Walking in Our Children’s Shoes.hunger to knowDuring the previous two weeks, we focused on building relationships by intentionally scheduling conversations with the sole purpose of speaking the deep feelings in our hearts. Instead of relying on the assumption that our families “know” how we feel about them, we committed to speaking those feelings aloud.
This week let’s take a different angle on relationship building. We challenge you to stroll down Adoption Lane with one twist: Answer 7 “trigger” questions from "curious" (rude) people as if YOU were an adoptee. Consider only one question per day. Sit with the question; Do not give an autoresponse reply. Really think about it throughout the day. Determine how fully you can answer each one. What is known/unknown? What is knowable/unknowable?
Answer “trigger” questions as if YOU were an adoptee. Consider only one question per day. Sit with the question; Do not give an autoresponse reply. Really think about it throughout the day. Determine how fully you can answer each one. What is known/unknown? What is knowable/unknowable?
[ctt template="7" link="DsCuL" via="yes" ]Answer 7 “trigger” questions as if YOU were an adoptee. Ponder them throughout the day. How fully can you answer each one? What is known/unknown? What is knowable/unknowable? #AdoptionAttunement #BothAnd [/ctt]
What kind of parental support would you want? What might you be tempted to conceal from your folks? Determine what else would you need to now. What else would you want to know? What else would you fear to know? What would you want your parents to know about your attempt to reply to the “trigger” questions?
What kind of parental support would you want? What might you be tempted to conceal from your folks? What would you want your parents to know about your attempt to reply to the “trigger” questions? What would tempt you to hide your struggle?
What will you do with the insight you gain through this exercise? What actions will you take? What conversations will you initiate? How did this exercise deepen your understanding of your child's need for information and empathy?
Daily Question
Day One: A friend tells you her mom has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her grandmother died of breast cancer at age fifty. You’re sixteen and were adopted after being abandoned as a newborn. What is your response to her? Within yourself? How does it make you feel about yourself?
Day Two: A new teammate asked if you have any brothers and sisters. In your adoptive family, you are an only child.
Day Three A “friend” comments that you look enough like your boyfriend that you could be brother and sister. How do you reply? How does it make you feel?
Day Four: You were adopted internationally. During a discussion about immigration policy in your Civics, someone asks, “What are you?”
Day Five: An acquaintance asks how you would know if you might be dating a relative.
Day Six:  Your Health class teacher assigned your class their turn with the “Robot Baby.” (A mechanical doll that simulates the behavior of an infant. Students are graded on the quality of parental care they deliver over an entire weekend.)  A classmate asks what you know about your birth parents and why they didn't want you.
Day Seven:  Your adoptive parents and your brothers (their biological children) are all exceptionally tall. You barely reach five feet. You are their only daughter. You overhear someone “joke” to your parents about how they had to “resort” to adoption to get a girl. How do you feel? What do you say?

Thanksgiving, Gratitude & the Adoption Connection #RoomAtTheTableForAll

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.

thanksgiving-collageConsider 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.

podcast-graphic-templateRemember 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?

Adoption Attunement.lighting the wayHappy Thanksgiving from all of the coaches at GIFT Family ServicesWe feel privileged to be your partner Growing Intentional Families Together.

"May your blessings be many, your sorrows be few. May the love in your hearts always be true."

--an Irish blessing


AQ green orange

Green arrowAAQ Hashtag




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.

AQ triadPlease 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.



AQ design variationBeyond 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-attunement Quotient) includes:

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

GIFT, Growing Intentional Families Together, adoption