In this series Marion Crook, author and adoptive mom, takes us on a journey through changes in adoption in BC. Part one explores local infant adoption, part two will look at international adoption, and part three will focus on adoption from foster care.
This article was originally published on the Adoption Council of Ontario’s blog for Bell Let’s Talk day (a social media campaign that encourages Canadians to talk openly about mental health). We were inspired by Kathy’s insight into the connection between early trauma and mental illness in adoptees, and by her ideas on how to help hurt kids heal.
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond is BC’s first Representative for Children and Youth. She was appointed in 2006, and was re-appointed for a second five-year term in 2011. A judge on leave from the Saskatchewan Provincial Court, she holds a doctorate of law from Harvard and has worked as a criminal law judge in youth and adult courts, with an emphasis on developing partnerships to better serve the needs of young people in the justice system. She lives in Victoria with her family. We asked Ms.
Interview with a youth services provider.
Who are you?
My name is Ki Speer.
What do you do?
I am a Youth and Development worker at Purpose Society. I provide one-on-one support with youth ages 13 to 18, as well as their parents. I provide counselling, basic needs, and life skills for kids living independently.
How long have you been doing this?
I have been doing this for seven years.
Adoption across the Rockies
At any given time last year, there were about 5,300 children and youth in permanent government care in Alberta. In the same year, 449 of these children found a loving and permanent home. Alberta children are almost always placed with Alberta families in order to keep them connected to extended family, culture, community, and resources.
Inspiration from Alberta
For 32 years, Alberta has profiled children in need of adoption on their weekly Wednesday’s Child TV program (see page 10 for more on adoption in Alberta). For 12 years, the province has also successfully profiled “harder to place” children on a public website. These campaigns regularly generate new applications from potential parents who go on to be matched with waiting children. In fact, 70% of children profiled this way are matched with parents. What’s the secret to this success?
I attended the North American Council on Adoptable Children Conference in Los Angles in July 2015 with the intention of checking facts for my new book on adoptive parenting, discovering new ideas, and meeting wonderful people. I accomplished all three goals and found the whole experience exhilarating. There is amazing energy when more than 900 dedicated people meet and exchange ideas. The conference was full of inspiring sessions.
Just over 650 people took part in BC's first adoption satisfaction survey. TWI Surveys, a Canada-wide, independent research and strategy development company, designed and hosted the survey which was conducted in September 2009.
Overall, the results were positive, but improvements can be made.
Because of the large number of responses to our survey, the results are extremely reliable. As well as areas for improvement, there is lots of good news.
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.
New York adoption agency says, "Slow down!" Speed is the enemy of successful adoptions.
According to Maris Blechner, in making a successful adoption placement, the age, race, or health of a child makes little difference. Neither do the marital and financial status, the location, or the parenting experience of the prospective parents. What matters most is the parent’s ability to claim a child, and a long, careful, transition.