Tag Archive for adoption

Smaller Brains and Shorter Fuses Found in Traumatized Children

Research shows that chronic neglect and abuse represent a profound threat to a child’s brain development.  Their brains are smaller and their fuses are shorter, emotional wiring doesn’t connect properly. It is biologically necessary to turn to caregivers for food, comfort and other basic needs. When these needs aren’t met, the lack of care sets off a biological stress response. Even before birth a flood of hormones can damage key areas of the brain. The brain is wired to be in a stress response before they even take their first breath. » Read more..

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In the News: Older Adults are Adopting

Wednesday’s New York Times Article Filling Up an Empty Nest examines the more children who are being adopted by older parents, many of whom have had children before or are retired.

According to the article, “The need for competent adoptive parents is great. In 2011, a little more than 50,000 children in the United States were adopted with the involvement of child-welfare public agencies, with around 104,000 waiting to be adopted, according to federal data. More than half of those waiting were over the age of 6.” This is only in the US. Some recent statistics say that in just 2011  there was approximately 9-10 thousand internationally adoptions into the US, and not any conclusive numbers on how many children are waiting.

The Most Adoptions (by country) in 2011

  1. China
  2. Ethiopia
  3. Russia
  4. South Korea
  5. Ukraine

What are your thoughts?  Where have you adopted from or thought of adopting from?  Give us your thoughts below.


Take Good Care.


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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.




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Neurogistics is Going to Peru!

As many of you may know, our mission trip to Peru is rapidly approaching.  We want to thank all of you who donated to the Shoes for Orphan Souls Shoe Drive.  We will be traveling with their group from December 2nd through the 15th. During this time, we will be providing the shoes collected, and other Christmas gifts, to over 800 kids in 8 different orphanages across Peru. Each orphanage is unique in its occupants; including babies, toddlers, elementary-aged children, teenagers, and teenage mothers.

We will begin our trip in Lima and will work our way around the country, coming full-circle, back to Lima on our way home. At each orphanage, we will play with the children, interact with caregivers, and provide some religious readings. As a collegiate soccer player, I am looking forward to playing soccer and other games with the children we visit.  Before we leave, we will hand out the gifts and say goodbye to the kiddos!

There are over 143 million orphans in the world, with over 50,000 living in Peru. These numbers are high and rising, which is why we appreciate all of your support. Throughout the trip, when we have internet access, I will be posting blogs and reading your emails. Also, I will be video blogging so that everyone can see our journey and the living environment of the children we are helping. I will post these on our blog and Facebook page; if you have not “liked” us on Facebook, go ahead and do so. To get involved with a future mission trip or if you are interested in donating shoes or money to help orphans all around the world, go to www.shoesfororphansouls.com. If you want to make a donation call us or email children@neurogistics.com

Until we land in Lima God Bless,

Tara McDonald

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Personality is Developed in the Womb

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

The personality of a child begins in utero.  We know this to be true by looking at our children and the difficult circumstances many of them faced before even being born.   Its no longer, just the genetic make-up or early trauma, its the first 9 months; the mothers mental health, stress level, and environment.  New research and more media attention is being given to the risk children face from the womb, finally…This isn’t to say that Dr. Daniel Seigel and other attachment gurus have not made huge strides in this area, but now we are this more widely accepted.  Its not just if a mother was using drugs, or alcohol, or malnourished, its the emotional health that has become more widely accepted by those in medicine, and this is something us on the psychological end have been waiting for.

Dr. Ellen Weber Libby, psychologist and family systems expert discusses that “A pregnant women’s mental state can shape her offspring’s psyche.These observations and those of others investigating fetal origins, the study of how the nine months of gestation influences physical, mental, intellectual, and emotional functioning, mirror empirical observations long noted by mental health providers.”  To read her post Personality Begins Before Birth click Here

A recent New York Times article titled At-Risk From the Womb  by Nicholas D. Kristof discusses numerous studies that have proven moms emotional state weighs heavily on the development of the child’s personality.” The result is children who start life at a disadvantage — for kids facing stresses before birth appear to have lower educational attainment, lower incomes and worse health throughout their lives. If that’s true, then even early childhood education may be a bit late as a way to break the cycles of poverty.” Click Here to read more.

What this does for parents trying to conceive is give them a better understanding of just how important it is to have a healthy, happy, pregnancy.  What does for those of us who are parenting children from stressful wombs?  Allows us to better understand that this is how they were shaped, this is how their brain chemistry was developed, it is not that they cant control themselves, be happier or calmer, its that their early environment hindered this. Looking at it from this perspective its not that they cant do____ (focus, control themselves, hold it together), its that their brains haven’t allowed them to do so, yet.  This can be fixed, it will be fixed, we as parents and those helping parents, need to keep this valuable research in mind.

