Thursday, October 31, 2013


    All children are real children whether they are biological, fostered or adopted.
    They are all equal.

    His birth/bio parents decided to have him adopted.  We are his real parents.

    If the parents want to divulge that information, that is fine.  However, that is a personal question.
    There are plenty of websites that list costs for adoption whether it be local or international.

     Just because a child has been adopted, doesn't mean he is a reject or second class goods.
     If he does have any issues, they are nobody's business unless a parent chooses
     to divulge such information.

    Maybe yes and maybe no.  Some parents want to offer a loving home when they already have
    biological children.  Some adopt when they cannot conceive.  If you have to ask, then
    you don't know the family and, therefore, it is an inappropriate question. This can be a very
    sensitive topic and is best not to bring up.

    I don't know how many times we have heard that statement.  In some cases, adoptive parents
    do get pregnant after adopting.  However, it is infuriating and sad to have to explain that you could
    get pregnant, but kept having miscarriages, or have some medical condition that prevents you from
    ever getting pregnant.  In the same vain, it is never a good idea to say, "See! You adopted and got
    pregnant.  I bet it's because you relaxed and weren't so stressed out."  This is assuming that the
    mother couldn't conceive at all, when a large majority of adoptive parents have endured multiple
    miscarriages.  So, saying that she was stressing out too much previously only makes her feel like
    she was at fault for losing her babies.  And that is unfair and medically unsound!

    Is this a little tid-bit of information that is going to be uplifting and helpful?  I think not.  Keep such
    information to yourself.

    A statement like that to adoptive parents often sparks a feeling that the child has been given a
    massively huge favor.  Every child deserves to have a happy, loving and secure family.  They are
    not rejects.  They are precious little people who, given the right environment can make a huge
    contribution to the world around them.  Adoptive parents will often say they are truly blessed to
    have their adoptive child as part of their family, not the other way round.

  • As an observer, you do not have the right to know the intimate details of a child's adoption.

  • Adoptive parents are happy to tell their adoption story when they know someone is genuinely interested.  Ask open-ended questions, thus allowing them to tell you as much as they want and no more.  The same prying, boring, inappropriate, pointed questions become frustrating and 'old' to adoptive parents, especially coming from people they do not know well.  Be respectful and read the signals when adoptive parents have shared all they want to for now.

  • It's also important to avoid discussing adoption around an adopted child.  That topic may not have been discussed with the child yet and may lead to a very uncomfortable and premature conversation with the parent and child. 

If you are interested in adoption or adopting a child, there are lots of great resources on the web and also local agencies that can take you through the process.  Please feel free to ask Kristee any questions as she adopted her son internationally a couple of years ago.

Written by: Sally Burgess and Kristee Mays

Saturday, October 26, 2013


We think our kids know how to manage their 'stuff' once they leave home.  However, I can vividly recall finding out that one of my young relations had no idea that you couldn't write checks without knowing how much money was in the bank.  When the check bounced she was shocked.  So was her husband when he discovered she had no idea about the principles of managing money other than cash.

Kids don't learn purely by osmosis.  The really important things have to be taught and practiced until they can prove they understand how to manage the situation.

Be the kind of person you want your kids to be.
     a) Train them from an early age to do all household chores.  Encourage them when they do a
         great job.  Encourage them to work as a team and help one another.
     b) Give them specific responsibilities e.g. managing their own allowance, doing the shopping
         and bringing back the change.  Explain how to manage credit cards and check books.
     c) Teach them to cook, including shopping for the ingredients.  Make sure they clean up
     d) Teach them basic vehicle maintenance, including repairs and what to do in case of a breakdown
         or running out of gas.
     e) Have them do their own laundry, and iron their own clothes.
     f) Make sure they are respectful not only to you, but to anyone in authority.
     g) Insist on them being on time, keeping to time and respecting others' time.
     h) Take turns at total care of a family pet.
      i) Teach them the skills involved in being a good friend and and how to be one.  Teach them how
         to manage conflict.
     j)  Have your kids involved with you in voluntary work in the community so they appreciate
         serving others.

Your kids want ongoing support and encouragement.  It is one thing to practice at home, but quite another to be totally responsible as an independent adult.  By all means help them make wise decisions, but don't habitually bail them out of trouble.  They need to learn the consequences of their decisions. 

Written by Sally Burgess

Monday, October 21, 2013


OK, so why do we yell at our kids?  Here are some reasons people give.

  • They won't take any notice unless my voice reaches 110 decibels.
  • That is what my parents did to me.
  • I am angry and I want them to know it.
  • Sometimes they need to be afraid of me.
  • I see danger and I want to warn them.
Do you remember the best technique some teachers used to get our attention in the classroom?  Yelling!  The students went quiet.  We all stopped because we weren't sure what was happening.  Then we spoke with low, controlled voices and we knew the teacher meant business.


