Tag Archives: Canadian adoption

Documentary-The Truth About Adoption

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I watched this video recently, and as heartbreaking as it is, it offers a very accurate depiction of the issue of children languishing in foster care.  This video is from the UK, but is reflective of the same issue children in foster care face here in Canada, as well as the US.  There are a myriad of components contributing to why children stay so long in care, but in this video, we see two of the main reasons; waiting for children to be emancipated from their birth parents and become legally available for adoption, and the challenge of social workers to find homes for older children and siblings.

The hardest part of watching this, is probably the realization, that these beautiful little souls are three cases of thousands in just their country alone. If you’re considering adoption, perhaps you could also consider being the happy ending to a story like these.

The Truth About Adoption

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Book Critic Extraordinaire

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Book critic.  That’s the hat I’m wearing for this entry today!  Okay, well you can drop the extraordinaire bit.  Probably a little much since this is my first critique.  I just liked the sound of it, and I thought it made for a more intriguing title.

Okay, so what am I critiquing you ask?  Well, recently when I was doing my daily perusal of an adoption site, I found a post which was in search of bloggers willing to review a book for their readers. I’m an avid reader (especially now with all this pre-adoptive reading), and I’d never done this, but thought, what the hell?!  It’ll be fun, and hopefully what I have to say will be a useful source of info for some of the people reading my blog.  Plus, I get the bonus of access to what sounded like a very hands on and practical book.  So I emailed the author, and here I am.

So without further ado, here it is….

The Adoptive & Foster Parent Guide: How to Heal Your Child’s Trauma and Loss

by Carol Lozier

Being my husband and I are just entering this process, I am voraciously reading anything and everything (books, websites, chat boards, blogs…), I can on adoption. I’ve read a good variety of books so far, but the common theme with the latest onslaught has been attachment, and helping to heal your adopted child.  Carol’s book covers these issues and a whole lot more.

The first thing that set this book apart for me was the format.  To use Carol’s words, “This book’s format is in a magazine style for overwhelmed and busy parents.”  Well I don’t fall into the “overwhelmed and busy parent” category just yet, so I read this book cover to cover.   But the magazine formatting allows those whose reading time availability may fluctuate from a little to a lot.  I already found the format helpful in being able to quickly locate and re-read particular areas of interest.  I was able to put my highlighter and pen away for this book.

The next thing that stood out for me was the way the book is written.  Many of the books I’ve read thus far have been very textbook an clinical in their approach.  Often those who share knowledge that is common to them, forget that it’s not common to their audience. Carol, despite being a clinical social worker, has broken the information down into practical advice, parenting techniques and exercises that are easy to understand and incorporate.

In other books, I have found myself continuously having to return to previous explanations of exercises when they were revisited.  The context of some exercises was not easily relatable to their purpose, and therefore hadn’t stuck in my brain.  That is not the case with this book.  The exercises are simple and practical.  I could actually envision myself going through them as a future parent, and having my child be receptive to them.  They made sense, and I could see how they could easily become ongoing and usable tools.

The other thing I liked, was the story telling aspect of the book.  It is used heavily, and I think that’s extremely beneficial.  When trying to retain information, I think it is always much easier if you can have a story related to the information imparted.  It’s one thing to read a textbook definition, but completely a different learning experience when you hear that information shared via stories and people you can personally relate to, or at least understand and empathize with.  I know during my search for information, the static information I was finding on adoption wasn’t enough.  I went in search of chat boards and blogs to get first hand accounts of life experiences.  Real life stories are peppered throughout this book, and I think they definitely add merit to Carol’s teachings.

Last but not least, was the three part, building structure of the book.  I thought this was really well laid out.  It takes you from start to finish, building on your parenting skills as you learn and grow.  There are three distinct sections: your child’s history (understanding behaviours), resolution (helping your child heal), and education (becoming an advocate for your child).  Again, this progression of learning, just made sense, and puts each part of the structure in perspective.

Now as for the content, well, I could go on and on about things I enjoyed, but I want you to read the book (as I’m sure Carol does too), so I’ll give you some of the highlights:

  • “Is This Normal or Is It Foster or Adoption Related?”  Being a first time parent, I’m sure I will encounter scenarios where I’m asking if this is normal behaviour for a child.  But being a first time parent of an adopted child, throws another curveball.  I’ve seen this question posted on so many chat boards, but had yet to see it covered in any previous adoption books I’ve read.  Temper tantrums are prime examples of where this question comes into play.  Carol explains how to differentiate between developmental and trauma related behavior.
  • I enjoyed the segment on helping your child write a letter to their birthmom.  I had seen this in other books, but it stopped after explaining the purpose and giving a standard template.  They tend to follow the format of the child writes the letter, and parent and child discuss. Carol’s explains the purpose, gives the parent multiple approaches, and gives a very good suggestion for getting the parent directly involved from start to finish, which I thought was wonderful.  She focuses on this healing the child’s lost connection to their birthmom, but I think it also would help with letting the child know that you accept their birthmother, and accept that they miss her, which is so vitally important.
  • Another great segment was the one on triangulation. I had read about it in many books, but it was sort of breezed over.  This gives an in-depth explanation, that included info I hadn’t read before.  (ie an outside party (teacher, grandparent), being part of the triangle.)

