For almost twenty years, China has been the most popular source country for international adoptions by Canadian families. Since the peak year of 2005, however, adoption numbers have decreased while wait times have increased. The exception is China’s special needs (“waiting children”) program, which is now the largest source of international adoptions to Canadians. In this Q&A, we talk with two families who recently adopted through the waiting children program.
Advice from a counsellor on how to recognize and help wounded children and youth.
Trauma: adoption’s shadow
Many children and youth who are adopted have been exposed to highly stressful situations and traumatic events; however, the resulting special needs these children can experience aren’t always recognized or supported. It’s vital for caregivers and professionals to learn the signs and symptoms of trauma as they present in children and youth, and to know how to find and access age-appropriate trauma-informed care.
Meet the Imrie family: Jody, a special education teacher and foster-turned-adoptive mom who lives in Vancouver; her daughter, Kristina (6); and her son, Krillen (7).
How did you get started as a foster parent?
From the time I was a teenager, I always knew I wanted to adopt children. I just always felt that there were so many children in the world who needed a home, and I wanted to give one to some of them rather than bring more children into the world. I didn’t feel a need for my children to be biologically related to me.
I grew up in care from two years old until I turned 18. I don't remember much of my first foster home or much of my childhood. My mom abused me, and I ended up with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I was also diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
I do remember moving into my grandparents' house at the age of four. I lived there until I was 12. It was then that my disabilities began to show. I wasn't sure how to express myself or my feelings respectfully and maturely, and it was getting hard for my grandparents to take care of me.
In the eight of our series, we present the secret thoughts of an adoptive mom of three kids. After a couple of months having the children home, our mom finally admits she's overwhelmed and needs help.
No, I am not writing this from the psych ward. However, there are times when that is a definite possibility. Although things have improved since April, there is still such a long way to go.
I’m a mom of four children, all adopted at different ages and stages. My first child was born in the US in 1997 and adopted as a newborn. In 2006 I adopted three more children from Liberia in West Africa. They were 2, 4, and 13 years old (though the 13 year old wouldn’t actually join our family until he was nearly 19).
In 2006, Liberia was a country in turmoil, it was just a few years after the civil war had ended, the infant and child mortality rates were incredibly high, and the adoptions were being processed relatively quickly.
In the ninth of our series, we present the secret thoughts of an adoptive mom of three kids. This time, mom loses confidence that she can cope.
The past ten days have been an absolute nightmare. The foster parents came for a visit last weekend. We'd planned this a month ago, and we all through it would be good for Grant and Lynn to see Susan and Mike. We believed this would help cement the concept of foster parents always being part of their adoption story.
Joseph is now 11 years old. He was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa. In his first few years, he tragically lost his birth family and ended up in a refugee camp and then an orphanage. After a three-year search and a two-year adoption process, he came to Canada to join his new family in Coquitlam. It has been an incredible journey for this young boy.
In the tenth of our series, we present the secret thoughts of an adoptive mom of three kids. The behaviourist, Roz, who has come in to help the struggling family is teaching Mom how actions speak louder than words.
Roz has been observing the kids for a while now and although she still hasn't come up with a magical word to make it all better, I think we're making progress.
In the fifteen of our series, we present the--until now--secret thoughts of an adoptive mom of three kids. This time, our struggling mom has been given an assignment by a behaviourist, Roz, that has some hard truths.
Well, here's another of those heart-wrenchingly truthful journal assignments from Roz.