Kids will often tune out to what is going on around them.  They may even miss warnings of danger.  Kids will often yell back at their parents or at their siblings, because that is the behavior that seems to be the 'right way' to handle situations in the home.  Kids can then grow up to do the same thing to their kids.  It may lead to the children finding it more difficult to control their anger.  When angry words are spoken they are often uncontrolled, distorted or untrue.  Cruel words can never be taken back.  Even an apology cannot erase such words from the recipient's mind.  As the song says, "Forgiving you is easy, but forgetting takes the longest time."  Uncontrolled anger causes insecurity and a lack of trust.


The best way to get your kids to respond to your requests the first time is to:
a) Tell them that you are not going to yell at them anymore.
b) Tell them clearly what your expectations are...that from now on you will make your requests
     only once and if they do not comply, selected consequences will be applied. 
c) Have them repeat your expectations and the consequences so you know they really understand.
d) Make sure that you are being fair with your timing when it comes to asking them to do something.
    If it is right in the middle of some fun activity you have allowed them to do, then they will be
    quite reasonably frustrated and grumpy if they are pulled away from it.

Helpful further reading:

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Being shy can be a crippling thing.  It can cause us not to venture beyond the bounds of what is totally familiar, to feel inadequate and to never have the opportunity to develop our full potential.

Is shyness due to our genes, or is it learned behavior?  It certainly is puzzling to find one shy child amongst gregarious siblings.  We have one introverted son and one extroverted daughter.  Our son is not shy, however.  He just prefers his own company.  Our daughter feels starved if she cannot socialize on a regular basis.  Anyone who knows me would say I was a total extravert, yet I can be very hesitant and unsure when facing new experiences.

According to Dr Bernado J. Carducci of the Shyness Research Institute, there are three components to shyness:

     a)  Excessive self-consciousness - overly aware of yourself in social situations.
     b)  Excessive self-evaluation - tend to see yourself negatively.
     c)  Excessive self-preoccupation - concentrate on all the things you are doing wrong when around

These would appear to me to be learned rather than innate behaviors.

     a) Being overly criticized as a child or young person.  When others' expectations of you are too high
          you may never feel you can do anything right, and it is natural to give up trying.
     b) Having had even one negative experience in social situations, particularly as a child or teen, the
          ridicule or shame forces you into your shell.
     c) Neglect where parents or those of influence have never trained you and you are left to learn by
          your own mistakes.  This can be very damaging.
     d) Parents who lack confidence can pass this trait onto their children.

  • If you are a shy parent, discover where the shyness has come from and get help to overcome it.
  • Refrain from labeling your child as shy.  Labels stick and discourage confidence to step out.
  • Concentrate on your child's strengths to build their confidence.
  • Encourage your child's efforts rather than concentrating only on the results.
  • Walk through new situations with your kids.  
  • Help them build friendships and integrate into larger groups.

For more suggestions on overcoming shyness check out the following source document I have used.

Written by Sally Burgess

Saturday, October 12, 2013


The question of whether the risks are greater than the advantages regarding child vaccinations is a hot topic. A child in the womb is naturally protected from diseases and, once born, that protection is partially continued through breastfeeding.

Over the years vaccination schedules have changed due to the risk of exposure to diseases of the time.  For example, polio and TB were a real concern in earlier years and have been drastically reduced due to vigilant vaccination.  Currently, the vaccination schedule in Western countries includes Diphtheria,Tetanus, Whooping cough, Polio, Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenza type B, Pneumacoccal conjugate,  Rota-virus, Measles, Mumps and Rubella.

a) Personal protection from serious diseases.
b) Prevention of the spread of these diseases through the community.

a) Possible lifelong harm for some from the content of the vaccines.

a) Serious possibility of contracting the diseases.
b) Personal harm from the effects of the disease.

In 1986 the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was passed in response to a large number of lawsuits being filed claiming vaccines were causing adverse reactions including brain damage and death. The Act served to shield medical professionals and vaccine manufacturers from liability if an individual suffered injury from receiving vaccines. The Act mandated that vaccine injury claims be filed with the US Court of Federal Claims rather than filed directly against physicians or vaccine manufacturers in civil court. The Act created an Office of Special Masters to make rulings on petitions for compensation. Unlike civil court, those filing injury claims are not required to prove negligence or failure to warn - they only need to prove that a vaccine caused injury.

