Child welfare

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Family matters: Race and beauty

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

I am the mom of a 13-year-old girl adopted from the US. She is African-American, we are Caucasian. Some of her friends (it’s a predominantly “white” school) are attracting the interest of boys. My daughter says nobody seems interested in her, and she thinks it’s because of her colour. How do we respond to this in a way that helps?

Surely you will want her to feel valuable, attractive, and wanted. It may be more difficult for your daughter as peer-relationships, womanhood, racial identity, and self-esteem are likely involved in this for her.

Parenting special needs kids

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Most parents shy away from adopting children with special needs. Here we meet parents who actually want to.

When I interviewed Carrie Hohnstein, mom of 11 children, I probed for quotes that might offer hints of the constant drama and stress that I assumed was an inevitable feature of her life.

There were slim pickings. Carrie just isn’t a dramatic person. She’s calm, thoughtful, and unflappable—qualities which are probably central to her success as a parent in a large family.

Help your child: Focus on strengths

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Tara Webber, Registered Clinical Counsellor and adoptive mom, provides her tips on building a struggling child’s self-esteem.

If you ask children what they do well, there is usually a long pause as they search for an answer. Ask them what they don’t do well, and they have an instant list. When I was working as a counsellor in an inner city elementary school, I focused on helping many children build self-esteem. One particular grade five girl, Zoe, who was in foster care, is a good example of how difficult it is for some children to feel good about themselves.

Solutions in strengths

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Taking a child's strengths as the starting point to solving their problems, and involving family and community, can work wonders.

Chris Mundy sees his job as a combination of detective and anthropologist. After our interview, it’s easy to see why.

Reclaiming youth at risk

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

A Lakota Sioux and Anglican minister, Dr Martin Brokenleg has developed an acclaimed program for “reclaiming kids and youth.” The Circle of Courage is a philosophy that promotes four nurturing experiences necessary for children—belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity.

Early European anthropologists described Native American children as radiantly happy, highly respectful, and courageous.

Adoptee finds a nest of her own

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

When, at the age of 16, April O’Neil’s social worker told her she’d like to adopt her, April’s world was turned upside down. Here, April movingly describes her immediate emotions moments after she was told.

It was clear to me that I was standing in one spot—so it must have been the room that was spinning. I was in the principal’s office standing face to face with a woman who, with very few words, wanted to shake up my whole world. 

Your adoption dilemmas addressed

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Here are two responses to a difficult dilemma that one family is facing.

"We are the proud parents of two children, a girl and a boy, both under the age of 5. The children’s biological parents are parenting two other children. Though we would like it, the birth parents are emphatic that they don’t want an open adoption. Despite this, we leave photos and letters with our agency. Our adoption agency has told us that the birth parents have not told their children about their adopted siblings.

When that sibling call comes

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Have you discussed the possibility of being asked to adopt one of your child's siblings?

As an adoptive parent, there is a chance that one day you will be asked if you would like to adopt one of your child’s siblings—maybe a newborn, perhaps a teen.

That phone call will probably send you into instant emotional turmoil, and you’ll probably be asked to make your decision fairly quickly. In this article, we hear from adoptive parents, all of whom received one of those calls. As you will see, each reacted differently to the news and made their decision in different ways.

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