Behavioural

Ask the expert: Identity matters (part two)

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Lisa Gunderson is a Registered Clinical Counsellor who focuses on multicultural issues. She is an award winning educator and inclusivity consultant for educational and  organizational institutions. During her PhD in clinical psychology, she specialized in issues for minoritized youth, including ethnic identity. We asked Dr Gunderson your questions about identity.

I am raising an adopted child of a different race in a community that is not very racially diverse. How do I help my child to be confident and form a strong racial identity?

Extreme parenting: Taking charge with love

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

My kids matter, but I’m in charge

I want my kids to know that what they like and what they think matters to me. My predisposition is to say yes to all possibilities. I only say “no” after some consideration. However, my kids were starting to get the impression that it was OK to disrespect the decisions I made and the boundaries I set for them.

Practical help for struggling families

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Last week I got an email from a woman whose friend’s family is struggling after their recent adoption.

Her heartfelt note asked what she could do to help this family. The line that grabbed me was, “The mom looks sad and frustrated all of the time.” Most likely, the entire family is fueled by fear and sadness.

She closed her email with, “What can I do to help? What can our church family do to help?”

Cooling the fire

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

In less than a second, Google can produce 12,900,000 results for the phrase “anger and adoption.”

This confirms my hunch that for many adoptees the pain of relinquishment is not erased when adoption papers are signed. Without the proper tools, unexpressed grief and loss may burst forth as anger. Expressed outwardly, it causes pain for others; expressed inwardly, it can manifest as illness or self-harm. When channeled effectively, however, it is an incredible force of energy and a potent agent for change.

Foster parents can help change the stigma of mental illness

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

I’ve certainly benefitted from the care of some very supportive foster parents over the years since my placement in goverment care at the age of 15. My need for care was determined by the presence of serious mental illness in the family. My beautiful and brilliant mother was a professor of linguistics at the University of Victoria when she experienced the onset of schizophrenia. It certainly doesn’t discriminate. All of the degrees, merits and accomplishments did not matter in the slow decline of her beautiful mind.

Ask the expert: Identity matters

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Lisa Gunderson is a Registered Clinical Counsellor who focuses on multicultural issues. She is an award winning educator and inclusivity consultant for educational and  organizational institutions. During her PhD in clinical psychology, she specialized in issues for minoritized youth, including ethnic identity. We asked Dr Gunderson your questions about identity.

Extreme parenting: Below the surface

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

When my kids struggle or act out, my antennae are always up for what might be below the surface of an issue. All parents do this, right? But wow, do adoptive parents ever have to bring their whole brain to it, using use their  x-ray vision to see right down to the bone.

Here are two stories that illustrate the “below the surface” concept that amazes some of my friends who have little experience with adoption.

Therapeutic parenting and other survival skills

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

What is parent coaching?

Parent coaching is a process wherein parents or caregivers can learn, make changes, and get resources and support within a non-judgmental, safe, and professional relationship. Parent coaching can be helpful for a family who wishes for a more peaceful home with clearer communication, who are struggling with a major change, who feel overwhelmed, frustrated, helpless, or who are learning how to parent children with a variety of diagnoses.

An adoptee's advice

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Back in the early 1970’s, there wasn’t much support for adoptive parents. My adopted brother and I were raised just like my sister, my parent’s only biological child.

It didn’t matter that we all had different birth parents. We were three peas in a single pod. That was the story, and I  believed it, because I believed in my mother. She did the best she could with the resources that were available to her. I didn’t think I was different because I was adopted. Yet, my mom was sometimes confused by my behaviour  and I was confused by her reactions.

Extreme parenting: Every little thing matters

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Over the past 18 months, I have been given the gift of time with my family. In that time, I have become  increasingly conscious of the impact I have on the lives of the people around me.

We’ve been doing lots of talking lately about how everything matters–everything leaves an impression.

If we show up with empathy and kindness, it matters. If we show up with judgment and harsh words, it matters. If we don’t bring our attention to something, it matters. If you bring too much attention to something, it matters. If you eat a chocolate bar in your closet, it matters.

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