Claire’s 10-year-old son, Adam, was adopted from a Russian orphanage when he was 19 months old. Her second son, Ethan, joined their family from foster care at age 7. In this 12-part series, Claire shares the “fast and furious learning” she and her family experienced when they adopted an older child. This series ran from 2013 to 2016.
The growing body of knowledge about interventions and supports that promote success for people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) often overlooks sensory sensitivities, which can compound their other challenges. While most of us can unconsciously screen out the slight smell of a cleaning product or the faint hum of a computer, many people with FASD cannot. In this article, David Gerry answers some of your questions.
Lose your expectations
When Ethan came into our family, he was very angry. My family and friends wondered what he had to be angry about. All they could see was that he was part of a loving family. They thought he should be grateful. It was interesting to me that these usually empathetic folks couldn’t immediately see the loss suffered by this child. Before I could understand what was going on, I had to abandon my expectations of them--and of Ethan.
Adoption is only the beginning
In the spring of 2013, my husband and I completed our first adoption--a process that we found gruelling, confusing, and bewildering. We didn’t know much about the ins and outs of adoption through foster care when we asked if we could adopt our precious foster daughter, who had been with us since birth. We didn’t even know what “CCO” (continuing custody order) meant. All we knew was that we loved her and wanted her to be part of our family forever. When the adoption went through, we were over the moon, but it was only the beginning.
Allison Pooley is the Program Director at the Asante Centre. She assists individuals, family members, and service providers in understanding the diagnostic process as well as the implications for providing integrated post-assessment supports and services. Allison has been involved in FASD prevention and intervention efforts for numerous years both in northern B.C. and the Lower Mainland, including work in early childhood education, the public school system, the criminal justice system, and adult support settings.
Brandan’s story – and mine
As the adoptive parent of 10 children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, I know how difficult it can be to access services and develop a support network for people with FASDs. I regularly give presentations about FASD to groups, using the story of my son Brandan’s life (with his full permission) to illustrate these difficulties. I’ll share a condensed version of his story in this article.
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:
What is occupational therapy and what qualifications do OTs need?
Occupational Therapy (OT) is the art and science of enabling individuals to participate in meaningful activities or occupations by using evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning. Occupations vary: a child’s occupation may include playing on the playground, a young adult’s occupation may include attending school or working, a mother’s occupation may include looking after the household and her children, and a retiree’s occupation may be that of a golfer or grandparent.
Are you thinking of adopting a sibling group? Before you decide, ask the following:
Embracing a different life
Nestled in the base of the Rocky Mountains, the small mining town of Sparwood is best known as the home of the Terex Titan, a hulking green hauler that once held the title of “World’s Largest Truck.” It’s also home to one very special adoptive family, and a community of people who embrace and support them.
Dominique and her husband, Corey, have been married for seven years. In 2008, after struggling with infertility, they started looking into adoption and discovered the profiles of waiting children on MCFD’s online Adoption Bulletin.