Other read worthy topics covered:

  • The letter to family and friends explaining what is supportive vs. hurtful to the adoptive family.
  • Segment on recreating your child’s trauma, to help them re-visit and heal their painful past.
  • The list of questions to ask when “interviewing” your child’s therapist.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to those entering, or already in the world of  adoption.  So many of the books I’ve read tend to use shock value to get their point across about the challenges of adoptive parenting.  Carol’s book is honest and doesn’t sugar coat anything, but she reveals the difficulties from a place of compassion.  She teaches pre-adoptive and adoptive parents to approach their child’s pain from that place in order to start the healing process.  She enables them to be very hands on and not shut the door to therapy when you leave the therapist’s office.  I know I will definitely buy a copy of this book that I can go back and reference as I parent my child.  It will no doubt be a bumpy road, but learning Carol’s approach of empathy and humanity makes me feel more well equipped to handle the challenges that will inevitably come our way.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of Carol’s book, you can do so at:


Forever Families

Barnes and Noble

Amazon for Kindle Users


Carol Lozier, MSW, LSCW
, is a clinical social worker in a private practice is Louiseville, Kentucky.  She has spent over 20 years counseling children and families, specializing in adoption and foster care issues.  She is passionate about helping children heal from past trauma and loss.  She has written several articles and authors a blog, which offers practical strategies, guidance, and support for families.  She is a contributing author to the book, The Foster Parenting Toolbox (EMK Press 2002).

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Every Once In a While The Universe Gets It Right

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At the outset of this journey, like anyone, I was online searching for info on adoption; pretty much any info I could devour.  Being this is a life altering decision, not only for M and I, but also for our future child or children, I was (and still am), info hungry.  In my ravenous searching, I was finding a lot of information, but not a lot with Canadian content.  I found the foremost Canadian adoption info sites, but they were just that.  Info sites.  I had read all the facts and figures, and was now looking for more on the personal side of adoption.  I didn’t want the perfect family stories, or the full on horror stories, which were easy to find.  I wanted the stories in between.  The little-bit-of-everything, personal stories.  The true face of adoption.  I came across a few different websites, and was really excited to discover they had chat boards.  Then I was not so excited when I found that the boards were not only limited, but virtually inactive.  But then I came across another website that not only had great information, but also had a fairly active board.  Of course I registered.

Now what does all this have to do with the universe you might ask?  I’m getting to that; don’t rush me.  This pre-amble will get you to the point, don’t worry.  Geez, I would have thought by now you’d have figured out the word rush ceases to exist in the world of my blogosphere. 🙂  Anyhow, back to the pre-amble….

As I said, I had registered for an account so that I could lurk and hopefully get some insight into some personal stories about the trials and tribulations of adoption, from a Canadian perspective.  For a little while, all I did was lurk.  We were only in the starting phase of our journey, so I felt kind of funny posting amidst all these people whose process was well underway, or already complete.  Only M and I knew we were adopting at that point, and I wanted to tell somebody, even if it was under the guise of a pseudonym.  Plus I had a lot of questions.  So I broke my silence and made my first post.  At that point we were still weighing our options of public vs. private adoption.  So I posted asking about people’s wait times with either type.

I received a lot of responses, but one stood out from all the rest.  She shared her personal perspective in two lines.  The rest of her reply was info on both the public and private scene in Ottawa.  (Turned out we were in the same city.)  I responded to everyone and posed a follow-up question.  That same person answered again, and after some back and forth, sent me a private message.  We went from private messages, to emails, to agreeing to meet for coffee in the span of a week after that initial post.

It took us a while to coordinate schedules, but we finally agreed to meet on a Sunday night at a Starbucks half way between her house and mine.  When we first saw eachother, there were friendly hellos exchanged, and then that initial first meeting awkwardness as she ordered her coffee, while I waited on her, anxiously sipping mine.  (I totally understood what online daters felt like!)  We made our way to a table on the patio, and I’m not even exaggerating when I say that “newness” melted away within five minutes.  It’s so funny, because I don’t even remember any sort of casual conversation at the outset.  We immediately launched into adoption talk and didn’t stray from it the whole evening.  I say the whole evening because we met at 7pm, closed down the Starbucks (actually got kicked off the patio as they locked up the tables for the night), pretended like we were going to leave, and meandered toward our cars.  But we kept talking, and decided to head over to a park bench (where she endured an initial spray from the automatic sprinklers), and talked until 11, 11:30, or maybe midnight.  I can’t honestly recall.

What I do recall, was feeling so appreciative that she was willing to be completely open with me about her experiences.  I loved hearing her adoption story of how she and her husband found, fell in love with, fought for, and finally brought their beautiful son home.  I was so grateful to have met someone who immediately made me feel like I could ask anything at all, and was more than willing to share the good, the bad, and the ugly, in an entirely open and honest dialogue.  By the time we managed to peel ourselves off that bench (which may not have happened before dawn if it weren’t for husbands, and the threat of work in the morning), I felt as if I’d known her far beyond a few hours, and a handful of email exchanges.

I think she felt so familiar because I saw a lot of her in me and vice versa, but also because I saw the adoptive mom I hope to one day be.  A mom who did whatever she had to do to find her way to her child.  A mom who may not have liked everything she endured during those first days, but fought through it and came out the other side with a fiercer love for that child than she ever imagined.  If I can be half the mom she is, my child will be pretty damn lucky.

So getting back to that whole universe bit…  As I’ve said before, the universe definitely has thrown a lot of not so nice things my way.  But every once in a while, it either musters up some guilt for the cruelty dished out, or maybe it just decides to take the day off.  (More likely the latter.)  Whatever the case, every once in a while, I catch a break.  Sometimes it’s just a short reprieve, and other times, it’s a “How did I get so lucky?!” kinda moment.  And she too, is more likely the latter.

Thanks E.