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Prescription Drug Coupons

For those of you taking prescription medications and struggling with the ever-increasing costs, you might find this website helpful.  Visit www.needymeds.org to get great coupons for medications that you can print out and take to your local pharmacy.  Just thought I’d share this great website with everyone- every little bit of savings helps!  -Nikki Jackson-Drummond, CCN

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In-Home Genetics Testing: What Are You At-Risk For?

By Emily Roberts, MA, LPC

Have you ever wanted to know if you or your child is at-risk for developing different diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes?  Many adults we work with are and looking to optimise their health, and decrease the risk of potential life threatening diseases.  Many of the parents we work with  have one or more adoptive children, and know very little about their biological background, let alone their risk for developing diabetes, cancer or heart disease.  Those who opt to do genetic testing want to know their potential risk in order to take the best preventitive care possible and alleviate worry over the unknown.

Advocates of in-home genetic testing argue that testing may motivate parents and children to take preventive actions, while critics believe personal genetic tests may provide inaccurate or incomplete information that may worry parents and children more than it helps them.  However, if we are unaware of the genetic make up of the child (due to adoption) this route may be the easiest in preventing future diseases, and allows parents to be steps ahead, rather than worried about the unknown. In the study listed below, of those parents who are interested in genetic testing, “96 percent think it may give them the chance to prevent diseases and may help parents recognize children’s health problems earlier. The poll also shows that 90 percent of parents who express interest in genetic testing for their children are also interested in genetic testing for themselves.”

As adults, if we know that we have a genetic predisposition to a particular disease, this test accurately tests YOUR risk, dispelling the fear of the unknown. Variations in your genes crucial to your B-vitamin metabolism and the ability to manage oxidative stress.  Individuals that show suboptimal results for the genes can be at increased risk for ineffective utilization of B-vitamins and potential for cell damage caused by oxidative stress, both of which can in some cases lead to increased risk for certain diseases and cancers. 

A recent poll by University of Michigan Health Systems found most parents are interested in testing their children. Nearly all interested parents believe it may give them a chance to prevent disease; most uninterested parents believe it will cause worry.”  To see the article in full click here

For more information on Neurogistics Genetic Testing click here or contact us at info@neurogistics.com

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From My Bookshelf

Sometimes we all need a little refresher when it comes to parenting.  It can be exhausting and exciting, but overall we forget much of the knowledge we have sought out, paid for, and educated ourselves on overtime.  Even after years of education, I still have to look back at old notes or books to recall some theories or techniques.  I wanted to share some of favorite parenting books, that never get old (in my point of view), and are always helpful to my clients.  Feel free to share your favorites too!

Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, by John Gottman, Ph.D.  Gottman relates to parents, divulging some of his own mistakes and challenges.  This book is a guide to teach parents how to raise emotionally intelligent children, with a simple five step process.  It is a easy read, that provides strategies and techniques rather than explaining issues in-depth.  Good for parents with kids of any age.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & How to Listen so Kids Will Talk, by Adele Farber adn Elaine Mazlish.  Classic book on communicating with kids, it gives practical strategies and tips.  Their book for Teens is great as well.  I often go back and read chapters to remind myself (as a therapist) what NOT to say to kids, what gets them to close up, and what phrases work well to get them to open up.

Parenting from the Inside Out, by Daniel J Siegel, M.D., and Mary Hartzell, M. Ed.  The authors examine how our own childhoods shape the way that we parent, and how we can draw on this awareness to become better parents ourselves.  Attachment research and neurobiology are discussed along with strategies to become the parent you really want to be.

These are just a few of my go-to favorites on my bookshelf, I have more specific book recommendations based on symptoms and diagnosis, however there are TOO many for this post.  Please add your favorites and ones that you have found helpful to your family.


Emily Roberts, MA., LPC

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Neurogistics’ Shoes for Orphan Souls Drive

Working as closely with the families of  internationally adopted children as we do, Neurogistics founder Pam Machemehl-Helmly felt that Shoes for Orphan Souls was the perfect charity for our staff to get involved with.  According to The State of the World’s Children as reported by Unicef, there are 148 million orphans around the world.  Orphanages, especially those outside of the U.S., do not received enough funding to support the children in their care.  One of the greatest and most immediate needs is a pair of shoes.  Many of the children receive one pair of shoes to last an entire year, and some don’t have shoes at all.  This is why we had to get involved.  We have set out goal very high and we need  your help to achieve it!  We are accepting shoes of all sizes and monetary donations.  At the end of the month we will take the funds we have collected and buy as many pairs of shoes as the funds will allow.  We will keep you updated on our progress, please contact our office if you would like to know how to help.  A great big Neurogistics “THANK YOU”  for all of the donations!

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