About Pam Connell

Pam Connell is a mother of three by both birth and adoption. She has worked in education, child care, social services, ministry and journalism. She resides near Seattle with her husband Charles and their three children. Pam is currently primarily a Stay-at-Home-Mom to Patrick, age 8, who was born to her; Meg, age 6, and Regina, age 3, who are biological half-sisters adopted from Korea. She also teaches preschoolers twice a week and does some writing. Her activities include volunteer work at school, church, Cub Scouts and a local Birth to Three Early Intervention Program. Her hobbies include reading, writing, travel, camping, walking in the woods, swimming and scrapbooking. Pam is a graduate of Seattle University and Gonzaga University. Her fields of study included journalism, religious education/pastoral ministry, political science and management. She served as a writer and editor of the college weekly newspaper and has been Program Coordinator of a Family Resource Center and Family Literacy Program, Volunteer Coordinator at a church, Religion Teacher, Preschool Teacher, Youth Ministry Coordinator, Camp Counselor and Nanny. Pam is an avid reader and continuing student in the areas of education, child development, adoption and public policy. She is eager to share her experiences as a mother by birth and by international adoption, as a mother of three kids of different learning styles and personalities, as a mother of kids of different races, and most of all as a mom of three wonderful kids!

What Problems Do Parents of Russian Adoptees Face?

Most of the world is justly horrified by the fact that Torry Hansen sent her adopted Russian son back to Russia. I admit I don’t know how I would respond if my child threatened to kill me. But as I said in my blog on Wrongful Adoption lawsuits, once an adoption is final, the parent-child relationship is final. If my biological child suffers brain trauma and becomes a danger to others, he may have to live in a residential treatment center, but I would still visit him, try to assist in his healing process, contribute financially to him as much … Continue reading

Should There Be Dual Citizenship for Internationally Adopted Children?

My last blogs were about the boy sent back to Russia and in which jurisdiction the abandonment occurred. (You can click here if you missed last week’s update .) I learned from his adoption agency’s website that children adopted from Russia to the U.S. have dual citizenship in both countries. This was news to me. Adopting from Korea, we were advised to inform our agency when the adoption was finalized so that they could sent a request to South Korea to remove her from the Korean citizenship rolls. This was especially important because all male citizens in South Korea serve … Continue reading

An Update on the Adopted Child Sent Back to Russia

The adoption agency World Association for Children and Parents (WACAP), which handled the adoption of Artem Savaliev, also called Justin Hansen, has filed a petition Tuesday in Bedford County, Tennessee, asking the court to investigate whether his abandonment (in his case, being sent back to Russia alone on a plane) constitutes abuse or neglect. The agency said in its petition that the adoptive mother Torrey Hansen and her mother Nancy Hansen had inflicted “severe emotional injury upon this minor child who has now been abandoned twice, by his biological and adoptive parents”. (The boy’s biological mother’s rights were terminated in … Continue reading

Who Has Jurisdiction in the Abandonment of the Russian Boy?

My last blog concerned last month’s news about the adopted boy flown back to Russia alone. Some commentators have speculated whether abandonment charges would be brought in the U.S., which does allow unaccompanied minors to fly, or in Russia, where he landed. Also, the jurisdiction where the child was abandoned may be Tennessee, where the adoptive mother and grandmother reside, or possibly Washington D.C., since the child’s grandmother flew with him there and then put him on the nonstop flight to Russia alone. Children adopted from Russia to the U.S. are citizens of both Russia and the United States of … Continue reading

On the Child Sent Back to Russia

It’s been nearly a month since two nations were stunned by the actions of an adoptive mother and grandmother, who put a seven-year-old adopted from Russia on a plane to Moscow as an unaccompanied minor. He bore a note addressed to the Russian Ministry of Education from his adoptive mother. Apparently his grandmother, who lived next door to his adoptive mother in Tennessee, had spoken with a driver in Russia and hired him to meet the party at the airport and drive to the Russian Ministry of Education. The driver was under the impression, from phone calls the week before, … Continue reading

Bullock Says She Now Can Celebrate Becoming a Mom Through Adoption

Many adoptive parents try to keep quiet about their adoption plans to avoid endless questions during an uncertain and possibly lengthy waiting period. Sandra Bullock may have set a record by keeping all but the closest friends and family unaware that her new son has been living with her for over three months! Bullock spoke with People magazine last week after keeping silent for weeks following revelations of her husband’s infidelity. She told the magazine that she and her husband Jesse James had been in the process of adopting for several years, and she had always thought that “her” child … Continue reading

Book Review: Carolyn’s Story

Carolyn’s Story is told from the viewpoint of the author’s nine-year-old daughter, who was adopted from Honduras when she was a baby. The book is longer than most adoption picture books and will appeal to somewhat older children than picture books, although younger children will be engaged by the photos and simple narration. The book is also unique in featuring the situation of many adoptive children: a family where one parent has children, often grown, from a prior marriage. Wishing to have children together, the new couple—often past prime childbearing years—turn to adoption. Carolyn’s story includes a visit to her … Continue reading

Book Review: Maybe Days: A Book for Kids in Foster Care

My last blog mentioned some books written to help foster care kids understand and come to terms with their experiences. I wanted to write a full review of another book, Maybe Days: a Book for Children in Foster Care. This book, labeled for ages 4-10 years, seems to me to be for somewhat older kids than The Star or Zachary’s New Home (books discussed in the last blog). It is written by Jennifer Wilgocki, M.S., a child and family therapist who presents training on attachment and bonding issues to professionals and foster parents. Dr. Marcia Wright is a clinical psychologist. … Continue reading

Books for Kids About Foster Care

There are many good children’s books about adoption, but still a dearth of books about foster care. It is a painful subject to write about, but it is also hard when a foster child thinks he or she is the only one going through it, and also when other children don’t understand. The following books can be used by foster parents, social workers and therapists to help children understand some of the reasons they might be in foster care, the roles of the adults including biological family, foster parents, social worker, therapist and judge; and who makes the decisions about … Continue reading

Book Review : For the Love of a Child: The Journey of Adoption

Monica Blume, a social worker and counselor with LDS Family Services, once saw a young woman who had been adopted watch a film entitled “ Adoption and Unwed Parents”. Tears ran down the young woman’s face. “I never knew that my birth mother loved me,” she said. Blume, who has worked with many, many birthmothers, birth fathers, birth grandparents over the years, wrote For the Love of a Child: The Journey of Adoption not only in hopes of being helpful to birthmothers, birth families, and clergy who may be involved in adoption decisions, but in hopes, she says, that she … Continue reading