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Adoption    Babies    Breast-feeding    Child care    Childproofing    Drugs    Parents    Playgrounds    School   

- Many children with special needs need to be adopted

Before adopting:
____ Consider using one or more of the following to find a child to adopt:
          - Private agencies - the wait may be up to 10 years, usually because prospective parents are looking for a newborn and/or Caucasian infant
          - Public agencies - usually cheapest
          - Independent - prospective adoptive parents deal directly with the birth mother
          - Networking - Ensure your friends and associates know that you'd like to adopt and ask them to mention it to their friends and associates
          - Advertising, e.g., newspapers
____ Get help with the process, e.g.:
          - Lawyer
          - Social worker, and/or,
          - Adoption agency
____ Be aware that many children available for adoption from many foreign countries may have problems adapting to adoptive parents and may have various health problems, learning difficulties, etc.

After finding a prospective child to adopt:
____ Get as much information as you can about the child's background - to help determine if the child might be violent towards you, have learning difficulties, have health problems, etc.
____ Determine how long the birth parents have to back out of the adoption

After adopting:
____ Be aware that adoptive parents can suffer from some depression similar to post-partum depression, due to the letdown from the anticipation and from being overwhelmed by the major changes in your daily routine
____ Introduce the concept of adoption to the adopted child in a warm and supportive manner
____ Keep assuring your adopted child that:
          - He/she is not different from other kids
          - He/she is secure and loved
____ Ensure you have adequate term life insurance on you (the parents), especially income-producing parents (consider getting approx. five times the parents' annual income for the first child, plus an additional four times your income for each additional child or dependent, up to a maximum of approx. 12 times your income)

If your adopted child asks questions relating to his/her birth parents and adoption and is younger than approx. age 4:
____ Listen to his/her question(s) carefully so you don't answer a question he/she didn't ask
____ Take the time to answer his/her question(s) carefully but honestly, although not in too much detail

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Finding child care providers:
____ Ask neighbors and friends for recommended providers
____ Ask for references
____ Contact references

After find a potential child care provider:
____ Ask other parents how they like the provider
____ Observe the behavior of other children the provider cares for

____ Arrange for your child and care provider to have as much interaction as feasible with other children and providers (to help ensure proper care is being provided)
____ Leave phone number(s) at which you can be reached and the address(es) you'll be located at

When return to home or when pick up child:

____ Ask lots of questions, not just "how'd it go?" to help determine if proper care has been provided, e.g., no hitting

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____ Consider hiring a company to help you childproof
____ Get down on your hands and knees to help detect hazards which children can get to
____ Place gates at top and
____ Install childproof latches on appropriate cabinets, drawers, etc.
____ Put following out of reach of children:
          - Hazardous materials, breakable objects, rope, string, etc.
____ Place night lights where necessary to prevent falls
____ Place outlet covers on all empty electrical outlets which children can reach (ensure the covers do not pose a choking hazard)
____ Tuck electrical cords out of the way
____ Unplug appliances and cords when not in use
____ Shorten drape and blind cords and/or cut off the knot at the end
____ Install window guards and/or locks
____ Install gates at top and bottom of stairs
____ Lower hot water heater temperature to less than 130°F
____ Store medicines in childproof containers
____ Lock appropriate cabinets and drawers
____ Place rubber mats in bathtub and shower
____ Turn pot handles on stove away from front
If your residence was built in 1978 or earlier:
____ Determine if there is a hazard to children from lead paint (use of lead paint was restricted in 1978)

____ Put following out of reach of children:
          - Plastic bags
          - Dishwashing liquid
          - Cleaning fluids
          - Hot liquids
          - Knives

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Also see: PARKS

Installing a playground:
____ Put in at least 6-12 inches of suitable ground cover (e.g., sand, bark) under and around the playground
____ Provide shade, especially over areas used the most, e.g., sand box

Before letting children use a playground:
____ Ensure the playground does not have:
          - Openings which could trap a child's neck
          - Sharp edges
          - Hard ground under parts of equipment from which children could fall
          - Climbing surfaces or slides higher than 7 feet - for most children
          - Openings of more than 3 inches between slats, etc. - children could squeeze their body through, then hang by their head which could be too large to fit through
          - Loose hardware, e.g., nuts, bolts, chains
          - Hard swing seats
          - Nails not nailed down
          - Loose wood which could cause splinters
          - Hot metal surfaces, e.g., slides
____ Ensure the playground does have:
          - Soft ground, e.g., sand, bark, spongy material
          - Swings well clear of play areas and high traffic areas
          - Rubber or plastic tubing around swing chains - to keep fingers from being cut or pinched
____ Warn children about any dangers on the playground

While supervising children on a playground:
____ Ensure children do not use equipment inappropriately, e.g., too many children on a swing

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Well before the school year starts:
____ Contact the school to determine:
          - Registration requirements
          - Your schedule, including teacher name(s), if available
          - Physical examinations required
          - Immunizations required
          - Supplies required
          - Options available for meals
____ Make arrangements to get to and from school
____ Study material which will prepare you for your classwork
____ Buy:
          - Clothes
          - Binders/folders
          - Paper
          - Pens, pencils, markers, crayons, etc.
          - Lunch box
          - Reusable food/drink containers
          - Reference books, e.g., dictionary

Right before the school year starts:
____ Tell your child that in the event of an emergency (e.g., earthquake), the teachers will take care of him/her until you get there, which may take quite a while

On the first day of school:
____ Take:
          - School supplies
          - Still camera
          - Video camera

Soon after the school year starts:
____ Set up a gathering of classmates and their families, e.g., a picnic - to help students and families get to know each other better early in the school year

____ Ensure the school has phone numbers to reach you or people you designate in the event of an illness or emergency
____ Ask some of the parents your child's classmates to make sure your child gets picked up after school and, if not, to pick up your child
____ Give your child's teacher and/or the office a list of people you authorize to pick up your child
____ Volunteer to help in the classroom

Items to take:
____ Thing(s) to share
____ Lunch (see FOOD)

Junior high school:
____ Make a weekly calendar to show your schedule
          - Put a copy in your primary binder/folder
          - Post copies at home, in your locker, etc.

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