Thanksgiving centers on gratitude; that is the very reason for its existence. As adoptive parents we must be mindful of the hot button issue that often connects gratitude and adoption. Adoptees frequently hear that they “should” feel “lucky” that they were adopted and be grateful to their parents. This attitude/expectation ignores and trivializes the losses that co-exist with the benefits of adoption. Avoid commingling the desire to encourage gratitude with the burden of this misguided cultural expectation.
Yes, help them tally their blessings and observe the genuine spirit of Thanksgiving. As a family, join together to give thanks and share the holiday. Joyfully celebrate the genuine treasures of our lives: the people we love and cherish, good health, and commitment to one another. Remember those present and those at a distance. Make space for all the important relationships in our families' lives, birth and adoptive. We are all in this together! We are family. For a lifetime.
Remember too, that November is National Adoption Month and the purpose of that observance is to highlight the need for permanent families for kids in foster care. For too many children in foster care family remains a dream. Hold tight to those you love. Teach them good values, nurture their talents, and teach them well.
Consider sharing these Thanksgiving-themed books. They offer good opportunities for conversations about important themes like gratitude, history, truth-telling and the Promise that is America. For children adopted internationally, the book "How Many Days to America" gently describes some of the forces that drive people to choose to leave their country and emigrate to the United States. Read the complete reviews on Writing to Connect.
Remember that GIFT's newest free resource is now available on demand via iTunes. We air a weekly fifteen-minute podcast called "Essentials for Adopted-attuned Parenting.*" Listen to learn practical tips for building and strengthening your family. Podcasts will air for approximately 15 minutes. (They’ll be concise and to the point so you can easily squeeze it into your busy schedule!) The coaching and discussions will focus on real situations confronting adoptive families. Available on i-Tunes.
How often have you yearned for support from someone who understands adoptive family life who doesn’t judge you or your child for the struggles that you face? Wait no longer. Tune in and discover how it might help you and your family. Hear how other families handled similar situations. Experience a sense of judgment-free community, possibility, and hope. Click on this link and begin. How might this resource benefit your family?
"May your blessings be many, your sorrows be few. May the love in your hearts always be true."
--an Irish blessing
Relax, the image above is not a math equation haunting your stressed brain. The graphic announces a vital change in how GIFT Family Services discusses Adoption-attunement. Readers of this blog know that the foundation of our adoption coaching rests firmly on encouraging parents' commitment to achieving a high #AQ. We conceived of AQ to parallel the other widely recognized “intelligences” and joined “AQ” to IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotional Intelligence.) We’ve discussed the fundamentals of adoption attunement many times. To recap, #AQ* means parents strive to tune into their children's needs and to understand, acknowledge and handle their own “stuff” as well so that it lessens the frequency with which parents get triggered.
We believe our work with families provides a vital tool for helping families thrive as an adoptive family. To help people find our writings, we usually add a hashtag. This gathers all writings on AQ under a single, searchable umbrella even material written by individuals other than those who are part of GIFT. We worked diligently to help the #AQ* hashtag achieve wide recognition in the world of adoption. So why would we shift our hashtag after working so hard to establish a following? We discovered that the hashtag we had been using is also shared by the vile and dangerous group Al Qaida and its supporters. From now on, we will designate Adoption-attuned Intelligence as #AAQ. Please help us spread this replacement tag so we can continue to educate families and professionals on this vital concept that serves positive support for adoptive families.
Please help us build awareness of this hashtag change--and the important messages it advocates. Most of us are familiar with the concept of the adoption triad which refers to the interconnectedness of birth parents, adoptee and adoptive parents. We are permanently and inextricably connected. Many graphics have been created to depict this relationship. Usually it includes a triangle and a heart. GIFT uses the graphic included here.
Beyond the triad relationship we now recognize that adoption joins an even wider group of individuals: extended birth and adoptive families, etc. ; these relationships are collectively described as the adoption constellation. We are pleased to introduce our graphic representation of this relationship.
We would appreciate the efforts of each person of the constellation to spread the word about this new hashtag and separate us from the former one. Thanks for helping us to continue to provide support before, during and after adoption.
Adoption-sensitive parenting techniques
Sound adoption language
Knowledge of the attachment process
Consideration of grief and loss issues
Respect for birth parents
Modeling healthy boundaries
Educating family, friends and teachers on adoption
Remembering that a child’s story belongs to him
Recognizing that adoption is a family experience
Encouraging playfulness and good humor as a family value
Integrating a child’s birth heritage
from ABC, Adoption & Me: A Multicultural Picture Book for Adoptive Families
—by Gayle H. Swift with Casey A. Swift