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Everyone has a story: Meet the Yrjana family

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Colleen and her husband of 17 years, Jussi, live on Vancouver Island. Colleen, a former foster parent for over 20 years, also has three grown children and three grandkids. Her oldest daughter was a neighborhood kid that came for the weekend and stayed for 28 years, according to Colleen. “We have no legal paperwork, but she’s not any less ours,” she adds.

An open letter to people regarding touching chocolate hair

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Dear People Who Have, or May, Come Into Contact with My Daughter,

Thank you so much for your interest in my daughter’s hair. Yes, it is beautiful, and we both appreciate your compliments. Yes, she’s very patient and has no problem sitting to have her hair done. She’s been getting her hair done since she was very small and knows of nothing else; her hair regime is a fact of life, and she doesn’t see it as the burden that you do. Nor do I.

Ask the Expert: Adoptees on identity

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

A new report reminds us of the challenges some adoptees have in forming their identity, and what could make it easier.

A major new study finds adoption has a profound and enduring impact on the identity of adoptees. Based on input from the experts on the subject - adults who were adopted as children, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute released a major study on identity formation for adopted persons: Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption (2009).

Family matters: Stereotypes

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

I am the white parent of a 12-year-old boy who is African-Canadian. How do I support him in dealing with stereotypes about Black men and youth?

The best way to deal with stereotypes is to understand them, provide counter-examples, talk about it openly, understand that not everything that may look or sound like a stereotype, actually is one, and to become a social activist.

Explaining slavery to kids

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

I am the Caucasian mother of a six-year-old African-American child. I am worried about explaining slavery to my daughter. Do you have any advice?

Be the first person to explain slavery to her—before the subject is covered at school and before her classmates bring the topic up. Use books to help tell the story. Before you tackle the topic, talk about the many achievements and contributions to the world by African-Americans (or African-Canadians). Then pick a time to talk about slavery when she isn’t tired or distracted. Cuddle up while you talk.

Finding First Nations roots

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

As adoptive parents who began our journey with our application to adopt almost 25 years ago, we’ve seen some changes along the way. One of those changes has been regarding the adoption of children of First Nations ancestry into non- First Nations homes.

Our first adoption was a child of First Nations ancestry, and we were given very little information about his birth mother’s community, or even about how to support his culture. Fast forward a few years and his half brother joined us.

Hair and skin care for kids: A guide for parents of black and bi-racial children

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

When Kelly Martin brought home her 21-month-old daughter, Kendall, there were all the common new-parent concerns: “How will I ever cut such tiny nails?” laughs Kelly. But Kendall is Haitian, and caring for black skin and hair was to be an additional learning experience for Kelly. Undaunted, she says, “I knew it was something I would have to learn.”

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