Respite is a vital support for many adoptive families, but it can be a challenge to access funding and to find trustworthy and reliable caregivers. In this article, an adoptive mom of many explains how to make respite a basic part of your family lifestyle rather than a last resort.
“I can’t deal with this right now”
My beautiful daughter’s hair was plastered to her head, soaked in sweat. Her clothes were covered in dirt from her tantrum, which almost always has her kicking and screaming on the floor, or the ground, or wherever.
For more than 25 years, Catherine has worked in and with the adoption community as a therapist, an adoptee, and an adoptive mom, always searching for a truly effective approach to adoption therapy. In this article, she explains an approach that she's found to be highly effective for issues related to adoption trauma.
Four long-time staff members—Karen Madeiros, Dianna Mortensen, Anne Melcombe, and Jen Hillman—reflect on their years at AFABC.
Nicole Gfeller is a counsellor, an art therapist, and an adoptee. For as long as she can remember, she struggled with an overactive nervous system. She’s not alone: regulating the nervous system is a major challenge for many adoptees. In this article, she helps adoptees understand this challenge so they can develop healthy, fulfilling, and happy lives.
Catherine is the co-founder of the non-profit organization We Are Adopted/Adoptees Association. In this article she draws on her personal experience as an adoptee and an adoptive mother as well as her professional experience as a registered clinical counsellor to explain why shame and adoption are so intertwined.
Carey Elliot* has a close relationship with her four adult children, a long and happy marriage, and a successful career. She also has two grandchildren: a two-year-old boy, and a six-year-old girl. The little girl was placed for adoption at birth.
When Carey's daughter Danika became pregnant at 25, she told her mom that she was considering an adoption plan for her baby. Though other members of the family found this idea hard to accept, Carey was supportive: the birth father was not involved, and Danika very much wanted her child to have siblings and a two-parent family.
- Go on a date with your partner/friend.
- Can your kids go for a sleepover?
If you see any of these signs in your relationship before you adopt a child, work through the problems together or get a good counsellor.
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.