Monday, July 24, 2017

Compassion in Action: A Beautiful Intervention On Behalf of a Child With Special Needs

Source: http://www.charlotteobserver.com

By Bruce Henderson

groner4She’s a shy Jewish woman from Charlotte. He’s a little boy, apparently African and Muslim, who was screaming aboard a transatlantic flight.
Their July 14 encounter between Brussels and New York made the eight-hour flight go easier for their fellow passengers. The virtually wordless connection – neither spoke the others’ language – also offered a lesson in compassion that has circulated widely online.

By her account, Rochel Groner, 33, is among the least likely people to make a public display. “I’m the type of person who would let somebody step on my foot for like a half- hour before I would say something,” she says.

But about an hour into the flight, a return home after Groner and her husband Bentzion chaperoned teens to Israel, Groner heard sounds of distress behind them. Not cries from a baby. Not a bored teen.

“It was just kind of a shrieking without any words,” Groner says. “I recognized it right away as a child with special needs.”

Read more here.

Notice: The Form N-565 – Request a Replacement Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate Has Been Updated

uscis-signatureInterested in obtaining a Replacement for your Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate? USCIS has recently updated the form to be used: The new edition dated 06/13/17. Starting 09/22/2017, we will only accept the 06/13/17 edition. Until then, you can use the 12/23/16 edition.

Learn more.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Join Us This Thursday: All About The Birth Family Search

Birth Family Search | Adoption Learning Partners

Register Now

Open records, DNA testing, family tree websites, social media, Google, orphanage searches by other families, even a birth relative doing a reverse search to find information on your child; all can lead quite quickly to an unscheduled, and unprepared for, reunion.

The question is no longer IF your child will one day (sooner rather than later) be able to locate a birth relative, but when. For most domestic adoptees, it is now just a matter of time. For international adoptees, the search is becoming easier and easier.

Join Martha Osborne, adoptee, adoptive mother, and founder of RainbowKids.com, as she shares the realities of birth family search today and provides tips and tools to make informed choices, including:
  1. Talking to your pre-teen and teen about searching
  2. Gauging if your child is emotionally ready to conduct a search
  3. How to handle a birth relative reaching out directly through social media or email
  4. Identifying safety risks and how to avoid them
  5. The tools available today both for search and for obtaining a medical profile on an adoptee without allowing DNA information to be released
Click here to learn more and register >

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Guide to Selecting An Adoption Or Foster Therapist

Source: https://creatingafamily.org/

Guest post by Carol Lozier, Forever-Families

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Image credit: adesigna


Families experience great joy as they welcome newly adopted or foster children into their lives. When a child comes home, parents might start counseling right away or the need may not arise until a later time, such as adolescence. Identifying the right therapist can be a challenging task, especially if a parent is not familiar with the counseling field. This article gives parents direction on choosing the right adoption counselor for their child. There are many factors to consider, from insurance and office location, to the therapist’s degree and training. Any reputable therapist will be happy to answer questions about themselves and their practice. Some questions to ask the prospective therapist include:

Do you have a masters’ degree (or greater) in a counseling related field? Counseling related fields include: psychology, social work, psychiatry, and marriage and family therapy.

Do you have a license to practice independently? Each state and degree have different requirements, but a license indicates the therapist passed state boards showing competency in their degree.

When did you finish your counseling degree? It is preferable for the therapist to have completed their degree more than five years ago. Of course, more experience is desirable.

Do you take my insurance? If the therapist is in-network with your insurance, call the company to request benefit information and an authorization (if needed). If the therapist is out-of- network, call the company to determine your benefits. You will want to ask about your deductible, co-pays, co-insurance, and requirement for authorization.

How many years have you worked with foster and adopted children? An effective counselor will have at least two to three years expertise in the area of foster care or adoptions. And ideally, 30% to 50% of the therapist’s practice should be with foster or adopted children.

What is the location of your practice? Ask about location as it can make a difference in your choice.

As the parent, will I stay in the room during my child’s sessions? Typically, an adoption therapist keeps parents in the therapy session with the child. The parent remains in the room for information and attachment opportunities.

How were you trained to work in this area? There are many acceptable treatment models, including: Theraplay, Narrative therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and Dyadic Developmental therapy. Research whichever model the therapist uses so that you are familiar with the process and know what to expect in sessions.

What additional training do you have that augments your chosen model? It is suggested that therapists have additional training in: individual therapy with children and adults, family therapy, child development, trauma work, and cognitive and behavior therapy.

Will we meet alone with you in the first session or do we bring our child? A general rule of thumb is parents attend the first session alone unless the child is an adolescent, then the child may accompany the parents.

These last questions are for the family to ask themselves after the first visit or two: Do we feel this therapist is a positive and comfortable fit for our family? Is the counselor open to our questions about the therapy process? You want to be able to answer “Yes” to both of these questions, as the therapeutic relationship is interactive and built on trust and respect.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Building the Bonds of Attachment with Adopted Children

Source: https://creatingafamily.org

By Dawn Davenport


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Attachment is vital to emotional development. What can adoptive parents do to build the bonds of attachment with their adopted children? Join guest Dr. Dan Hughes, a clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of children with attachment issues. He is the author of five books including Building the Bonds of Attachment and Attachment-Focused Parenting.

