Kids-Need-Families-National-Adoption-MonthNext month our country will observe National Adoption Awareness Month which was created specifically to encourage the adoption of children languishing in foster care. How can we support this important mission? Ensure that any posts, messages, etc. that you share keep the focus on foster kids. Resist the need to celebrate any adoption-related stories that dilute this focus.  (Share those kinds of messages during the other eleven months of the year.)

While we acknowledge the need for a safe, loving, permanent family for these kids, it is tragic that these children cannot be reunited with their first families. These two realities coexist.

During the next two weeks, spend time thinking about your own family and how it has been shaped by adoption. Consider the ways in which you reassure your kids that adoption is a safe and open subject. Prepare them for the media blitz and mention that you wonder how they feel when they see and hear such messages.

Discuss how you feel when people mention adoption— especially when they speak in an uninformed our hurtful way— and share some of your strategies for coping with your own complex emotions. (Obviously, discuss in age-appropriate ways.) Possible threads to follow include:

Friends or family, etc., and how to educate them about adoption

Disparaging remarks about adoptees or birth parents

Conversations that lack an understanding of adoption complexity

Here’s what the Child Welfare Information Gateway reports:

 

Key Facts and Statistics

  1. There are over 123,000 children and youth waiting to be adopted who are at risk of aging out of foster
    care without permanent family connections. (AFCARS report)
  2. Approximately one in five children in the U.S. foster care system waiting to be adopted are teens.
  3. Only 5 percent of all children adopted in 2017 were 15 - 18 years old.
  4. The risk of homelessness and human trafficking is increased for teenagers in foster care.
  5. According to the most recent AFCARS report, of the 123,000 children and youth waiting to be adopted:
    • 52 percent are male
    • 48 percent are female
    • 22 percent are African American
    • 22 percent are Hispanic
    • 44 percent are white
    • The average age is eight years old
    • 11 percent are between 15 and 17 years old
    • Average time in foster care is 31 months

 

Learn how the coaches at GIFT Family Services can help you and your family navigate your adoption journey. We've faced our share of family challenges and crises, ridden the metaphorical rollercoaster, and our families have not only survived; they have thrived. We offer experience, neutrality, and understanding.

Adoption Attuned Parenting

 

Listen to our podcasts on Adoption-attuned Parenting.

 

 

 

 

Read Adoption-attuned book reviews 

by GIFT coach, Gayle H. Swift,

on her blog "Writing to Connect"

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performance-reviews-progress-reports-and-parenting-goals-familyMost of us face performance reviews on our jobs. While not a pleasant experience, the periodic assessments can help us determine important information: an employer or senior management’s satisfaction with our performance, an opportunity for salary adjustment based on performance, a determination of skills growth (or need for new skills,) a snapshot of our trajectory with the company. All of these are important indicators. We depend on the information they generate to make decisions about our employment future.

At school kids face similar assessments and reports to identify where they have achieved mastery or where they need remediation or enrichment. Since parents are an integral part of a child’s life, these reports are shared with us so that we too, can determine where we need to step up our involvement, back off and/or cheerlead their choices.

While work and school of core focal points or our lives and measuring progress in them an important information tool, another aspect of our lives equally in need of analysis and measurement is our role as parents. Parenting is, arguably, our most important responsibility. It is our legacy, our contribution to the future generations of our families.

Have you ever taken the time to assess your parenting goals and progress? How often do you and your partner discuss/define/review your parenting goals? If you have never actually hammered out specific goals, now is the best time to start. If it has been a while since you’ve taken stock, now is also the time to handle this review. Achieving success as parents is one of the most significant things we can accomplish in our lives. Think beyond the quick-response of “I just want my kids to be happy…” and consider what you believe are the skills, values, and behaviors that will ensure your child’s happiness, ability to support themselves, and impact the world positively.

Make your “Parental Job Review” with a neutral heart. You are looking for information not to ascribe blame or burden yourself (or your partner) with guilt. Assess your own performance and allow your spouse/partner to evaluate theirs. Share your thoughts about how you are doing. Ideally, you will be receptive to seeking and receiving their perspective on your strengths as well as your growth opportunities. Share this feedback with a genuine interest in improving your parenting and NOT in lobbing verbal hand grenades, back-handed criticisms, or sarcastic digs. Here are some questions to help you get started:

How clear is each of you about what you see as your strategy for accomplishing these goals?

