Whole Life Magazine

June / July 2016

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/687891

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Photo by Lina Shanklin, Great blue heron nest By Abigail Lewis I n a career-obsessed town where women go to cocktail parties to learn about freezing their eggs, it's easy to forget there's an option to giving birth. It's not for every- body—just as parenthood is not for everyone—but for those who choose to adopt, especially an "ex- ceptional" child, the re- wards can be enormous. For Judi Amber Chase and Dov Gertzweig, who adopted two such chil- dren, there was never a concern as to abilities, because as Chase says, "Any child God puts in my arms I'm going to say yes to." The prospective parents had to prequalify and get cer- tifi ed to accept children under foster care placement for perma- nent adoption before they could be considered. First came Sage at 18 months; he had no offi cial diagnosis but had been busting walls in a foster home. They also had four supervised meetings to be sure it was "a good bonding match" before they could bring Sage to his forever home. When Skye came along a year later, also 18 months and totally devoid of affect, having failed to thrive in a crowded foster home, he was delivered within hours of their being notifi ed of his need. His autism diagnosis came later. Now with two thriving young men, ages 20 and 19, Chase shares that, "I want to encourage everybody to consider [adopting an exceptional child], but it defi - nitely requires a willingness to go the extra, extra, extra mile. Parents have to be good advocates." If you are considering fostering or adopting, Vista del Mar, a 100-year old 4-star Charity Navigator-rated non- profi t based in West Los An- geles, prides itself on offer- ing "high-quality treatment programs for children with signifi cant emotional, social, learning and developmental disabilities." They also serve as an adoption agency matching able and exceptional children— including infants—with eager families. Judy Goldman, a Senior Adoption Social Worker at Vista Del Mar, told WLT they are a full-service agency, including open adop- tion as well as post-adoption services to adoptive families. They offer training and quali- fi cation, can connect you with a child or infant, and provide ongoing services. They also offer monthly orientations to anyone considering fostering or adopting. "If you're not skilled, it's not going to be an easy ride," cautions Chase. Parenthood never is, but in this case, "It's a lot of maneuvering through the early challenges these little ones are born into. In the end, environment wins out within a very short space of time." Ever the proud parent, she boasts, "My boys are wonderful shining examples of the sky's the limit." The same could be said of their parents. Adoption: easier and more affordable than you think city of angels THE LOVE OF AN EXCEPTIONAL CHILD Judi Amber Chase and her adopted younger son Skye on a family holiday in Hawaii. 12 wholelifetimes.com

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