Highlights of the show
  • How much of an issue is attachment in different types of adoption (domestic, international, older child, etc.)?
  • How does the inter-uterine environment affect a child?
  • How does fetal alcohol syndrome affect attachment?
  • Tips on building attachment with young children
  • How can parents transition an adopted child to a daycare program without ruining attachment bonds?
  • How can parents help their children work through attachment issues?
  • How important is it for parents to make sure they are taking care of themselves?
  • What can parents do when they feel like they do not love their adopted child as much as their biological child?
  • How long is normal before parents feel attached to their children?
  • Why do some children have an easy attachment process and other children have a difficult attachment process?
  • Attachment issues in biological children.
  • Unevenness in attachment
  • Can attachment issues appear later in life?
  • How can parents find a good attachment councilor for their children?
  • Attachment issues with trans-racial adoptions

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Setting Limits with Adopted Teens-If the Answer is No, Say No

Source: https://creatingafamily.org/

By Dawn Davenport

Setting-Limits

I’ve noticed a trend in the last several year–parents afraid to discipline their adopted kids or unable to say “no” for fear of damaging their attachment or ego. At times I wonder if we’ve created a monster by all our emphasis on attachment, but I firmly believe that adopted children, actually all children, desperately need us to say no and set limits. Doing so is not in contradiction to creating attachment–in fact, setting limits supports attachment!

I recently read a book that I absolutely loved: Parenting in the Eye of the Storm: The Adoptive Parent’s Guide to Navigating the Teen Years by Katie Naftzger, an adoption therapist and adult adoptee. This book would be the perfect read for all adoptive parents with kids 8+.

I interviewed Ms.  Naftzger on a Creating a Family Radio show titled Adoptive Parent’s Guide to Navigating the Teen Years. She was preaching to the choir with me. So much so that I invited her to do this guest blog post.

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I just want her to be happy. 

If I could make life easier for him, why wouldn’t I do that? 

I don’t want him to feel abandoned. How could I say no? 

She’s already been through so much! 

Do any of these statements sound familiar? For adoptive parents of teens, setting limits is often complicated. Your teen has already been through a lot. At one point in time, their basic needs were probably compromised. Of course, a part of you would want to give them everything they needed and more, but there’s a cost.

Setting limits helps your teen to feel more prepared for young adulthood. It teaches responsibility and helps develop much-needed coping skills. It also helps them to trust you more. They want to know that you’ll do what’s right, even if it means standing up to them.

Here’s a work example:

I was sitting with an adoptive mom and 12 y/o daughter, finishing up our family therapy session. The daughter asked, “Mom, can we go and get a cupcake across the street?”

The mom grimaced. “Oh, sweetie, I don’t know. I don’t want you to be late for gymnastics. There might be a lot of traffic. Plus, you already had ice cream when we got home from school…” Her mom looked around the room and she trailed off.

Her daughter’s voice became shriller. “Mom, we’ll have of time to get there, I promise. I’m not going to be late! Seriously! And, I just had one popsicle after school. Those things are so small! I don’t think that should even count. Come on, Mom, please? Please!”

I said to the mom, quietly, “If the answer is no, just say no.”

At that point, her mom made direct eye contact with her daughter and said, “The answer is no.”

How did the daughter react? She let it go, immediately. And, she was fine. Surprising, isn’t it, given that her daughter was so bent on it just a second ago!

Tips for Setting Limits with Adopted Teens

 

1. Don’t backtrack or apologize.

 

Imagine if the mom had said “Oh sweetie, the answer is no…but maybe we can get a cupcake next time we’re here! I’m sorry, sweetie!” 

 

2. Don’t negotiate.

 

It can be painful for adoptees to feel like they’re begging for something, particularly if they’re struggling with feelings of low self-worth and feelings of abandonment.

 

3. Don’t send mixed messages.

 

If the mom had said no but continued to look all around the room, it would have sent mixed messages. Her words would have said no but her body language would have said, I’m not sure.

 

4. Convey guidelines and consequences ahead of time.

 

This mom knew her daughter pretty well. She could probably have predicted that her daughter would ask her for a cupcake. The simplest way to go would be to make an overarching decision – always or never.

 

5. Improve your savvy.

 

It can be challenging for adoptive parents when their teen gets into stuff that is outside of their experience, such as drugs, alcohol, aggressive behavior, etc. It’s good to learn to think like your teen. When your teen perceives you as naive or oblivious, they tend to lose respect for you. Trust your intuition. If you think something’s going on, it’s usually true. Your aim isn’t to control them. It’s to help them to make informed decisions.


When parenting teens it is important to remember that they don’t have to agree with you. There are certain decisions that are collaborative and others that are solely yours. And, if you’re not sure where to begin, start with the cupcake.