How do they reflect your personal values?

How often do you measure progress so that you can make course corrections, identify what supports your vision versus what gets in your way or what is ineffective?

How have you tailored your approach for each child in your family?

How do you encourage your kids to think for themselves so that they do not fall prey to peer pressure and mob mentality?

When discussing Family Values, how do you explain then in terms your kids can understand and actions they can follow?

 

Learn how the coaches at GIFT Family Services can help you and your family navigate your adoption journey. We've faced our share of family challenges and crises, ridden the metaphorical rollercoaster, and our families have not only survived; they have thrived. We offer experience, neutrality, and understanding.

Adoption Attuned Parenting

 

Listen to our podcasts on Adoption-attuned Parenting.

 

 

 

 

Read Adoption-attuned book reviews 

by GIFT coach, Gayle H. Swift,

on her blog "Writing to Connect"

loving-our-real-child-and-releasing-the-child-of-our-fantasies-Asian-child

As Intentional Parents. we hold the belief that adoption is not an event but rather a journey. We accept that adoption operates as a permanent factor that shapes and influences who our children are, how they think, respond, grow, and experience the world. We understand adoption complexity and we strive to attune to our children’s needs, to be their safe harbor, to have empathy for their struggles and to encourage them to grow and develop into their best version of their genuine selves. Because we embrace a Both/And attitude we know our children are products of both their “biology and their biography”[1] and understand that these two factors intertwine within our children inseparably, permanently, and interdependently.

Genuine selves One might assume that  our commitment to our children’s “genuineness” once made, is thorough, unquestioned, and without hesitance (conscious or unconscious.) Honesty compels us to admit that sometimes our children’s inclinations and aptitudes do not fit smoothly in our family’s historic patterns. Their preferences may not align with our own personal preferences, traditions, and patterns. They may rub us the wrong way. Moreover, they may even conflict significantly. So how do we handle this push/pull of intention, commitment, historical patterns, aptitude, and biology?

First with intention. This level of commitment occurs only with deliberation and awareness; it does not happen when parenting on autopilot. It demands constant restating, recommitting, and re-attuning. Look for ways to help kids see, appreciate, and nurture their talents. Express respect and appreciation for their differences as well as for the ways in which their talents reflect generational family patterns. Be fully invested; remember that human beings, especially children thrive on and require our attention. It is the currency they value must. Spend it generously! Affirming them is as important a parental responsibility as disciplining. (Keep in mind that true discipline aims to teach not punish.) Attention, affirmation, and affection are essentials, not extras.

Acknowledge their efforts. Even their tiniest step deserves to be noticed and appreciated. Affirmation is also one of the best ways to reinforce and support growth. (This is true for ourselves, partners and co-workers. We all benefit from acknowledgment and appreciation. Sprinkle it authentically and liberally! Everyone will be glad.

Adoption is not always the reason While it is important to consider when and how adoption or adoption fall-out can influence our children’s behavior and choices, it is certainly not the only factor. Resist the inclination to over-identify adoption as the “culprit.” Sometimes it is; sometimes, it is not. Determine when adoption is the trigger point and when it is some other issue of difficulty. (This attuning is the first and most obvious step to finding viable solutions and the need for developing additional skill sets.)

Love, nurture, and accept the child you have not the fantasy you dreamed about before your child arrived. It is the foundation of Adoption-attunement.

Learn how the coaches at GIFT Family Services can help you and your family navigate your adoption journey. We've faced our share of family challenges and crises, ridden the metaphorical rollercoaster, and our families have not only survived; they have thrived. We offer experience, neutrality, and understanding.

Adoption Attuned Parenting

 

Listen to our podcasts on Adoption-attuned Parenting.

 

 

 

 

Read Adoption-attuned book reviews 

by GIFT coach, Gayle H. Swift,

on her blog "Writing to Connect"

 

 

Dear Abby-Gotcha-The Open-hearted Way to Open Adoption,[1] (Lori Holden’s terms— For a more in-depth discussion, see her book “The Open-hearted Way to Open Adoption”)

 

 

Learn how the coaches at GIFT Family Services can help you and your family navigate your adoption journey. We've faced our share of family challenges and crises, ridden the metaphorical rollercoaster, and our families have not only survived; they have thrived. We offer experience, neutrality, and understanding.

