Calm your nervous system

Focus on Adoption Magazine

Nicole Gfeller is a counsellor, an art therapist, and an adoptee. For as long as she can remember, she struggled with an overactive nervous system. She’s not alone: regulating the nervous system is a major challenge for many adoptees. In this article, she helps adoptees understand this challenge so they can develop healthy, fulfilling, and happy lives.

Shame and the adopted child

Focus on Adoption Magazine

Catherine is the co-founder of the non-profit organization We Are Adopted/Adoptees Association. In this article she draws on her personal experience as an adoptee and an adoptive mother as well as her professional experience as a registered clinical counsellor to explain why shame and adoption are so intertwined.

Attachment: take it outside!

Focus on Adoption magazine

There’s no better time than the present for adoptive families to get reacquainted with Mother Nature. Angela Krueger, an Ontario PRIDE trainer, parent facilitator, freeelance writer, and adoptive mom, explains how getting outside can facilitate attachment for adoptive families, and shares practical tips to help you make it happen.

Take a walk

“Again?” my preteen asks, rolling her eyes, when I say it’s time for a walk around the block.

Be prepared! Kids' health and international adoption

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Before you travel

  • Know the country you would like to adopt a child from and read up on the potential medical issues your child may have.
  • Before travelling, get your own vaccinations up-to-date by making a visit to your local travel clinic (if you don't know your local travel clinic, your local health unit should have a list).
  • Make an appointment with your doctor to alert them to the fact that you will be bringing a child home and some of the medical issues the child may have.
  • Buy plenty of medical supplies to take with you (see sidebar on right).

Diary of an Adoptive Mom #13

Focus on Adoption magazine

In the thirteenth of our series we present the secret thoughts of an adoptive mom of three kids. This time, our struggling mom feels better, and weathers Christmas.


Just this morning I was sitting in the van (as usual) waiting for the girls to finish preschool (as usual) when this bizarre and unfamiliar feeling came over me.

At first I didn't know what it was, and then it hit me. I was actually feeling happy! And then I started laughing at myself. It had been so long since I've felt happy that I hadn't even noticed!

An adoptee's bill of rights

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I have a right to feel confused.
Who wouldn’t? After all, I have two sets of parents, one of which was shrouded in mystery.

I have a right to fear abandonment and rejection.
After all I was abandoned by the one I was most intimate with.

I have the right to acknowledge pain.
After all, I lost my closest relative at the youngest age possible.

I have the right to grieve.
After all, everyone else in society acknowledges strong emotions.

I have a right to express my emotions.
After all, they have been shut down since adoption day.

Ask the Expert: Occupational therapy for kids

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What is occupational therapy and what qualifications do OTs need?

Occupational Therapy (OT) is the art and science of enabling individuals to participate in meaningful activities or occupations by using evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning. Occupations vary: a child’s occupation may include playing on the playground, a young adult’s occupation may include attending school or working, a mother’s occupation may include looking after the household and her children, and a retiree’s occupation may be that of a golfer or grandparent.

The promise of neurotherapy

Focus on Adoption magazine

New brain science

Neurotherapy, commonly called brain training, is a therapeutic technique which strengthens and balances the brain. Tiny, non-invasive, EEG skin sensors create a map of brain functioning. Then, with a neurotherapist’s guidance, clients play video games and movies that exercise specific brainwaves. It’s easy and fun.

Foster parents can help change the stigma of mental illness

Focus on Adoption magazine

I’ve certainly benefitted from the care of some very supportive foster parents over the years since my placement in goverment care at the age of 15. My need for care was determined by the presence of serious mental illness in the family. My beautiful and brilliant mother was a professor of linguistics at the University of Victoria when she experienced the onset of schizophrenia. It certainly doesn’t discriminate. All of the degrees, merits and accomplishments did not matter in the slow decline of her beautiful mind.


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