Adoptive parent and therapist, Brenda McCreight, wrote this letter for parents to give to teachers. Download a longer version, which includes website recommendations for teachers, at www.adoptioncounselor.com.
Learning disabilities expert Dr Richard Lavoie knows the secrets of school. Here's a summary of some of his ideas.
Lavoie identifies four groups of kids at school:
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.
I have a right to feel confused.
Who wouldn’t? After all, I have two sets of parents, one of which was shrouded in mystery.
I have a right to fear abandonment and rejection.
After all I was abandoned by the one I was most intimate with.
I have the right to acknowledge pain.
After all, I lost my closest relative at the youngest age possible.
I have the right to grieve.
After all, everyone else in society acknowledges strong emotions.
I have a right to express my emotions.
After all, they have been shut down since adoption day.
Seven years old, but still just a baby
One of my father’s most ridiculous parenting lines was “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.” As if children are just crying for no reason. As if their spontaneous emotional eruptions need to be stopped immediately for their own good.
What is occupational therapy and what qualifications do OTs need?
Occupational Therapy (OT) is the art and science of enabling individuals to participate in meaningful activities or occupations by using evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning. Occupations vary: a child’s occupation may include playing on the playground, a young adult’s occupation may include attending school or working, a mother’s occupation may include looking after the household and her children, and a retiree’s occupation may be that of a golfer or grandparent.
A strengths-based approach
Everyone begins a new adoptive placement with high hopes that a “forever” family has been created. Sadly, about 15% of adoptive families find their dreams shattered as they realize that despite everyone’s best intentions, the adoption isn’t going to work.
So far in this column I’ve talked quite a bit about my second son, Ethan. I’d like to give you a little bit more background information about him so you can better understand where I’m coming from. First of all, you should know that Ethan is very bright and has a great sense of humour. He has his own brand of wisdom, which lives just under the surface of his impulsive little boy exterior.
Ethan did a ton of work with counsellors and therapists prior to coming into our family. He has “feeling language” down to an art and truly tries to move and heal his troubled soul.
All parenting has its ups and downs, and parenting adopted children is no different. One thing that is different is that there are certain times that tend to be more difficult for adopted kids than their non-adopted peers.
Holidays rank high as one of these difficult times. Like birthdays, the holidays are a natural time to reflect on family and the past, and this is often true for adopted children. For obvious reasons, Mother's Day and Father's Day are extremely common times for adopted children to feel down or to have a lot of questions about their birth parents.
Early intervention for adoptive families
“I was going through a very difficult time at the beginning of my adoption,” says adoptive mother Carrie Crowley. “I was breaking down and was desperate for support. I was isolated and emotionally exhausted.”