Claire’s 10-year-old son, Adam, was adopted from a Russian orphanage when he was 19 months old. Her second son, Ethan, joined their family from foster care at age 7. In this 12-part series, Claire shares the “fast and furious learning” she and her family experienced when they adopted an older child. This series ran from 2013 to 2016.
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.
Growing up in foster care, I had great difficulties trusting others because it seemed that everyone was leaving me and often times fear and ignorance prevent trust.
The growing body of knowledge about interventions and supports that promote success for people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) often overlooks sensory sensitivities, which can compound their other challenges. While most of us can unconsciously screen out the slight smell of a cleaning product or the faint hum of a computer, many people with FASD cannot. In this article, David Gerry answers some of your questions.
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.
Sticks and stones
Remember that rhyme you learned as a child? “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Obviously words can’t cause physical harm, but I’ve learned they definitely can cause emotional pain, the kind you hold in your heart and wear on your sleeve. The kind that leaves scars that never really go away.
Lose your expectations
When Ethan came into our family, he was very angry. My family and friends wondered what he had to be angry about. All they could see was that he was part of a loving family. They thought he should be grateful. It was interesting to me that these usually empathetic folks couldn’t immediately see the loss suffered by this child. Before I could understand what was going on, I had to abandon my expectations of them--and of Ethan.
Adoption is only the beginning
In the spring of 2013, my husband and I completed our first adoption--a process that we found gruelling, confusing, and bewildering. We didn’t know much about the ins and outs of adoption through foster care when we asked if we could adopt our precious foster daughter, who had been with us since birth. We didn’t even know what “CCO” (continuing custody order) meant. All we knew was that we loved her and wanted her to be part of our family forever. When the adoption went through, we were over the moon, but it was only the beginning.
Allison Pooley is the Program Director at the Asante Centre. She assists individuals, family members, and service providers in understanding the diagnostic process as well as the implications for providing integrated post-assessment supports and services. Allison has been involved in FASD prevention and intervention efforts for numerous years both in northern B.C. and the Lower Mainland, including work in early childhood education, the public school system, the criminal justice system, and adult support settings.
- Go on a date with your partner/friend.
- Can your kids go for a sleepover?