There Are No Unwanted Children: Just Unfound Families

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Talking to Adopted Children About Birth Parents and Families of Origin: How to Answer the “Hard Questions” by Rhonda Jarema, MA

Source: http://www.adoptioncouncil.org/

By Rhonda Jarema

Introduction

7620090_orig_thumbOver the years, I’ve had a number of parents question me about what they should say to their child when that child asks about his or her biological parents. Adoptive families may have been provided with varying amounts of information, from an extensive background that includes APGAR scores to just a birthdate. Sometimes there is a vague family history, or the child might even have some memories of their birth family if placed as an older child. Most families have something in between: usually a very basic history of parental death, abandonment, voluntary placement, or removal from parental care. This leaves a hole that is often difficult for both child and parents, as they attempt to fill in the blanks from the past.

It is the responsibility of adoption professionals to try to guide the parents in this area. Adoptive parents often expect that professionals have some hidden store of information that was not provided with the referral, or that the information expanded while in the file and will provide the magical answers to their child’s questions. Sometimes parents become anxious when they receive questions from their child about their past prior to adoption. It is important for parents to give information appropriate to the child’s level of development; offering all the specifics at a young age may increase anxiety for all involved.

Just as it is important to share the information the parent has on the child’s family, so it is important not to fill in blanks when the answer really isn’t known. Sometimes the adoptive parent may not have any information, and the answer might be “I’m sorry, but I don’t know.” Another option would be to ask the child, “What do you think?” As a parent, these are not always easy discussions, but they are important to have.

Continue reading.

Talking to Adopted Children About Birth Parents and Families of Origin: How to Answer the “Hard Questions”

By: Rhonda Jarema

7620090_orig

Over the years, I’ve had a number of parents question me about what they should say to their child when that child asks about his or her biological parents. Adoptive families may have been provided with varying amounts of information, from an extensive background that includes APGAR scores to just a birthdate. Sometimes there is a vague family history, or the child might even have some memories of their birth family if placed as an older child. Most families have something in between: usually a very basic history of parental death, abandonment, voluntary placement, or removal from parental care. This leaves a hole that is often difficult for both child and parents, as they attempt to fill in the blanks from the past.

It is the responsibility of adoption professionals to try to guide the parents in this area. Adoptive parents often expect that professionals have some hidden store of information that was not provided with the referral, or that the information expanded while in the file and will provide the magical answers to their child’s questions. Sometimes parents become anxious when they receive questions from their child about their past prior to adoption. It is important for parents to give information appropriate to the child’s level of development; offering all the specifics at a young age may increase anxiety for all involved.

Just as it is important to share the information the parent has on the child’s family, so it is important not to fill in blanks when the answer really isn’t known. Sometimes the adoptive parent may not have any information, and the answer might be “I’m sorry, but I don’t know.” Another option would be to ask the child, “What do you think?” As a parent, these are not always easy discussions, but they are important to have.

Continue Reading.

Help Needed: Open Adoption Survey

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As many of you know, we are in the process of creating a new course for prospective adoptive families considering open adoption. We have been fortunate to have talked with many adoptive parents, birth mothers and adoption professionals, but have not found many adult adoptees.

We feel it is crucial for adoptees’ voices to be heard in this course! To that end, we’ve created a brief online survey to be completed by adult adoptees (age 18 and up. The survey focuses on exactly what sort of contact/visits were had with various members of the birth family (in open adoptions), the benefits, the challenges and what they would say to families who are in the early years or just thinking about an open adoption.

We are asking for your help in reaching these folks by distributing the following link to the survey: http://app.fluidsurveys.com/s/openadopt/

Aside from sending the link to previous clients you’ve worked with, we’d like to ask you to send the link to your current families (as they may have friends or relatives with grown children who were adopted), place the link on your website and in your social media feeds such as Facebook and the like.

We appreciate your help and look forward to sharing the results and the new course with you and your families!

Mary Michele Hawkins
Heart of the Matter
816-246-1100

Hopscotch Adoptions Inc Announces Partnership with Armenia’s NGO “Renaissance of Children”

Newsletter 2011In this newsletter, you will learn about the immense impact of “Renaissance of Children” and how the lives of so many Armenian children are changed forever thanks to this organization and its founder, Dr. Garen Koloyan and friend to the children, Araz Artinian.  Hopscotch would like to also recognize and thank our parent volunteer, Kelly Hunt Madden, for her commitment to this project.  Without Kelly’s efforts, the two year supply of casting material would be only a dream… today it is a reality!!  Families that ‘give back’ through efforts like this are the cornerstone to good will and an expression of our passion for all children in need.  Join hands with Hopscotch today in helping more dreams come true!

Download the newsletter (PDF)

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