A celebration of Aboriginal roots

Focus on Adoption magazine

A passion for culture

June 2015 will mark the eighth annual Roots Celebration within Okanagan First Nation Territory, the land of the Syilx people. The event serves Indigenous children and youth in care by helping to instill in them a sense of pride, honour and respect for their identity and heritage. Organizers and participants represent many Nations and bring together the best of what they have to share over a weekend rich in Indigenous cultural experiences focused on children and youth.

Adoption 101 for Teachers

Focus on Adoption magazine

Each year, around 550 children are adopted by BC families. There are probably children in your class who have joined their family through adoption. We have prepared this information to help you understand some of the issues that adoptees can face at school and how you can help them.

There are many good reasons to be sensitive to adoption in the classroom:

Choosing adoption

Focus on Adoption magazine

For years, I tried to avoid even considering adoption. The idea of being put with people I didn’t know anything about and hadn’t even seen before was a little scary. I’d mostly lived with my great-grandma my whole life. That felt like home to me, and I didn’t want to leave. Unfortunately, my grandma’s age and health problems were getting bad and she wasn’t able to continue taking care of me. I had nowhere to turn. Adoption became the best option for me. Deciding on adoption was very scary, and I felt like I was risking my future.

Everyone has a story: Meet the Vaillancourts

Focus on Adoption magazine

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.

Parenting your adopted teen

Focus on Adoption magazine

Adoption adds complexity to the life of adopted teens, even those adopted as newborns.

All teens struggle with the question, "Who am I?" Finding the answer usually involves figuring out how they are similar to, and different from their parents--a task that can be particularly complicated for children who have both birth and adoptive parents. Unknown or missing information, or having a different ethnicity from parents, can make piecing an identity puzzle together especially difficult for adoptees.

What's your family fit?

Focus on Adoption magazine

Take this quiz, developed by Speak-Out Youth members April and Courtney, to see what kind of family is the right fit for you!

Question 1

You’ve just come from a long day at school. What would you like to come home to?

a) Lots of brothers and sisters jumping off the walls and inviting you to play.
b) Your mom and dad waiting for you, ready to go on a bike ride.
c) Your mom, cooking dinner, ready to hear all about your day.
d) An after-school snack of homemade cookies while you do your homework with your siblings and wait for your dad to come home.

Planning permanency WITH youth

Speak-Out Youth Newsletter

I'm a youth who was in foster care. I know what it's like to meet with social workers and have conversations about my future. I think that planning permanency and adoption is a good thing because it gives youth a sense of stability and belonging. Permanency is important because it sets the ground work for the youth's future; it sets up a permanent family life and also might help to make sure that positive outcomes are possible for the youth in the long run. Here are some suggestions I have for people who work with youth in care or adoptees!

Hero for Everlong

Speak-Out Youth Newsletter

I believe that permanency is very important.
When I was at my all time low
I just wanted to fly away like a blackbird.
I was creeping death,
I needed a Courtesy Call.
I knew that someday I'll be on the Stairway to
Soon I will find a person, they will say,
"Oh starlight, don't you cry. We're going to find
A place where we belong"
They will be my Saviour, I'll know that
Nothing else matters, and I'll be living in
Paradise City.
So Open your eyes, and see that If
Everyone Cared, and they gave a


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