Top tips when choosing Aboriginal adoption

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Author: 
Kelly Davie
Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Are you adopting children of Aboriginal heritage, or thinking about it? Indigenous social worker Kelly Davie shares her wisdom about travelling this unique path.

Keep an open heart, an open mind, and laughter in your life; it will serve the family well.

Be patient with yourself and others, and persevere. The path to permanency can be much longer than we first imagine.

Indigenous culture is diverse, with many languages, traditions, beliefs, and values. That being said, there are commonalities amongst our Nations. Depending on the child or youth’s walk in life, culture may be rich in their lives or it may have yet to be nurtured. You must be willing to meet them wherever they are at.

A strong identity equals a strong foundation. It is often heard said, “You must know where you come from to know where you are going.” Be curious about the child’s culture and traditions, nurture and grow that connection, and seek out mentors and positive role models for your child, as well as opportunities to learn their language, art, music, and foods. Make space for this learning and allow it to be primary in the child’s identity along with all that you bring into the child’s life. This will serve the child and your family well in the years ahead. 

Resources

Friendship Centres in British Columbia

  • Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre (www.vafcs.ca) offers family- and youth-friendly activities such as a girls’ group and pow-wow nights throughout the year.
  • Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre (www.frafca.org) in Surrey offers regular daytime drop-in programs and a weekly family night.
  • Victoria Native Friendship Centre (www.vnfc.c) hosts regular culture nights and family nights, as well as a preschool and many other programs.

Even more friendship centres are listed at www.bcaafc.com.

Participate in activities and celebrations, listen to what is being shared, and ask questions when appropriate. Be a humble learner. When it is time for you to be gifted with knowledge, it will be provided, and with respect it will be given life through your words and actions. Be creative in reflecting the teachings in your home life and way of being within your family and community. Find the similarities and speak to them.

You may find your family grows in a great big way as you come to see that connectedness is vital to an Indigenous conceptualization of overall wellness: connectedness to family, to community, to the living world around us, and to spirit.

Wellness is a balance in one’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual life. Seek guidance and support to assist you in contributing to this good health for the child, youth, and your family.

Walk alongside the child or youth and offer the unconditional love and enduring support we all need to flourish.

Indigenous or non-Indigenous, growing your family through providing a home for children or youth is, in my belief, part of the healing journey for the child, youth, family, community, Nation, and country. It impacts us all. What you set out to do is so very important!

My sharing here is done with a great respect for those individuals and experiences that have informed me along the way. As a woman of mixed ancestry, Tsimshian and British, and as an Indigenous social worker, I am always learning from the generosity of elders, mentors, co-workers, families and community members. I share in hopes that it supports us all in serving our children in a good way.

Dorothy “Kelly” Davie lives with her husband and two sons on Coast Salish Territory along the east coast of Vancouver Island. Like strips of cedar woven together to create something strong, beautiful, and lasting, so too are the individuals within her family woven together through birth and adoption. Her passion for children and families is what brought Kelly to AFABC, and she is honored to work as a Child Specific Family Recruiter (CSR).

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