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Are you up to parenting a child with FASD?

Source: 
AFABC Supplement: FASD and Adoption

When I met Susan Bell* in her large, Surrey home, I was immediately struck by how ordered and tidy it seemed, especially considering it’s home to several teens. I had pictured a far more hectic, cluttered place.

Susan ushered me into her equally immaculate office, and we spoke for two hours about parenting kids with FASD. Susan, an adoptive parent, is direct, honest, and she doesn’t sugar-coat any aspect of this complicated issue.

Children and unresolved grief: Signs and treatment

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Shanna is 14 years old. She’s a lovely young  woman with dark hair and a bright smile. While she has a friendly manner and is comfortable conversing with adults, it’s clear that something is bothering her. It’s not so much what she says, as her body language and level of distractibility.

Shanna lives in a home with her two foster parents and four other children. She participates in chores, does her homework, spends time with her foster-siblings and hopes, one day, to be adopted. At this point, adoption is not the plan. She is in Neverland, that gray 

Helping children make sense of a painful birth history

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

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."

How hereditary can intelligence be?

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Researchers have long overestimated the role our genes play in determining intelligence. As it turns out, cognitive skills do not depend on ethnicity, and are far more malleable than once thought. Targeted encouragement can help children from socially challenged families make better use of their potential.

Patience, love pay off for this family

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

WATERFORD, CT - A family portrait hangs in the living room of the Longs’ home. Taken last year at Thanksgiving, it shows Jesse and Jill Long surrounded by five children: three grinning teenagers and two much younger children. It’s an American classic. Norman Rockwell comes to Waterford. And yet the photograph is a testament to something else, a secret that only some families understand: that while love surely makes a family, determination and hard work are often needed to make it work, make it real.

Ask the expert: The parentified child

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Many children in foster care exhibit parentified behaviours, making it difficult for them and their new parents to negotiate healthy parent-child relationships. We spoke with Anne Melcombe, BSW, an adoption social worker and child specific recruiter here at AFABC, about parenting the parentified child. Anne was a Level 2 foster parent for more than two decades and is a single adoptive mom of three. She is passionate about the need for children and youth to have permanent family connections.

Understanding the impacts of your child's early experiences on learning

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

The degree of stress your child experienced prior to adoption may significantly impact how his or her brain develops.

As an adoptive parent and a therapist, I am keenly interested in how my child’s early experiences impact her classroom performance and ability to learn. A recent experience at my daughter’s school reinforced how critical it is for teachers and parents to have information that will help educate them in a practical way to respond to children who have had significant early stress or trauma and are struggling to adapt to the school environment.

Family matters: Telling about birth siblings

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

A few months ago, we told our 6-year-old son that he has two older birth siblings who live with his birthmom. He doesn’t want to see photos of his siblings, or talk about it. How can we help?

At this age, kids are just beginning to understand the idea of adoption and where babies come from. They are also beginning to visualize their birth families, crave more details, and ask more concrete questions. Sometimes, we hold on to details we don’t think our kids are ready for. When critical information is omitted, it can feel like a betrayal to the child.

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