Counselling Therapist Geoff Ayi-Bonte, MA RCC, answers your questions on adoption, family dynamics, and transracial families.
Maya and John Benson adopted a sibling group almost three years ago. Despite careful preparation, and being experienced foster parents, the couple were soon devastated by the behaviours of their traumatized children—especially their oldest son. Being a forever family quickly seemed an impossible fantasy.
Some parents who have adopted older kids or sibling groups will understand what I'm going to say next; others will think I'm an awful parent.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Although some people questioned her decision to keep her children connected to their loving foster parents, Tara Webber knew it was the right thing to do. After all, why end a relationship that had been so good? Don’t children need as many loving people in their lives as possible?
If I thought solely of the best interest of my girls, I had no reason to break the bond between their foster family and every reason to do what I could do to encourage that relationship.
In the 27th of our series, our mom of three kids, Emily, Grant and Lynn, feels isolated and different from the other moms waiting in the schoolyard for their kids. Then she spots her youngest daughter, Lynn, who has been standing completely still, all alone in the busy playground.
I just don’t fit in with any of the mom groups that surround the playground after school. I really have nothing to contribute to their labour pain and episiotomy stories.
For white parents of black children (full or biracial), doing your child’s hair is totally different from doing your own. It’s something most white people never had an opportunity to learn about.
It is essential to your children’s sense of identity and self-esteem that they are given the opportunity to look like they are well-cared for and groomed; this is particularly true for transracial families already subjected to unusual social scrutiny by others who aren’t quite sure you are really a family. How your children look can shape the conclusions outsiders draw.