Link to Autism:
On July 9, 1999, in response to growing concern over a link between vaccination and autism, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the US Public Health Service (PHS) recommended that Thimerosal (a preservative containing mercury - a known neurotoxin) be removed from vaccines "as soon as possible."

Link to brain damage:
Between 1988 and 2009, the United States Court of Federal Claims Office of Special Masters has awarded compensation to 1,322 families whose children suffered brain damage from vaccines.  (We personally know a child who was vaccinated and within days suffered convulsions resulting in severe brain damage).

Please read the source below as it discusses studies and progress of arguments to and fro regarding the value of vaccinations for children.


It is a very difficult situation that young parents face, trying to decide which is the best decision to protect their children.  Will vaccinations harm or help?

All I can suggest is that there is a great deal of information on the Internet these days that will at least enlighten you.  A discussion with more than one health professional and both sides would also be advisable.  Just remember, too, that the drug companies will usually not admit liability and have copious finances to lobby against those who would try to prove links between vaccinations and damage to children.  They often report findings from research they have conducted or financed. So, how can the truth be known?

Written by Sally and Brian Burgess

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Canada geese fly in 'V' formation for a very pragmatic reason: a flock of geese flying in formation can move faster and maintain flight longer than any one goose flying alone.  Synergy is a law of nature.

We have a lot to learn from these geese.
  • By flying in 'V' formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
    =>People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
  • Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.
    =>If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are heading in the same direction as we are.
  • When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.
    => It pays to take turns doing hard jobs, with people or with flying geese.
  • The geese at the back honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. 
    => We need to encourage others and to be careful what we say when we honk from behind.
  • Finally, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow him down to help and protect him.  They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until he is dead, and then they launch out on their own or with another formation until they catch up with their group. 
    => If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other, protect one another and sometimes make new friends who seem to be going in our direction.  It's all about team work and community.


a) The 'V' formation for families begins with strong parenting - leading from the front; providing
    direction, solid family values and positive role modeling.  Parents hold each other up by sharing
    the lead and backing one another up at all times.

b) When families are working as one unit they will go further, quicker. They help one another to
    achieve both family and individual goals.
c) When families work as a team they alternate hard and light chores.  When the work is done there
    is more time for fun.

d) Every family member needs encouragement.  Just like the geese, we all need to 'honk', or cheer
    each other on from behind.  You notice the geese at the back do all the honking.  Coming from
    behind is a selfless position to be in.  No-one is fighting to be at the front or be the 'best'.

e) If one family member is struggling the family gathers to help the 'wounded' one.  The family
    group can also provide a sense of normalcy in the 'wounded' one's life so they do not feel left
    out or left behind.  Families are committed to one another, no matter what.

Written by Sally Burgess

Sunday, October 6, 2013


I wonder why some people get so hung up on mothers breastfeeding their little ones in public?
  • Does it make some men feel embarrassed or awkward?
  • Could it arouse an unwanted sexual response in some males?
  • Is it just 'not proper public behavior'?
Let me say this.  In New Zealand and Australia where I come from, breastfeeding is as natural as anything else.  Mothers don't bother covering themselves with some big blanket or coverall.  They do show discretion by at least covering their breast with whatever they happen to be wearing e.g. a T shirt or shirt.  Nobody cares.  No part of the breast is exposed any more than it would be by wearing a low cut blouse.

What does the law say about public breastfeeding here in the USA?

After doing a little research I found a whole slew of information from the source provided below.  Since I live in Tennessee this is our local Government stance on the matter:

"Tennessee permits a mother to breastfeed in any location, public or private, that the mother is authorized to be, and prohibits local governments from criminalizing or restricting breastfeeding.  (The act) specifies that the act of breastfeeding shall not be considered public indecency as defined by § 39-13-511; or nudity, obscene, or sexual conduct as defined in § 39-17-901.

(Check out from the link below, what the law is in your State).


President Obama signed into law the following regarding Moms being able to express breast milk in work time.  Here it is in part.

President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, H.R. 3590, on March 23 ....... to require an employer to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express milk........ The employer must also provide a place, other than a bathroom, for the employee to express breast milk.

So what is your stance on the controversial issue? Are you for, or against public breastfeeding?

Written by Sally Burgess

Friday, October 4, 2013


 I think it is very sad to think that if I asked a group of adults what their purpose or passion in life was, two thirds of them would probably say they didn't know.

  • What do you love to do?  
  • What really floats your boat or winds you up?  
  • What really gets you going - once you start you don't want to stop?  
  • What are you really good at?
Hmmmmm!  Has that got you thinking?

When I was a kid I loved sewing.  I would make most of my clothes and sew dresses for my little sisters as well.  I also loved to knit.  I mastered those things through the enjoyment of performing them.  I tried drawing, but I wasn't really good at it so didn't pursue it.  I also was not good at sport.  Was that wrong?  No.  It just didn't click with me.

