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Ask the Expert: Adoptees on identity

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

A new report reminds us of the challenges some adoptees have in forming their identity, and what could make it easier.

A major new study finds adoption has a profound and enduring impact on the identity of adoptees. Based on input from the experts on the subject - adults who were adopted as children, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute released a major study on identity formation for adopted persons: Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption (2009).

Family matters: Stereotypes

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

I am the white parent of a 12-year-old boy who is African-Canadian. How do I support him in dealing with stereotypes about Black men and youth?

The best way to deal with stereotypes is to understand them, provide counter-examples, talk about it openly, understand that not everything that may look or sound like a stereotype, actually is one, and to become a social activist.

Explaining slavery to kids

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

I am the Caucasian mother of a six-year-old African-American child. I am worried about explaining slavery to my daughter. Do you have any advice?

Be the first person to explain slavery to her—before the subject is covered at school and before her classmates bring the topic up. Use books to help tell the story. Before you tackle the topic, talk about the many achievements and contributions to the world by African-Americans (or African-Canadians). Then pick a time to talk about slavery when she isn’t tired or distracted. Cuddle up while you talk.

Finding First Nations roots

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

As adoptive parents who began our journey with our application to adopt almost 25 years ago, we’ve seen some changes along the way. One of those changes has been regarding the adoption of children of First Nations ancestry into non- First Nations homes.

Our first adoption was a child of First Nations ancestry, and we were given very little information about his birth mother’s community, or even about how to support his culture. Fast forward a few years and his half brother joined us.

Hair and skin care for kids: A guide for parents of black and bi-racial children

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

When Kelly Martin brought home her 21-month-old daughter, Kendall, there were all the common new-parent concerns: “How will I ever cut such tiny nails?” laughs Kelly. But Kendall is Haitian, and caring for black skin and hair was to be an additional learning experience for Kelly. Undaunted, she says, “I knew it was something I would have to learn.”

My Concept of Self: Growing up in a Multiracial Family

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Having grown up in a multiracial family, multiculturalism has always been a part of my life— and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. My parents have always encouraged us to develop individual identities and to stand tall and proud of who we are. It is true that every member of my family has a different self-identity; however, that is something that contributes to our family interactions and understandings. My family deeply loves one another and our differences have made us more accepting and liberal people.

Let's celebrate!

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Incorporating cultural traditions in your new family

Adopting a child is a time to celebrate. But beyond the initial celebration of the arrival of your new child, how can you incorporate new traditions and celebrations into your life? If your child has another country or culture in their background, it is important to share the learning experience of exploring their culture with them, through their own eyes. These experiences provide adopted children with a stronger sense of social and cultural identity.

Summer E Camp

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Heritage camps for adoptive families

“There’s lots of brown people here!” exclaimed a 5-year-old Ethiopian girl upon arrival at E Camp last summer, an Ethopian heritage and culture camp. And as the weekend came to a close and everyone was leaving for home, that same the little girl told me, “I wish I could stay here forever.”

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