Adoption Attuned Parenting

 

Listen to our podcasts on Adoption-attuned Parenting.

 

adoption-attuned-bboks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read other Adoption-attuned book reviews by GIFT coach, Gayle H. Swift, on her blog "Writing to Connect"

 

We are privileged this week to have this guest blog written by Lynn Grubb. She is both an adoptee and an adoptive parent. She lives adoption from both sides of the relationship equation! Enjoy, listen, and learn!  Lynn Grubb is an Illinois born adoptee, and a 50-year resident of Dayton, Ohio.  She is President of the Adoptee Rights Coalition, a grass roots 501(c)(4) Ohio non-profit advocating for all adoptees to have equal access to their original birth certificates.  She is employed by and facilitates a kinship support group through the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA).  When she is not advocating in the adoption and kinship communities, you can find her at home with her family and pets, reading a good book.  She blogs at http://noapologiesforbeingme.blogspot.com/.

 

My husband, Mark and I, got married in 1991 – he was 34 and I was 25.  I became an instant stepmother to his 3-year old daughter, and so began my adventure into parenting.

When I was 27, and found out I was pregnant with our son, I began reading all sorts of parenting books. I turned to books because my own mother was not a place I could turn to learn and understand about pregnancy and birth, since she had not experienced it. I did what most of us do as parents whether conscience or not: I took what I liked about my own childhood and repeated that and tried to filter out what I didn’t like and didn’t do that.

In trying to determine how to label our parenting, I guess you could say in some ways we are part “free range” parents, in that our kids can have privacy in their rooms, walk to stores and home from school and do things without one of us being present and part “overprotective” (their words) in that we insist on rules, respect, personal hygiene, phone numbers and conversations with parents before overnights happen.

I am definitely not a helicopter mom.  Both of our kids have chores, earn their own money, and know how to take care of everything, like cooking and laundry, themselves.  My own mother was at one time what was called in the 70’s and 80’s a “supermom” which meant I was fortunate to be involved in every extra-curricular activity known to man, but I didn’t learn a lot of grown up things like how to pay bills until I was out on my own, struggling to learn them later.

Now that the kids are older, I am a full-time working mom and our daughter, at age 14, is almost completely self-sufficient (our son moved out on his own several years ago). I am truly amazed that I don’t have to wake her up in the morning, tell her to make her lunch or remind her to do homework.  She does all these things on her own.  (I’m probably just fortunate that she has a conscientious personality).  When I cook a meal, our daughter sees it as a treat – not an expectation.  (Lucky for me, her dad is now retired and can keep an eye on her after school and bonus: cook dinner!).

We do not ascribe to materialism at our house – we are minimalists with a clutter problem (I know, it makes no sense).  My husband and I grew up on opposite sides of the tracks, and we have lived in both the city limits and in the suburbs throughout our years of marriage.  One thing we can both agree on is that time with family is more important than stuff.

Here are a few specific areas that my being adopted has helped to inform parenting our daughter (also adopted):

adoption-attuned-bboks

Learn how the coaches at GIFT Family Services can help you and your family navigate your adoption journey. We've faced our share of family challenges and crises, ridden the metaphorical rollercoaster, and our families have not only survived; they have thrived. We offer experience, neutrality, and understanding.

Adoption Attuned Parenting

Listen to our podcasts on Adoption-attuned Parenting.

 

 

 

Read other Adoption-attuned book reviews by GIFT coach, Gayle H. Swift, on her blog "Writing to Connect"

 

[1] Named a Favorite Read of 2013 by Adoptive Families, (the award-winning national adoption magazine.) Named a Notable Picture Book for 2013 by Shelf Unbound in their Dec/Jan 2014 issue; Honorable Mention - Gittle List of 2014; Finalist; IPNE 2014 Book Awards (Independent Publishers of New England), Honorable Mention 2014 Purple Dragonfly Book Award 

 

 

Call today!
Sally: 612-203-6530 |  Susan: 541-788-8001 |  Joann: 312-576-5755 |  Gayle: 772-285-9607