For years, I tried to avoid even considering adoption. The idea of being put with people I didn’t know anything about and hadn’t even seen before was a little scary. I’d mostly lived with my great-grandma my whole life. That felt like home to me, and I didn’t want to leave. Unfortunately, my grandma’s age and health problems were getting bad and she wasn’t able to continue taking care of me. I had nowhere to turn. Adoption became the best option for me. Deciding on adoption was very scary, and I felt like I was risking my future.
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.
My first encounter with the idea of children in care who needed families was during a church service as a little girl.
The speaker shared unsettling statistics about kids who age out of care and end up incarcerated, homeless, or worse; kids who are separated from their siblings; and young adults who have no place to spend the holidays or summer vacation. I suppose it all resonated with me because I came from a family of five siblings, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. At that church service I made up my mind that I wanted to adopt older kids one day.
The importance of cultural connections
In a previous article, I wrote about the Exceptions Committee in the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). The article was prompted by a list of questions that the Adoptive Families Association of BC had gathered from their membership. There were additional questions related to Aboriginal adoption in BC that I will endeavor to answer in this follow-up article.
Adoption adds complexity to the life of adopted teens, even those adopted as newborns.
All teens struggle with the question, "Who am I?" Finding the answer usually involves figuring out how they are similar to, and different from their parents--a task that can be particularly complicated for children who have both birth and adoptive parents. Unknown or missing information, or having a different ethnicity from parents, can make piecing an identity puzzle together especially difficult for adoptees.
Adoptive parent and therapist, Brenda McCreight, wrote this letter for parents to give to teachers. Download a longer version, which includes website recommendations for teachers, at www.adoptioncounselor.com.
Learning disabilities expert Dr Richard Lavoie knows the secrets of school. Here's a summary of some of his ideas.
Lavoie identifies four groups of kids at school:
Growing up you see your parents' "mistakes" in raising you, and you swear never to be like them. Then you become a parent.
Suddenly you no longer see your parents as having made mistakes; rather, they were surviving in the forever challenging world of parenthood.
Your adoption-related questions answered
My father constantly makes negative remarks about black people in front of my African-American son. It really upsets me, but I hate confrontations. What should I do?
There are a lot of birthdays around here, not to mention the anniversaries of when our kids arrived in our home to stay. This day last summer was the adoption placement date for our youngest son. I remember it well. I often tell adoptive parents (all parents, actually) to keep a journal. It's a great way to keep track of memories, and good for all sorts of recrod-keeping of familiy activities, too. And, in the case of children who are adopted as older children, it can really remind you of where you've come from.