At school I was good at writing stories because I discovered I had a very fertile imagination.  I struggled with math and in particular math puzzles e.g. if the train wheel measures x and the track is x long, how long would it take the train to get to the other end moving at x miles an hour.  Ahhhhh!  My brain stopped dead at 'If the train wheel measures x.'  It still does!

There were strengths I discovered myself, but there were some skills that others observed in me that I didn't know I had.  Singing was one of them.  If someone in those early days had not said, "You are really good at this," and gave me opportunities to sing, I may never have found my absolute passion, and reached goals I never thought possible.

I had an Aunt who was my hero.  She was a nurse and I decided when I was only 6 years old that this was what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I never wavered from my goal and did whatever it took, including hard study, to be a nurse just like her.

Ask yourselves the above questions.  Ask trusted others what they think you are good at?  They often see strengths or traits in you that you didn't know existed.  Some of these strengths may end up to be hobbies because they don't earn the money to put the necessary food on the table.  But it is doubly great if you find your passion makes money also!  Either way, we ALL have strengths that drive us if we let them.

1. Observe what your kids gravitate towards.  From their earliest years they will show often a
    fanatical interest in certain things e.g. the computer, drawing, playing with cars or planes like our
2. Expose your children to all sorts of experiences and activities to see what they enjoy the most.
3. Explore their interests with them, but only a few at a time.
4. Encourage them.  If they are showing a real aptitude for their interest, see how far they go with it.

1. If your kids show interest and you are paying for lessons, don't let them give up just because they
    are sick of it or  it takes too much effort.  At least make them complete a term or season e.g. piano,
    football.  They need to learn to be committed.  Tenacity creates expertise.
2. Some activities are just fun to pursue and others are necessary to life and future careers.  Kids can't
    just ditch math or English because they don't like it.  They have to reach a certain proficiency or it
    effects their futures.  If they are struggling, they will have a negative attitude.  Try to get them extra
    tuition.  Praise them for their effort, not just their grade or results.
3. Do not force your kids into following interests/careers just because you were good at it - or worse,
    you couldn't succeed, so, 'by George, they will!'  That is called, 'living your dreams vicariously
    through your kids.'

We are fearfully and wonderfully made.  We need to find our passions to reach our true potential.

The above picture is of a 6 year old boy in the pilot seat of a large plane.  His grandfather is a pilot and so is his Daddy's brother.  I wouldn't be surprised if this lad isn't headed in the same direction!

Written by Sally Burgess

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

NEW!! Chat Room Session starting Nov. 4th!!!

Hi all.

We are so excited to announce that we will be starting a weekly Chat Room Session to provide on-the-spot advice and conversation about issues that we are all facing as parents. It will give you the opportunity to join the conversation and ask the questions you've been dying to get answers to. We will begin these weekly sessions on Monday Nov. 4th from 8pm-9pm U.S. Central Standard Time.

It's as easy as going to our website at and clicking on the "Chat" tab at the top of the page and then clicking on "Join the conversation".

Just join by choosing one of the following options.

Joining as a "Guest" allows you to choose your name and be anonymous if you want to.

We can't wait to connect with our readers and support you in your parental journey.

***Please note that if we have a lot of questions and we can't get to your question within the hour, we will be happy to answer your questions via email. Or you can choose to join in the next week.


 Child stress is on the rise and for all sorts of reasons.  It might be an unhappy or broken home situation, a health condition, inconsistent parenting, expectations set so high the child cannot succeed or they might be plain tired.

One reason for child stress is scheduling their time with too many extra-curricular activities e.g. after-school sports, drama, dance or music lessons.  They have been at school all day and can barely get any homework done before they are whisked off to some other activity which requires concentration.  Their brains cannot sustain constant over-stimulation and they can easily become tired, frustrated and despondent.

Kids need time to just have fun.  They need time to rest, relax and recuperate and not have their hours scheduled to the extent that there is no spontaneity.  Kids also need time to develop their imagination and this won't happen if they have no time to read and free-play.  (Neither will it happen if they are sitting in front of the TV.)

It is not necessary for a child to learn to play every instrument in the orchestra - even if they want to.  Sure they need to be exposed to all sorts of activities to help them find their passion.  However, this needs to occur over time, one or two activities at a time.

We need to look hard at our kid's daily program.  They should have rest periods between each activity.  They get up so early for school and often do not have a regular bed-time.  We need to protect them, not overload them.

While we want them to reach their full potential, this will not happen if they feel constantly hurried from one thing to the next.

Written by Sally and Brian Burgess