Hair and Skin Care Tips for the Transracially Adopted Child

Some of the common mistakes made while treating ethnic hair range from over shampooing, under conditioning and using the wrong products to combing and detangling.   Here are five tips to help you out:

1)    Shampooing more than 1x a week is not recommended.
On “shampoo-less” days, simply do a conditioning rinse, doing so will pump much needed moisture back into her hair without stripping away essential nutrients, rinse away unnecessary dirt and oil, and give her a fresh, clean start.  Condition once a month with heat, especially in the winter. Proper conditioning is one of the most important steps for healthy hair. Unfortunately, most do not take the time to adequately do so.

Tags: Transracial Adoption,Adoption,International Adoption

Outlasting The “Honeymoon Period” When Adopting An Older Child

Anyone who has taken the required training, when pursuing the adoption of an older child, will tell you that they heard a lot of references to the “honeymoon period” during their training.  So what is this honeymoon period anyway?  How long does it last, and what happens when it is over?

As most of you know, older children who are adopted either from U.S. foster care or from an overseas orphanage were in those settings after experiencing severe trauma in the form of physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or significant neglect, as well as multiple losses in their young lives.  As a result, these children learned from those experiences that adults do not keep them safe, and that they really can’t rely on anyone but themselves to meet their needs.  When these children are placed with a family for adoption, based on their life experiences, they do not have any reason to think that these new parents will be any different from every other adult who has been in their lives up to that point.  Therefore, when they first meet, visit with, and are initially placed with their new adoptive family they are usually on their best behavior, while they are carefully assessing these new people and their new surroundings.  They watch closely for any sign that either someone may hurt them in some way, or else they will “get rid of them”, just as they have experienced every other adult having done to them.

Tags: Adopting an Older Child,AdoptionWorks,Adoption,Foster Care,Adoption Issues,Permanency

Trends in International Adoption

Dramatic changes have unfolded over the past few years in the area of international adoption. Adoptions of children from some countries have been put on hold. The number of adoptions of children from other countries has decreased significantly.  There has been greater emphasis on the adoptions of older children and children with special needs from overseas. New procedures and safeguards have been developed to prevent unethical practices in the international adoption process. What’s going on?

Tags: International Adoption,Adoption

Success Story from our Family Find/Step Down Project

Each year, approximately 20,000 youth age out of the foster care system (Courtney, 2005).  Many of these youth lack a permanent connection to an adult.  Family Finding is an innovative practice model that can create permanency for youth in care.  Below is the story of how a simple phone call led one youth who was in foster care home to his family.

Tags: Adoption,Permanency,Success Story,Foster Care

Baby Veronica: South Carolina adoptive parents V Oklahoma birth father

In the past several weeks, the news has been filled with the story of Baby Veronica, the two year old girl who was legally forced to leave her adoptive family. (You can read the full story here

It’s always very distressing to the community at large when a child is removed from an adoptive home and returned to her birth parent. This is especially distressing when the child is two years old and has been placed since birth. Adoption is designed to be a legal and permanent solution for children in need of families. Every state has laws that govern the type and timing of adoption consent and termination of parental rights and the revocation of that consent or objection to the adoption.

Tags: Adoption,Open Adoption,Domestic Adoption

What’s in a Name?

About a month ago, my fourteen year old daughter announced that she wanted to legally change her first name back to her Bulgarian birth name.  This revelation came on the heels of a heated discussion about the virtues of black eyeliner, tight jeans, and red highlights, so we assumed that this sudden desire to change her name was another way to flex her teen muscles and exert her independence. As it turned out, a week later she decided that she really liked her adoptive name and did not want to be called by her birth name after all.  Nevertheless, this incident caused me to reflect on my motivations for changing the names of my adopted children, and the possible ramifications of that choice.

Tags: Adoption,Names,Adoption Issues

Work of Heart Holiday Party Recap

The Adoption’s Together Work of Heart Program has a tradition of providing holiday gifts to foster children that participate in the Super Saturday event, which is usually held the first Saturday of every month.  Super Saturday is designed to provide day respite to children in foster care while enabling their foster parents to enjoy a well deserved break to rejuvenate and recharge.  On December 10, 2011, several foster children ranging in age from 2 to eighteen years enjoyed a Holiday party complete with holiday gifts and special treats.  Each child was given a gift wrapped age appropriate gift.

The Benefits of Yoga for Children

Our children live in a hurry-up world of busy parents, school pressures, incessant lessons, video games, malls, and competitive sports. We usually don’t think of these influences as stressful for our kids, but often they are. The bustling pace of our children’s lives can have a profound effect on their innate joy—and usually not for the better. Yoga, a simple and safe series of gentle poses, postures, stretches, breathing and physical exercises can help counter these pressures.

Tags: Exercise,Adoption,Yoga for Children

Navigating Grief & Loss Issues in Adoption

Experiencing grief and loss is part of the adoption process for children, adoptive families as well as  birth parents.  For this reason, it is necessary to understand what each member of the triad loses, stages of grief and loss and how to best overcome the challenges in a healthy and supportive manner that will result in the family’s ability to thrive.

Tags: Adoption,Adoption Issues,Therapy,Counseling

What is Attachment-based Family Therapy?

Oftentimes children who have been in foster care and have experienced the trauma of abuse or neglect have issues with attachment, even if they have been a member in your family for years.  Attachment refers to your child’s ability to create and maintain healthy, safe and trusting relationship with parents & caregivers, siblings and peers.  Due to trauma, abuse and neglect, many children may have behaviors that include, but are not limited to: a difficult time navigating relationships and poor impulse control.  They may also exhibit controlling and manipulative behaviors.  Attachment-based therapy is an effective way to work on the challenges that children and families face when the child has had early disruptions to healthy development.  Many parents wonder, what is this kind of family therapy and how, exactly, will it help?

Tags: Attachment,Counseling,Attachment-Based Family Therapy