Adopted & Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora

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I am so excited to find out about this group for Adopted & Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora! There are opportunities to volunteer, so I’m gonna check ’em out.

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Chicago Area Families For Adoption (CAFFA) Scholarship

I just saw this on Facebook and thought I’d share. It’s a college scholarship for people that were adopted. Who knew?!

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CAFFA is pleased to invite students who will be entering college in Fall 2015 to enter our 4th Annual Essay Contest to win an Educational Scholarship! This $2,000 tuition scholarship will be awarded to one graduating high school senior student who came into their family through adoption and has been accepted to a 2- or 4-year college for the 2015-2016 school year. The winning essay and photo of the recipient will be published on our website and in our newsletter.

To enter, see our Scholarship Information document ( http://caffa.org/caffa-scholarship-2015-information.pdf ) for the application form and essay topics. Past and present CAFFA Board family members are not eligible for this scholarship. Applicants are not required to be CAFFA Members. Feel free to pass this information on to other Adoptive Families who have college bound students!

The application and essay must be completed by June 29, 2015. If you have any questions, you can contact Mike Lepley at president@caffa.org. We enjoy reading the entries each year and look forward to seeing the essays! Happy writing!

Why I Wish I Had a Photo of My Son’s Mother

My son doesn’t look like me or his dad.

I have no idea whose eyes he has or whose nose. Where he gets his cute little smile from is anyone’s guess. Right now, it doesn’t matter because he’s a baby and most babies only care about who is wiping their tush and where their next bottle is coming from. It doesn’t matter. Not right now.

In the future it may matter a lot. As he gets older these things will start to matter and I have no answers for him. I have never met his first parents and probably never will. His mother hasn’t shown up to the hearings and won’t even return calls from the baby’s social worker. The person that was given as his father says that the baby isn’t his.

I’d like to think that if we at least had photos it might give him some comfort, but we don’t. I have nothing wise to say. No good ideas to share.I just found this little song/poem and just like I’m offering it to you, I’ll offer it to the baby in hopes that it might make him feel a bit better.

Moon-Somebody-I-Want-to-See

 

 

 

 

Our Famly Orchard is Complete!

I had been thinking about how to include everyone (first family, second family, friends that feel like family, etc.) in our family tree for a while. Adopting from foster care changes how the family goes. Of course you want to include biological family, but you also want to include first family members. Eventually I came across the idea of a family orchard! Here’s my inspiration:

FamilyTreeAdoptionFriendsFamilyI asked people that are important in our lives to send me buttons. I glued each one to the materials and I plan on stretching the canvas over a frame so I can hang it.

Here’s the finished project:

IMG_20140806_114101The turtles at the bottom represent our immediate family. The star near the base represents his mother. It’s not perfect (I’m not much of an artist) but I love it just the same.

 

Grief and Loss in Adoption

Loss-AdoptionOne of the biggest challenges that I think we’ll come across in raising our child(ren) is dealing with the feelings of grief and loss around their first parents and the adoption. I have heard people say that adoption isn’t an event, it’s a lifestyle.

There are a few traps that adoptive parents can fall into on this one:

#1 Assuming that the child will not experience grief and loss.

#2 Assuming that the child will experience grief and loss.

Crazy, right? It seems like the best thing to do would be to talk with your child(ren) and be open to hearing how they are feeling. That might mean letting them experience denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. That might mean creating a space where they can talk about however they are feeling, but not pushing them to talk about it if they don’t want to.

Each person is different. Each situation is different. The way that each unique person experiences situations is different. Create an atmosphere where your child(ren) can talk with you openly …. or not. Pushing them to talk about things isn’t good either. Be open. Share how you’re feeling too. By having a space where everyone can express their feelings, things might not always be pretty but there will be a place (physical and emotional) where growth can take place.

Articles to help children deal with grief and loss.

Articles to help adults deal with grief and loss.

