The Positive Effects of Interacting With Animals For Children Who Have Suffered Trauma

As a parent who adopted older children, as well as the Director of the AdoptionWorks program, I have always seen tremendous benefit in giving children the opportunity to grow up either with pets in their home, or with a lot of exposure to animals in other ways.  Most children who are adopted at an older age have experienced much trauma, grief and loss, and they can gain so much from having the opportunity to interact with and nurture an animal.

Tags: AdoptionWorks,Pets,Adoption

U.S. Citizenship for Internationally Adopted Children

I recently got a call from a frantic adoptive parent: “I took my son to the MVA to apply for a learner’s permit. They said he has to have proof of U.S. citizenship. They told me that his Maryland birth certificate is not proof of citizenship, since he was born overseas.  I’m not even sure if my son is a U.S. citizen!  Help! What do I do?”

Such calls are not unusual.  Whether or not your internationally-adopted child is a U.S. citizen depends on a number of factors.  Even if your child is a U.S. citizen, you may not yet have proof of citizenship.  It is crucial to ensure both that your child has U.S. citizenship, and also that he/she has proof of that citizenship.

Tags: International Adoption,Citizenship

The Need for Forever Families for Children with Special Needs

One of our most pressing needs in adoption recruitment is to find families for children with special needs. The first hurdle is finding families willing to adopt children who will never be able to care for themselves. Some wonder if children with special needs might be better off in the facilities where they live, since they have round-the-clock medical care, plenty of dedicated staff, and safe, structured days. Does it really make sense to put children with special needs into a home setting?

What is the best car seat I can buy for my child?

This is the number one question asked, and the answer I was seeking to find when I registered for the Child Passenger Safety Technician course this past May.  After four days of intensive training, and a day checking seats at a community event, I realized how complex that answer was.  In addition, I was frightened by the number of safety mistakes we are all making each and every day! 

Tags: Car Seats

Honoring the Past and Embracing the Future: Creating a Lifebook for Your Adopted Child

Last week, my daughter was given an assignment in one of her classes to outline significant events in her life beginning with her birth and leading up to present day.   She shared with her teacher that she spent most of the first two years of her life in an orphanage, and that she knew very little about her birth family.   Setting aside the insensitive nature of the assignment, it offered the perfect opportunity to revisit my daughter’s Lifebook and continue filling in the missing pieces of her life story before joining her forever family.

Tags: Adoption,Lifebook

A Generous Heart Helping Children in Foster Care

Joyce Trimuel has been a part of the Adoptions Together Work of Heart Program for ten months.  Joyce has provided respite care to several children and given generous Christmas presents to over 25 children in the program.  Most recently, she donated backpacks and school supplies to all of the children who attended our Super Saturdays event.  We asked Joyce what motivated her to be an active giver:

Tags: Foster Care,Respite,Work of Heart

Open Adoption – the other side of the story

From our Birth Parent Blog: As you all my know I often base my posts or struggles I notice while working with some of my birth mothers. This month’s post is no different. One of my favorite clients is negotiating an open adoption relationship. At one point I asked her what do you think this is like for the adoptive parents? My client sat back a little dazed and couldn’t find the words to answer me. This got me to thinking that in times of grief one may often become too focused on their sadness and ignore the feelings of those around them. So I’ve decided to post the other side of the story.

Tags: Open Adoption

A Foster Care Story

My husband and I became therapeutic foster parents in 2003.  We initially provided care to teenage boys ages 15 and up.  I believe the sweetest children we provided foster care to were our teenage boys.

Tags: Work of Heart,Respite,Parents’ Stories,Foster Care

Easing the Transition Back to School

It is hard to believe that the summer is almost over and our kids will soon be returning to school.  In my household, the anticipation of starting a new school year is usually met with a mixture of excitement, anxiety and fear of the unknown.  The days of sleeping in, staying up later, and relaxing at the pool will soon be replaced with alarm clocks, bedtimes, and after-school activities and homework.  Letting go of the carefree days of summer and transitioning back into schedule driven school mode can be challenging for children and parents.  Even children who genuinely enjoy school tend to feel anxious about things as simple as what to wear and finding their classroom on the first day, to more complex issues like being popular and making good grades.  

Here are some things parents can do to make the remaining days of summer more enjoyable, and the return to school a little less stressful.

Tags: Parenting Tips

An Adoption Story

I knew I wanted to adopt when I was really young.  When other little girls were playing with pillows under their shirts, I was playing adoption.  My father was a child advocate and we constantly had children around us who had been adopted – it was standard, normal.

Tags: Adoption,Parents’ Stories