What can I do to protect my child’s oral health at home?

Clean your infant’s gums with a clean, damp cloth. Ask your dentist if you may rub a tiny dab of toothpaste on the gums. As soon as the first teeth come in, begin brushing them with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste. Help a young child brush at night, which is the most important time to brush, due to lower salivary flow and higher susceptibility to cavities and plaque. By approximately age 5, your child can learn to brush his or her teeth with proper parental instruction. The best way to teach a child how to brush is to lead by good example. Allowing your child to watch you brush your teeth teaches the importance of good oral hygiene.

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The adoption triad | Birth Parents, Adoptees, Adoptive parents

What is called the Adoption Triad consists of:

Birth Parents
Adoptees and
Adoptive Parents.

Birth parents
Birth parents are inaccurately depicted as choosing adoption thoughtlessly and then returning to stalk their child’s family.
“Researchers, lawyers and social workers all say the misconceptions about birth [parents] are the most corrosive and least accurate stereotypes in adoption,” Adam Pertman, The Boston Globe.

There is no typical birth parent. Some are young adults who are completing their education or whose lives may not be conducive to good parenting. Most are not prepared financially or emotionally to parent. Women who voluntarily place their children for adoption are likely to have greater educational and vocational goals for themselves than those who parent their children.

Birth parents are those who cannot care for the children born to them at a particular time in their lives.
Some may be too young, although most teens do not make an adoption plan.
Many choose adoption if they are single and want a two-parent home for their child.
Others may suffer physical or mental illness.
Some have had their parental rights terminated owing to abuse or neglect.
Internationally, war, famine, social or political upheaval and poverty may also lead to the adoption of children.
Most doing voluntary placements are in their late teens and twenties, although there is an increasing number who are in their 30s and even 40s.
Some are married couples who cannot care for more children than they already have.
A few are celebrities.

Article source: The adoption triad


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DDoS cyber attacks get bigger, smarter, more damaging

A magnifying glass is held in front of a computer screen in this picture illustration taken in Berlin May 21, 2013. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski

Crashing websites and overwhelming data centers, a new generation of cyber attacks is costing millions and straining the structure of the Internet.

While some attackers are diehard activists, criminal gangs or nation states looking for a covert way to hit enemies, others are just teenage hackers looking for kicks.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have always been among the most common on the Internet, using hijacked and virus-infected computers to target websites until they can no longer cope with the scale of data requested, but recent weeks have seen a string of particularly serious attacks.

On February 10, internet security firm Cloudflare says it protected one of its customers from what might be the largest DDoS documented so far.

At its height, the near 400 gigabyte per second (gbps) assault was about 30 percent larger than the largest attack documented in 2013, an attempt to knock down antispam website Spamhaus, which is also protected by Cloudflare.

The following day, a DDoS attack on virtual currency Bitcoin briefly took down its ability to process payments. [ID:nL2N0LG1Y8]

On February 20, Internet registration firm Namecheap said it was temporarily overwhelmed by a simultaneous attack on 300 of the websites it registers, and bit.ly, which creates shortened addresses for websites like Twitter, says it was also knocked out briefly in February.

In a dramatic case of extortion, social networking site Meetup.com said on Monday it was fighting a sustained battle against hackers who brought down the site for several days and were demanding $300 to stop. It would not pay, Meetup CEO Scott Heiferman told Reuters.

DDoS attacks were at the heart of attacks blamed on Russian hackers against Estonia in 2007 and Georgia during its brief war with Russia in 2008. It is unclear if they played a role in the current stand-off between Moscow and Ukraine in which communications were disrupted and at least one major government website knocked out for up to 72 hours.

A report this month by security firm Prolexic said attacks were up 32 percent in 2013, and a December study by the cyber-security-focused Ponemon Institute showed them now responsible for 18 percent of outages at U.S.-based data centers from just 2 percent in 2010.

The average cost of a single outage was $630,000, it said.

“It’s really a game of cat and mouse,” said Jag Bains, chief technology officer of Seattle-based DOSarrest, a firm that helps government and private-sector clients protect their sites.

“I’d like to say we are ahead, but I just don’t think it’s true.”

As well as growing in volume, he said attacks were becoming much more sophisticated in targeting the most vulnerable parts of websites, making even a small attack much more effective.

The aims of attackers include extortion, political activism, providing distraction from data theft and, for “hobbyist” hackers, just testing and showcasing their skills, security experts say.

Other victims in recent months have included the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Royal Bank of Scotland and several major U.S. banks, which analysts believe were targeted by Iran in response to sanctions. Iran denies the charge.


Many attacks, however, appear to be homegrown. The most popular point of origin for DDoS attacks in the last three months of 2013, Prolexic said, appeared to be the United States, followed by China, Thailand, Britain and South Korea.

As well as hijacking computers, Prolexic said attackers are increasingly targeting smartphones, particularly those using Google’s Android operating system, which by the third quarter of 2013 accounted for more than 80 percent of new phones.

Even wireless printers, experts say, have sometimes been co-opted into attacks, packed together in botnet groups. That, they warn, can put previously unprecedented cyber firepower in the hands of relatively unskilled hackers, who increasingly include teenagers.

Last year, British police arrested a 16-year-old as part of their investigations into the attack on Spamhaus, while German police arrested an 18-year-old after a DDoS attack paralyzed the Saxony government website.

DDoSarrest says some of the most recent attacks it has dealt with were on U.S. universities and largely blamed on students showing off or protesting against high tuition fees.

