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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 Ph.D. 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?

Finding the connection

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

For one family, connecting their adoptive children with their Indigenous origins has been full of change and full of hope.

As adoptive parents who began our journey with our application to adopt almost 25 years ago, we’ve seen some changes along the way. One of those changes has been regarding the adoption of children of First Nations ancestry into non-First Nations homes.

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 Ph.D. in clinical psychology, she specialized in issues for minoritized youth, including ethnic identity. We asked Dr. Gunderson your questions about identity.

Everyone has a story: Meet the Calhouns

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Like many couples, John Calhoun and Carly Bates found their way to adoption after experiencing infertility.

It wasn’t an out-of-left-field choice for them, though. Carly says she told John on their first date that she wanted to adopt. It just took them a few years to get there. They knew they wanted to experience what it was like to  parent a newborn, so they chose to pursue local infant adoption through an agency. Just four months after  completing the application process, they were chosen by the expectant parents of a baby boy.

Five days in Xi'an

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Our son, River, was three weeks old when he was taken from the Xi’an Social Welfare Institute (SWI) in China and given a new start at the Starfish Foster Home.

Starfish cared for Xi’an’s most sick and vulnerable children, and was started in 2005 by Amanda de Lange, a native  of South Africa. River was there until we came to adopt him on June 20, 2011; although, for the most part, he lived  at night with foster parents, Zhou and BaoRong Zhang, and their daughter Christy.

The upside of openness

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

At the beginning of our adoption, emotions were high, birth family visits were frequent, and roles were unclear. Well-meaning friends and family members suggested that it might just be “a whole lot easier if our adoption was closed.” We could bond with our baby without interference, and the birth parents could “get on with their lives.”

Discussing Aboriginal media stories with your family

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

In recent months, inspired in large part by the grassroots Idle No More movement and Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat’s hunger strike, the media has overflowed with stories about Aboriginal people and issues relevant to them. Bill C-45, the Northern Gateway Pipeline, and the difficult living conditions in many Aboriginal communities are just some of the big issues in the news right now. Adoptive families of children with First Nations, Métis, or Inuit heritage may be wondering how to talk about these issues in an accessible way.

Openness in international adoptions

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Openness in international adoptions is just as critical for emotional and psychological health as it is for domestic adoptions.

What does an international open adoption look like? Certainly openness in adoption is different when an adoptive family is faced with barriers of language, culture and distance. I’ve spoken with adoptive parents who express relief when their international adoption is complete. The assumption is that given the physical and cultural distance that there is no  expectation for openness with birth family or home country.

I am not a negative statistic

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Despite being in 10 different foster homes in five years, how did I manage to not let instability take over my life?

The stereotype of foster children is that they will age out of care and enter a life filled with poverty, unstable relationships, and overall instability. I did not - well poverty maybe - but what student who supports herself doesn’t carry the label “starving student?”

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