I couldn’t find articles for adoptive parents to help them deal with the grief and loss experienced by children. Do you have a good article? Please share it below.

Race IS Important in Transracial Adoption

TransracialAdoptionFamily4I just read this article about transracial adoption and the needs of children in transracial adoptive families. It was really eye-opening. It mentions Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and how important racial identity is. Anyhoo … I’ve posted the short version below.

The research study:

At the time, with Hong Kong struggling to cope with an influx of refugees fleeing communist China, the British government decided to transfer children from overcrowded orphanages to largely white British adopting families.

The British Association for Adoption and Fostering spent three years tracking down and interviewing 72 of them, creating a detailed analysis of the effect of transracial adoption on individuals over 50 years.

Findings:

Although a spectrum of experiences was reported, some positive, the collective message was that race was critical to the girls’ wellbeing, findings that challenge the government’s proposal that “ethnicity should not be a primary consideration for adoption agencies”.

and …

Referring to the Maslow scale, the hierarchy of needs developed by the late US psychologist Abraham Maslow which stipulates that a person’s fundamental requirements have to be fulfilled before they can realise their potential, Martin believes transracial adoption can fail to deliver much more than the basics.

“They can give food, shelter and all that stuff, but when it gets to the higher end of people’s needs like confirming their identity, self-image, they haven’t been able to fulfil that. It’s really important the adoption process takes this into account and doesn’t sweep race under the carpet,” she said.

Similarly, Martin warned that good intentions are not enough. “Most of the parents were largely middle-class white people with very good intentions and a lot of them very religious. The intentions were great, but the anecdotal recollections show there were quite a few who just didn’t know it was like to be Chinese,” she said.

There is a lot more here How a generation of orphans fared when they were matched to mixed-race couples | Society | The Observer

Watch this GREAT video from PACT founder Beth Hall about preparing to have a transracial family:

Signs of Adopter Savior Syndrome

NegativityPositivity

I just saw this on Coloring Out Lori Jane and I had to post it. I have come across so many people like this. Yes, we’d like to adopt too, but I am already complete. I was a complete human being before I got married and I chose to marry another complete human being. We are a family. We don’t need kids to make us feel any kind of way. We’d love to raise children if there are children that need a stable home, but if we never adopt we’ll be fine.

Anyhoo … check out the whole article here, and here a few signs of Adoption Savior Syndrome:

Ask your adult Adoptee about A.S.S. if you experience the urgent and persistent need to adopt in order to become a complete person.

If you are a White adoptive parent who has engaged in the transnational adoption process in order to adopt an ethnic baby, you may suffer from a severe case of A.S.S.

Symptoms of Adopter Savior Syndrome include:

  • White Jesus told you to adopt.

  • You believe you saved an orphan.

  • You feel paranoid about reverse racism.

  • You have served as an expert on Adoptee issues.

  • You experience shock when adult Adoptees notice race.

  • You feel entitled to the Adoptee’s love, affection, and gratitude.

  • You feel confused when people of color accuse you of being racist.

  • You have delusions of grandeur that you are the best parents for the Adoptee.

  • You hallucinate consent when touching your adopted child in vulnerable moments.

  • You feel threatened when the Adoptee asks questions about their family and culture of origin.

My favorite off of the second list for those that are highly susceptible is “You are colorblind”. Lol If left untreated, Adoption Savior Syndrome could turn into “collusion with a system of global White supremacy that is destroying us all”. I love, love, love this post.

I am not an adoptee, but this struck a nerve with me as an atheist of color. Very few things exist in a vacuum. Most oppression works as a matrix: sexism, racism, size-ism, persecution of the non-religious, etc. I find the adoption community to be no different. There is tons of commentary about how much white privilege and  economics play into domestic and international adoption.

Since we are raised in this this global system of oppression of “the other” we all play some part. The first thing that we have to do is to admit our part in it and then actively work to dismantle it.