The sheer volume of attacks means many perpetrators are never traced, and some computer security experts complain law-enforcement authorities remain reluctant to prosecute the youngest offenders.

Until recently, DDoS attacks were seen less of a threat than attempts to steal customer data or intellectual property. That, however, is changing fast.


Last year’s Spamhaus attack was described by some as slowing the entire global Internet, and most experts agree the largest attacks can slow access across entire regions. Cloudflare says there were anecdotal reports of slowness in Europe during the latest attack.

Crashing data centers can wreak havoc with other services based there, including phone systems and vital industrial facilities.

The Ponemon report showed DDoS attacks are now the third largest cause of outages after power system failure and human error, outstripping traditional causes such as weather events.

Even if attacks do not succeed, the cost of mitigating them is rising fast, providing many millions of dollars of business for firms such as Cloudflare and Prolexic, taken over last month by Akamai Technologies for about $370 million.

Namecheap, which aims to offer cut-price hosting for websites, said it had already spread its data centers across five countries and three continents to better handle constant attacks but was still overwhelmed by the roughly 100 Gbps incident.

Attacks on that scale, Prolexic says, now occur several times a month and are now frequently so complex and fast moving that automated systems can no longer tackle them.

Prolexic itself runs a permanently manned operation centre at its headquarters in Florida, allowing it to keep one step ahead and instantly move material between data centers.

“It’s very hard to know what to do,” said Alexander Klimburg, a cyber security expert at the Austrian Institute for International Affairs currently on exchange at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. “The tools to do this can be purchased online incredibly cheaply, while the damage they can do and the cost of mitigating it is exponentially higher.”

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Finding U.S. Birth Parents

Adoption Laws

Before World War II, almost half of all adoptions were handled privately, and sometimes there were few records involved. Adoption records in most states were open to the public or to “interested parties.” After W WII, many states began regulating adoption more strictly, offering greater privacy protection to birth parents and evaluating prospective adoptive homes more closely. In the last several decades the adoptees rights movement has lobbied to open access to birth and adoption information to adoptees. The accessibility of information continues to vary from state to state.


There are several records relevant to birth parent searches: birth certificates in state or city repositories, case files of adoption agencies, and records of the courts that approved the adoptions. To learn whether you can access case files and court records, contact the agency that handled the adoption. To search State statutes for issues related to adoption, see the website of the Child Welfare Information Gateway, http://www.childwelfare.gov

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International Searching for relatives

In the past, intercountry adoptions were almost exclusively closed, and it was believed that there was little to no possibility of locating and reuniting with birth parents. Although in many cases it is still quite difficult to locate birth relatives abroad, searching internationally has been more common since the 1990s.

Many of the resources discussing international birth parent search are targeted toward adoptive parents searching for their child’s birth relatives, but some of the tips for adoptive parents are also relevant to adult adopted people. Country-specific articles, blogs, and support groups may be the best sources of information for those interested in beginning an international search. An online search for information addressing the unique issues and tips relevant to the birth country may help point international searchers in the right direction to get started.

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Social Media and Searching for birth parents

“Social media” refers to forms of communication that use the Internet, including social networking sites, text messaging, blogs, podcasts, and RSS feeds. As of March 2011, there were over 200 active social media sites (Fitch, 2011), and this number will likely continue to grow. Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace allow people to connect to each other by inviting others to join their network or become their “friend,” making it easier to find people and reconnect. With over 500 million active users on Facebook alone (Facebook, 2011), social networking sites can be useful tools to those involved in a birth relative search. Although there is no research documenting the number of adopted people, birth parents, and birth relatives who have reunited through social networking sites, anecdotal evidence suggests that birth family members who have been separated by adoption are finding each other through Facebook and other social media channels like i-am-adopted.com .

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Hiring a Professional Searcher for birth parents search

Adopted persons or birth parents searching for birth relatives have the option of hiring a professional searcher. Individuals who choose to hire a professional searcher should
research the reputation of the searcher or company. Searchers may have a variety of backgrounds and training:• Some searchers have a certification from Independent Search Consultants ( http://www.iscsearch.com ), a nonprofit organization that trains in adoption searching.
• Other searchers may be licensed as private investigators by a particular locality and may or may not have adoption search experience.
• Other professional searchers may be experts in a particular locality or a particular field but may not have a certification.

Support groups and online forums can be a ready source of information about professional searchers. Reputable professional searchers will always respect the pacing and boundaries established by the person who has hired them. These professionals will not move beyond search into reunion unless this step is requested by the searching adopted person or birth relative.

In some cases, a court or agency may refuse to open sealed records or provide full information in response to a petition or request; however, the court or agency may appoint a professional searcher. In such cases, this professional searcher serves as an intermediary whose job is to locate and contact the birth parents (or birth child) and to find out whether they want to have their name and address revealed and whether they want to resume contact. The professional is given access to sealed records, but the petitioner (who generally receives no access to records) pays the fee of the professional searcher. If nothing is found, or if the found person refuses to release information or agree to contact, there is generally no recourse (except that the adopted person or birth parent can continue to search on his or her own).

In addition to these fee-based search services, there is a growing community of volunteers called “search angels” who will conduct adoption searches free of charge. Search angels are individuals with experience conducting birth parent search, not private detectives or paid professional searchers. Adoption search blogs, social networking sites, search support groups, and other online forums are places where search angels or recommendations for such help can be found.

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