For many youth, foster and adoptive homes can be safe places for care and support when the biological family does not provide appropriate care. Unfortunately, many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth are placed in foster homes where their caretakers do not understand or accept these youth because of their gender or sexual orientation.
Advice from a counsellor on how to recognize and help wounded children and youth.
Trauma: adoption’s shadow
Many children and youth who are adopted have been exposed to highly stressful situations and traumatic events; however, the resulting special needs these children can experience aren’t always recognized or supported. It’s vital for caregivers and professionals to learn the signs and symptoms of trauma as they present in children and youth, and to know how to find and access age-appropriate trauma-informed care.
Early intervention for adoptive families
“I was going through a very difficult time at the beginning of my adoption,” says adoptive mother Carrie Crowley. “I was breaking down and was desperate for support. I was isolated and emotionally exhausted.”
A timeline of one youth’s life from adoption, through foster care, and into independence, as told to Mary Caros.
Author’s note: This account started out as an interview with a youth as a way to allow her to give voice to her life experience. There is more to this story—and more to all of our life histories— than one person’s subjective experience. Our recollection of life events are often affected by the time and space in which we remember them. This young woman may tell her story quite differently five years from now.
Britta West is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Clinical Traumatologist located in Burnaby, BC. She completed her Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University in 2009. In 2012, Britta completed the Clinical Traumatologist specialization from the Traumatology Institute. Her areas of expertise include attachment, trauma, mental health and behavioural health diagnoses and parenting. Britta provides therapeutic interventions to address these issues in the context of the family system.
The placement of a child in an institution, such as an orphanage or group home, usually characterized by a large number of children and few caregivers. Unfortunately there is commonly a lack of financial resources, and caregivers, which leads to a number of problems for the children in their care.
A lack of staff, resources, and money creates a situation in which the children do not receive the type of care they need to thrive.
There are four types of child abuse:
In the 35th of our series, our mom finally receives a diagnosis for her daughter--and it’s not the one she’s expecting.
We just got the results from the assessment that was done on Lynn. I’m really conflicted about the information in that report.
1. Be proactive—use the "A" word from the moment your child comes home, even if he or she is pre-verbal. Seek opportunities to talk about adoption—movies, books, other families connected to adoption, and your child’s own adoption story at an age-appropriate level.
2. Connect the positive qualities in your child with their birth parents—even if you know nothing about them; for example, "I wonder if your birthmom/birthdad has your beautiful voice."