As we celebrate AFABC’s 40th anniversary, we’re reflecting on the past but also looking ahead to the future. This article explores one scientific advancement that’s already changing the world of adoption: DNA tests.
When my children were small, I lived on a ranch surrounded by woods and wildlife. Other than the chickens and the kids, I had no one to talk to for days on end. I read everything I could find about raising adopted children but in those days there wasn’t much. I had to create my own education. I researched and wrote about teens who were adopted, and recently I wrote a book about modern adoptive parenting. Today there are many more books and education options for adoptive parents.
Online adoption education is the way of the future. Here’s how to get the most out of it.
Last year, my husband and I explored the possibility of adopting a teenager. It was something we’d been discussing for years, and we thought we were finally ready to move forward. AFABC’s Adopting Teens and Tweens course was the obvious next step. My husband took it in person several years ago, when our life was much less demanding. Now, with two young daughters and both parents working, our family schedule simply couldn’t accommodate an in-person course.
All over the world, people are using the Internet to seek out information about their roots. It’s now the norm for adoptees and birthparents to use social media to search for missing pieces of their biological puzzle without any need for detectives, red tape, agencies, or intermediaries.
Open domestic adoptions, where the birth family and adoptive family get together regularly for visits with the child, are the norm in British Columbia. In between visits they stay in touch through emails, phone calls, and text messages. If this is what an open adoption looks like, how can openness be possible in an international adoption where time zones and geography create barriers and birth parents may be unknown?
In this instalment of Q&A, we talk with Western University (Ontario) researcher Ben Laufer about the latest science on FASD and how it influences our genetics.
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?
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.
As I prepared to adopt, I knew there was a “right” answer when it came to openness. Openness was good, and I needed to come across like I believed it. The truth was, openness scared me silly.
What I really hoped was that any child we adopted would have an unfortunate, yet complete, lack of background information, and that openness was something that I could favour without actually experiencing.
Neurofeedback is a safe and non-invasive alternative treatment for issues such as trauma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, and anxiety. Here Brenda McCreight, adoptive parent, therapist, and author, describes how it works.
Our understanding of the way the brain develops and functions has grown phenomenally in the last five years. The capacity of the brain to change in function and in structure as it adapts to new information has proven to be astounding.