank you for the article.


Editorfs note: Actually, 24 percent of Chicago Parent readers are men, according to the latest study from Media Audit, Inc.

Become a birth advocate Your article on birth plans (November 2005) hit upon one of the greatest tragedies about birth in the United States: The generally accepted belief that physicians and hospitals are in control, and that birth is a medical event to be managed.

Active management of labor is not only the norm but it is also commonly accepted as best practice in our culture. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests otherwise. In 1999, the United States ranked 26th in infant mortality and 21st in maternal mortality among industrialized nations. However the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate maternal deaths are drastically underreported and that half the maternal deaths in the United States are preventable. The countries with the best birth outcomes typically view pregnancy and birth as normal life processes and offer low-tech, hands-on, personal support for the mother.

Also, in Illinois, mothersf options are further limited by the legal restrictions on independent birth centers and certified nurse midwives. These alternatives typically offer the low-tech, high-touch option, which evidence has shown gives superior results for mother and baby. We as women need to speak up for our birth rights. I encourage you to become informed and let your voice be heard by working with your care providers contacting your state reps and our governor to let them know you support these options. I would also encourage everyone to read Ina Mayfs Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin. Itfs one of the best books out there about birth.


 Chicago Parent welcomes letters from its readers. In order to publish a letter, we must have the name and phone number of the writer, and the name of the town in which he or she resides. Please send letters to: ¡ Susy Schultz, editor, Chicago Parent, 141 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL 60302

¡ Or fax them to Susy Schultz at (708) 524-8360

¡ Or e-mail them to Michael Phillips, assistant to the editor, at [email protected]

We may edit letters for space or clarity. We will not divulge the addresses or phone numbers of letter-writers or forward messages to them.


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