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Open adoption: The shifting relationship

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

The reality of open adoption is a delicate balance of space and privacy, family, and individual.

The day we met Theo’s birth mother was a sparkling, blossom-infused May day. Mark and I were carefully attired in a vain attempt to look calm, thoughtful, responsible, yet fun: white shirt, cropped jeans, yellow shoes, a stripy scarf for me, and Mark in his crisp shirt and pressed shorts. In reality, we were sitting in the agency boardroom speechless and scared.

The proposal process explained

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Cathy Gilbert has been through the MCFD proposal process dozens of times (she’s adopted 11 children). Here, she shares what she’s learned.

Accepting a proposal is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make—it needs to an informed one.

Once parents, or a social worker have seen a potential child and parent match, information is given to the prospective parents in order for them to decide whether to move ahead. At this stage, basic, non-identifying information is given which may include:

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.

Family matters: Race and beauty

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

I am the mom of a 13-year-old girl adopted from the US. She is African-American, we are Caucasian. Some of her friends (it’s a predominantly “white” school) are attracting the interest of boys. My daughter says nobody seems interested in her, and she thinks it’s because of her colour. How do we respond to this in a way that helps?

Surely you will want her to feel valuable, attractive, and wanted. It may be more difficult for your daughter as peer-relationships, womanhood, racial identity, and self-esteem are likely involved in this for her.

Parenting special needs kids

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Most parents shy away from adopting children with special needs. Here we meet parents who actually want to.

When I interviewed Carrie Hohnstein, mom of 11 children, I probed for quotes that might offer hints of the constant drama and stress that I assumed was an inevitable feature of her life.

There were slim pickings. Carrie just isn’t a dramatic person. She’s calm, thoughtful, and unflappable—qualities which are probably central to her success as a parent in a large family.

Mom says, "Go the distance in adoption"

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Cathy Gilbert, mom of fifteeen kids, four by birth, eleven by adoption, compares adopting a challenging child with running an Ice Marathon—the preparation and the race may test your limits but, like completing a marathon, the rewards come later.

My son, grandson, and daughter-in-law were here for dinner today. This is the son who was adopted at 12 and whose profile description most people would run a mile from.

FASD support group - a parenting lifeline

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

"Are we scaring you?" the facilitator asked me in a very concerned voice.

"Not at all," I lied.

My husband and I had recently brought home a sibling group of two, both of whom had been prentally exposed to alcohol and drugs. Despite all the reading and education we had done in advance, nothing prepared me for the reality of an FASD support group meeting.

Many of the parents were over 50 and most had adopted their kids when very little was known about FASD; some were parenting grandchildren who had been diagnosed with FASD.

Recognizing and coping with post-adoption depression

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Like new biological parents, some adoptive parents can become blue or even experience some depression once a baby or child comes home. This can occur for several reasons. It's nothing to be ashamed about, but you do need to recognize it and get some help.

I remember walking down the streets of East Vancouver pushing my newborn baby’s stroller and sobbing. I was exhausted from lack of sleep, trying to care for a baby—something I knew precious little about—and from loneliness. I felt that I had thrown away my season ticket to freedom, and I longed to go back to my previous life.

Being a multiracial forever family of four

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Once we decided that we’d create our family through adoption, we were overwhelmed with the many avenues we could pursue. It was after seeing a Christmas picture of the ACAN group, that we finally decided to adopt internationally, with the Open Door Agency in Georgia. The journey that led us to become a multiracial family had begun.

Once the process was underway, we read books to familiarize ourselves with the issues of white parents raising children of African heritage.

Advice on overcoming ADHD challenges

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

There are a variety of techniques you can employ  to help your child and your family cope with attention deficit disorder(ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD). Medication is helpful in many cases, but there are techniques that can help your child learn how to better manage his behaviour.

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