Grief and loss

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Helping children make sense of a painful birth history

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

1. Be proactive—use the "A" word from the moment your child comes home, even if he or she is pre-verbal. Seek opportunities to talk about adoption—movies, books, other families connected to adoption, and your child’s own adoption story at an age-appropriate level.

2. Connect the positive qualities in your child with their birth parents—even if you know nothing about them; for example, "I wonder if your birthmom/birthdad has your beautiful voice."

Finally a family

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

When I was younger I lived with my mom, my big sister, and big brother. I was the youngest. I had never met my birth father, so he wasn’t a part of the picture.

When I was four, I was put into foster care for the first time. My sister came with me to my first foster home, but then moved out shortly after. That was the last time we were in a foster home together. I have lived in five foster homes since then.

The first four times I went into care because my mom was using drugs, along with her boyfriend at the time.

Birth mothers find support and healing online

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Several studies have documented the persistent, negative effects birthmothers have experienced after placing a child for adoption. Grief may manifest itself in physiological changes, emotions of sorrow, distress or guilt, socially through family and other interpersonal relationships, and maladaptive coping strategies such as substance use and self harm.

Diary of an Intercountry Adoptive Mom #4

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

In the fourth of our series, we present the edited diary of Mary Ella, who is in Korea with her husband Wayne, only hours away from taking charge of their long-awaited daughter, Hee Young (Leelee).

Day #5, June 28, continued.

Mrs. Kang had asked us earlier when we wanted to take Hee Young, and we told her as soon as possible. Though, as much as I wanted her with us today, I felt it would be best to let her have one more night as a family with her foster parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ra.

Diary of an Intercountry Adoptive Mom #5

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

In the fifth, and last of our series, we present the edited diary of Mary Ella, who is in Korea with her husband Wayne, adjusting to finally having their little daughter in their charge.

Day 6, continued

I had asked Mrs. Kang if the children have a tough time adjusting. She told me it was true sometimes, but she thought that Hee Young would be okay and that if we had any problems we could call her day or night. I sensed she might be wrong on her assessment, having witnessed a bond so strong between this foster mother and child.

Finally on the way to forever

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Maya and John Benson adopted a sibling group almost three years ago. Despite careful preparation, and being experienced foster parents, the couple were soon devastated by the behaviours of their traumatized children—especially their oldest son. Being a forever family quickly seemed an impossible fantasy.

Some parents who have adopted older kids or sibling groups will understand what I'm going to say next; others will think I'm an awful parent.

Fostering connections makes adoption easier

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Although some people questioned her decision to keep her children connected to their loving foster parents, Tara Webber knew it was the right thing to do. After all, why end a relationship that had been so good? Don’t children need as many loving people in their lives as possible?

If I thought solely of the best interest of my girls, I had no reason to break the bond between their foster family and every reason to do what I could do to encourage that relationship.

Trust takes times for older adopted children

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Adoption therapist Brenda McCreight explains to an impatient father that it will take much longer than he expects for his 7-year-old daughter, adopted from an orphanage, to learn to trust her new parents.

Recently, an adoptive father asked me for suggestions on how he could develop a trust-based relationship with his 7-year-old daughter, adopted internationally from an orphanage two years previously.

The language of hurt kids

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Psychologists have given us a concept of non-verbal communication that makes an incredible amount of sense in the context of adoption—it is called inducement.

Those of us who live or work with adopted children need to understand that inducement is the language of the abandoned. Inducement is the most important conceptual tool we have to understand why children act the way they do.

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