Their lives, their words, their voices: why we should listen and what we can do
Three cultures plus infinite love equals one unique family!
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond is BC’s first Representative for Children and Youth. She was appointed in 2006, and was re-appointed for a second five-year term in 2011. A judge on leave from the Saskatchewan Provincial Court, she holds a doctorate of law from Harvard and has worked as a criminal law judge in youth and adult courts, with an emphasis on developing partnerships to better serve the needs of young people in the justice system. She lives in Victoria with her family. We asked Ms.
In February of 2010 our social worker told my brother and I about a couple who wanted to adopt us. We began working with the Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC) for our transition. In June, we moved in with our new family. The first year with them was hard for me. I'd moved to a new town and had to start all over.
Now we have a good relationship, but learning to trust and love them was really tough. Of course, with two teenagers in the house, there will always be arguments; but my family is always there for us.
There are few things more life- or soul-destroying than clinging to the feeling that you are a victim of your life experiences, and that the world owes you something for the pain it caused you. And there are even fewer things more life- or soul-destroying than not allowing yourself the space to really feel your loss, fear, and longing.
A ritual, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “a prescribed order of performing religious or other devotional service.” Rituals take place on occasions like Hanukkah, Easter, the Lunar New Year, birthdays, and Thanksgiving. They don’t have to be religious in nature; baking Christmas cookies with your mom and sister is as much a ritual as attending Mass. The simple daily things you do can be can be rituals, too.
Transitioning can be different for every person. For my brother and I it was a different experience for the both of us...
I was not completely ready for the transition and had run away for a few days to, in a way, help clear my mind. My brother on the other hand went easily. Once we were at the house everything went well. The first summer went really well; we had lots of fun and had got to know each other well. Once school started there were a few challenges.
Adoption across the Rockies
At any given time last year, there were about 5,300 children and youth in permanent government care in Alberta. In the same year, 449 of these children found a loving and permanent home. Alberta children are almost always placed with Alberta families in order to keep them connected to extended family, culture, community, and resources.
My first encounter with the idea of children in care who needed families was during a church service as a little girl.
The speaker shared unsettling statistics about kids who age out of care and end up incarcerated, homeless, or worse; kids who are separated from their siblings; and young adults who have no place to spend the holidays or summer vacation. I suppose it all resonated with me because I came from a family of five siblings, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. At that church service I made up my mind that I wanted to adopt older kids one day.
Growing up you see your parents' "mistakes" in raising you, and you swear never to be like them. Then you become a parent.
Suddenly you no longer see your parents as having made mistakes; rather, they were surviving in the forever challenging world of parenthood.