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.
Incorporating cultural traditions in your new family
Adopting a child is a time to celebrate. But beyond the initial celebration of the arrival of your new child, how can you incorporate new traditions and celebrations into your life? If your child has another country or culture in their background, it is important to share the learning experience of exploring their culture with them, through their own eyes. These experiences provide adopted children with a stronger sense of social and cultural identity.
Heritage camps for adoptive families
“There’s lots of brown people here!” exclaimed a 5-year-old Ethiopian girl upon arrival at E Camp last summer, an Ethopian heritage and culture camp. And as the weekend came to a close and everyone was leaving for home, that same the little girl told me, “I wish I could stay here forever.”
Last spring my daughter, Bethany, was 15 years old and loving “all things Asian.” It seemed a good time to visit her birth family in China. Armed with a powerful appetite for dim sum, and a shopping list of Anime titles (Japanese animation) she hoped to find in Hong Kong, Bethany joined me on her first visit back in 10 years.
Harambee is an annual camp in Naramata, BC for families parenting children of African heritage, either through birth or adoption. Cultural activities and networking are highlights of the camp with a primary goal of creating long-term relationships between the families.
Harambee is a Swahili word meaning the celebration of unity. For my son and me it means so much more. Harambee is the one week of the year that we would gladly give up the other fifty-one for. It is magic. For us it is the one week of the year where we fit in, where we blend in with everyone else.
We are both his mothers, and to become the wonderful son he is today, we were both necessary in his life.
For many years there was no choice—either a birth mother was honoured and recognized on Mother’s Day, or not at all. In 1990, a group of Seattle birth mothers sought to correct that oversight and created a special day to honour those mothers who lost children to adoption. Birth Mother’s Day had a variety of purposes—to educate, honor and to help heal.
Last week, my husband and I hosted a dinner with our extended family to celebrate six different birthdays that occur during the months of January and February. At this dinner, as at all of them, my sister and I look around at the 15 people there (it’s sometimes 20 or more) and marvel at the relationships around us.
"Under the law as it currently stands, a donor is the biological parent of any child conceived using his sperm.
Amelia moved in with her adoptive family, changed her name, and changed schools this past November.
In the middle of Grade 9, Amelia found herself in a new school, with new friends, a new adoptive family and a new last name. Change is common for youth in care, so this was not the first time she found herself in a new school or home, but, of course, this time it was much different.
As long as there have been tattoos there have been symbolic homages to family.
Early Egyptian mummies indicate that tattooing was exclusively a female ritual intended to honour and protect women during pregnancy and childbirth. Tattoos have enjoyed a renaissance of late and, not surprisingly, the tattoo trend has given opportunity for ink-art representations of the complexity of family in the adoption community, too.