AdoptResources's Blog

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Archive for the ‘adoptee’ Category

Life story round the clock…

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This article was in this week’s newsletter, if you’d like to be on the mailing list subscribe here

Last week our youngest asked me at breakfast “which land was I born in… not whose tummy but which land…” so we had a chat about where she was born and then got back to getting ready for school. She wasn’t on the look out for anything deep and meaningful, just a few facts on the geography.

Conversations about adoption can happen anytime and are not just confined to scheduled sessions with an album of photos or letters. Life story work for me is something that weaves itself around normal day to day stuff. People and places can pop into our minds at anytime and questions about who I am, where do I come from, who do I look like can crop up anytime. Obviously, it’s not always going to be possible to devote time to discussing some of the things that come up but it’s important to be able to be ready and to respond, even if it’s just to  say when would be better to talk about things.

Talking about these things isn’t always easy, especially if there are other things going on in the background, and it’s important not to tackle big conversations if you’re not in the right place emotionally or practically.

So what can help…

  • around the time of placement ask any questions that you think might help build your child’s life story, and find out what the process is for asking questions at a later date
  • keep photos in easy to spot places for life story chats on the spot – some of the multi frames that you can put lots of photos in are good for putting in lots of important people, places, stages in life (obviously, you choose what photos are appropriate, depending on your family’s circumstances and approach to talking about adoption)
  • keep things age appropriate, use drawings or stories if your child finds it hard to talk about the facts
  • you can use memory boxes to store things as well or instead of  a life story book/album 
  • keep copies of anything important or special, some children can destroy things that are really important to them in an outburst and regret it later on
  • remember that life story work is not just about things and people in the past, it’s about helping your child make sense of who they are and how all the bits of their lives fit together
  • life story memories involve feelings as well as facts and it’s important to make sure you and your family are getting the right support if things are difficult for you or your child.

I’d love to hear your comments on what you’ve found helpful in your child’s lifestory work…

Related links:

Connecting with kids through stories a teleclass with Fiona
(1st April 2011 live call; recording, call guide and action plan available for download after the call)

Telling healing stories by Melissa Nichols

Telling about adoption a one day workshop (2nd April 2011)

Top tips for a tip top festive season!

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winter landscapeI’ve just finished a teleseminar discussing some things to think about over the festive season.

You can listen to the replay on the event page and here’s a quick run through of what was covered…

Things to think about:

  • Expectations: ours’, children’s, family & friends’
  • Excitement and anticipation
  • Overwhelm
  • ‘if you’re good…’ or ‘if you don’t behave…’ messages
  • Birth family:  memories, contact
  • Triggers

Some of the things that can help include managing expectations, not aiming for glossy mag perfection; using calendars, planners, albums and visual cues to help build a sense of what’s coming next

and the Top tips:

  • keep it simple
  • talk about what’s happening next
  • stick to the plan/routine if you can
  • look behind the behaviour, think about what’s driving it
  • aim for fun, not perfection…

Essentially, it’s all about understanding the potential triggers and things going on behind the scenes, and finding ways to manage expectations and feelings. Leave a comment with your survival tips for Christmas…

PS as mentioned on the call, here’s the link to the bbc news video where an adoptee discusses his feelings on his birthday…

Written by adoptresources

December 15, 2010 at 4:17 pm

National Adoption Week

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It’s National Adoption Week this week and this year’s theme is Adoption Champions. Whether you’re a fan of National something week or not, these weeks help to raise the profile of the highlighted topic, making it more newsworthy and likely to get noticed by more people than usual.

To mark National Adoption Week I am…

My theme for National Adoption Week? The same as every week – to raise awareness of the need for good support for families in adoption, at all stages in the process…

Let me know what you’re doing for National Adoption Week…

Be my guest…

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laptop on a beachI’ve added a new section to feature guest blogs. Posts can be related to any aspect of adoption, it could be something you’ve already featured on your own blog, it can be anonymous or not. The first guest blog is an amazing story of adoption from Greg. Let me know if you’ve got a story you’d like to share…

Written by adoptresources

October 25, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Facebook: friend or foe…

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social network laptopSocial media networks have opened up opportunities to connect with people anywhere in the world, making it easier to get in touch with long lost friends; keep in touch with family and friends and make new business and social connections. On the whole, the impact of social media is positive (you only need to look at my twitterstream to see that I’m a convert!) but there can be some negative or unwelcome intrusions.

Facebook in particular has opened up a network where birth families can trace and be traced by adopted relatives. Tracing in itself offers a chance at a better understanding of the circumstances of adoption and the possibility of building new relationships. However, it is best done with the right support, and any contact made with the permission of those being traced. The openness of social media takes away the sensitivity and understanding needed to make reunions as positive for all concerned.

When we were working our way through the adoption process, I read a book called A Good Likeness, all about an adult adoptee tracing his birth parents. Through this and other books, I could see that a lot of search and reunion is about understanding yourself, making sense of what adoption is for you and why it happened. This made it easier for me as an adoptive parent to understand it. I can also see in my children a need to connect with this parallel universe.

So I’m watching and listening to stories of facebook reunions and gleaning what I can from them. I don’t think the answer is to stop using facebook or other social networks of choice. Learning how to be safe online and putting the right supports in place for adoption search and reunion seems a sensible place to start.

So, right now, my aim is to keep online and offline lines of communication open, have conversations about keeping yourself safe online and to get to know facebook as well as I know twitter (uphill battle!!)…

Do you have any tips? Is this something you’ve had to deal with?

Book list:
A Good Likeness by Paul Arnott
Blue-Eyed Son: The Story of an Adoption by Nicky Campbell
Facing Up to Facebook: A Survival Guide for Adoptive Families  A guide on Facebook for adoptive families that covers important aspects of keeping safe online – published by BAAF

Written by adoptresources

October 13, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Support for learning

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LearningThe summary of a recent  report  concluded that children were being “wrongly labelled as having special educational needs”. This sparked a debate about the pros and cons of diagnoses and labels of special educational needs. Some parents felt that the right diagnosis meant that children received additional support, others that it limited expectations of children or that additional support was not always provided.

My own experience is that some children would do better with additional support in school but, without a formal recognition of need, the provision of additional support is dependent on individual teachers and resources.

In adoption, early trauma and neglect impact on a child’s development and can lead to the need for additional support with learning. Areas like language processing affect how well children understand instruction and can cause problems in all subject areas, even in games and P.E. Poor concentration, low self esteem and problems with social relationships all have a knock on effect on learning

What are your views… has your child had support for learning, has it helped? Do you think labels are helpful?

Written by adoptresources

September 28, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Adoption blog carnival…

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I came across the idea of a blog carnival on a few other blogging networks and decided that I’d like to host an Adoption Blog Carnival for National Adoption Week…

And what is a blogging carnival, I hear you ask. Well, it’s just a way of linking together different posts on one topic. You email me details of a post you’ve written in relation to adoption and I write a carnival post and include links to the posts selected for the carnival…

I’m hoping to get posts from all perspectives in adoption – adoptee, adoptive parent, birth parent, prospective adopter, relative through adoption… and from all viewpoints-good/bad/indifferent…

If you’d like to contribute, email details of your post to fiona@adoptresources.co.uk by October 25th. You don’t have to write a post specifically for the carnival and it doesn’t have to be recent. If you’d like to submit something but don’t want to post it on your usual blog, email me the post and I can include it as a guest blog.

Looking forward to hearing from you…

Written by adoptresources

September 21, 2010 at 11:13 pm