Welcome to the ProSquad! Every week we'll be checking in with our crack team of experts to find answers to parenting's trickiest dilemmas and hottest issues. This week we hear from adoption expert Judy Miller about birth mothers with cold feet, as well as how to handle toddler tantrums at the checkout stand.


I've heard horror stories about fickle and flighty birth mothers who change their minds at the last minute. Am I better off engaging a surrogate?

Birth mothers have gotten a bad rap, often portrayed as underage, fickle, flighty, non-educated, and/or poor. Yet this is rarely the case today. This battering of women really needs to stop.

Adults who are considering adoption as a way to create or grow their families need to decide what "road" works for them. Will it be foster to adoption? Domestic or international? Special needs? Infant or older? Surrogate or no?

The decisions involved in how to bring a child into the family are very personal and laws regarding surrogacy vary from state to state. Adults considering domestic adoption or surrogacy need to be informed and knowledgeable about the laws governing the process they choose and agree to.


Adoption Pro, Judy M. Miller is an adoptive parent, adoption advocate, support specialist, and she coordinates and teaches parent preparation education to parents who are in the adoption process. Judy is a columnist for the adoption network, Grown in My Heart. Her essays and articles appear in adoption and parenting magazines and in A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families (Adams Media), Pieces of Me: Who Do I Want to Be? (EMK Press) and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom (Chicken Soup or the Soul).


Every time we go to the store my daughter begs for the things they put at toddler height! Do you have any advice for getting a handle on this before it turns into a full-blown tantrum?

It's the rare parent that escapes the experience of a grocery store tantrum! Be reassured that you are not alone in this, but there are some things you can do to minimize both the frequency and the intensity of the inevitable tantrum while out shopping. What works for your particular child on any given day will likely vary and take some trial and error to figure out.

Preparation is key to preventing tantrums. Prepare your daughter for what your expectations for her behavior are before you enter the store, and then remind her as you approach particularly tempting aisles. Offer an incentive for her to stick with clearly defined good behavior. For example, offer a reward of a trip to the library if she doesn't grab any items off the shelves while you're shopping. Also, consider involving her in the shopping process. Ask her to help you get specific items off the shelf and put them into the shopping cart for you.

Other strategies to consider in your repertoire (and things I did myself with my own kids) include letting her eat a snack while you shop, letting her read a book or play with a toy as she sits in the shopping cart seat, engaging her in song or conversation, and keeping your shopping trips with her as short as possible and scheduled at times when she is not likely to be tired or hungry.


Our next question is for Kathleen Cuneo, Ph.D. Kathleen is a psychologist, parent coach, and mom of three. Her mission is to empower parents to find their own parenting voice and develop strong connections with their children. Dr. Cuneo is also the director of Dinner Together, LLC, which offers consultation to families seeking to have more frequent, successful family meals and deal with the challenges of picky eaters. Dr. Cuneo earned her doctoral degree in Applied Developmental Psychology and also has postgraduate training in working with infants, toddlers, and parents. She has worked with children and families for the past two decades.


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