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Family matters: Telling about birth siblings

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

A few months ago, we told our 6-year-old son that he has two older birth siblings who live with his birthmom. He doesn’t want to see photos of his siblings, or talk about it. How can we help?

At this age, kids are just beginning to understand the idea of adoption and where babies come from. They are also beginning to visualize their birth families, crave more details, and ask more concrete questions. Sometimes, we hold on to details we don’t think our kids are ready for. When critical information is omitted, it can feel like a betrayal to the child.

Race: Social fact, biological fiction

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Andrew Martindale, an adoptive parent, and assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, explains that the concept of race is man-made and, though it holds enormous power, has no biological basis.

The history of race relations makes transracial adoptions deeply personal, and, at times, very public statements of reconciliation. What do we say to our children, ourselves and others about the nature and significance of racial difference within our families?

Return to Vietnam touches all family

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Last December, David Kuefler took his family back to Vietnam where his daughter was born. Here he shares why the trip was so important.

David, his husband Peter, their daughter Chloë, son Aidan, and Chloë’s godmothers, Corinne and Amanda, joined for the trip to Vietnam, where Chloë was adopted from when she was eight months old.

Give your child school intelligence

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Dr Richard Lavoie, renowned expert on learning disabilities, recalls numerous occasions when parents have cried in despair in his office. These are not tears about their child’s school work—they are about how he or she is managing with the social side of school.

Lavoie gives two examples of social skills that most of us take for granted but that many learning disabled children find difficult.

How children develop racial identity

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

In his landmark book “Shades of Black”, William Cross describes the following stages in the development of Black identity, stages believed to be similar for most Asians, Latinos and Aboriginals living in white-dominated society. There is no particular age range attached to each stage, and no expectation that all individuals will move through all stages, though the process typically spans the period from pre-adolescence to middle adulthood. Building racial identity is an on-going process that continues over each person’s life span.

Internet connections: Finding Cheng Er Mei

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

For decades, once internationally adopted children left their home country the chances of them reconnecting with family and other people connected to their early days was small. Now, thanks to the speed and global reach of the internet, those reconnections may be far easier to find and maintain.

March 3, 2003—the day our two year wait ended and our daughter, Le Xiao Meng, was placed in our arms. We were overwhelmed with joy. 

How one adoptive family handles racism

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Loving our children has been easy. As transracial adoptive parents, however, it has been much more difficult to develop strategies for dealing with individual and institutional racism.

In our experience, the best lessons we can offer are those that teach our children to externalize racism and assure them we will always be there for them.

Mom, Mexico, and me

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

An adult adoptee, Chantal De Brouwer, explains what keeping a connection with her birth country and culture has meant to her.

When I was about three days old, I was left on a transit bus in Mexico City. No one knows how long I’d been there, but the driver brought me to the hospital in the middle of the night. I weighed three pounds.

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