World Wide Wednesday – February 10, 2016

iStock_000003621765_LargeIt’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s news in the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!

Inclusion in this post does not imply an endorsement by the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families. The Coalition is not responsible for the content of these resources.

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World Wide Wednesday – February 3, 2016

iStock_000003621765_LargeIt’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s news in the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!

Inclusion in this post does not imply an endorsement by the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families. The Coalition is not responsible for the content of these resources.

Tip Sheet Tuesday: Honoring Your Child’s Racial and Cultural Identity

When adopting a child transracially or transculturally, certain changes within your family may seem obvious in the beginning. However, adopting a child of a different race or culture will require a shift in thinking above and beyond what you may initially think because your child’s experience will differ greatly from your own.

122406133.jpgWe hope the following information may help your family adapt to becoming a transracial family or a transcultural family.

Definitions
Here are some definitions that most people use when referring to race and culture:

Racial identity is the racial background with which you identify. Many people today have backgrounds from more than one culture or race, and many of these people will pick on that they feel they can relate to the best.

Transracial or transcultural adoption means placing a child who is of one race or ethnic group with adoptive parents of another race or ethnic group.

Cultural Identity: chosen or adopted culture.

Creating Positive Racial and Cultural Identity
By empowering your children to adapt to your family and your culture, you will be honoring your child’s racial and cultural identity. A child who has been adopted and is a different race will have varying emotional needs.

Your children will be treated as members of your family at home, but may have a different experience in the world at large. It’s these experiences that contribute largely to the development of their identity. They may deal with racism or stereotypes that you or your children have never had to deal with in the past.

This requires preparation and open family communication. Rather than expecting that your child adapts to your family, your family will need to adapt to your child and his or her racial and cultural identity. Your child’s race and culture should become a part of all family members experience and be present throughout your home.

The Impact of Transracial Identity
Adopting transracially impact the entire family. The whole family now becomes transracial—not simply the child. If all family members think about their family unit in this way, it can prevent the child who was adopted from alienated.

Relationships with extended family members and friends may be challenged or even changed when they are asked to accept and respect you as a transracial family.

At school, peers may question your children about why they look different from you or a sibling. Not only will your children need to be prepared for these occurrences, but so will the entire family.

As a family, reflect on your own beliefs, attitudes, and experiences so you can understand the messages that are being sent to your children.

Under the Umbrella: 4 Tips for Transracial/Transcultural Families

Fans of the TV series Modern Family will remember the classic episode where six-year-old Lily (who is adopted by two daddies) is confused about her heritage. Mitch and Cam realize they know very little about her country of origin, so they decide to expose her to Vietnamese culture by taking her to a Vietnamese restaurant. What ensues is disastrous, if not humorous. Lily wants a cheeseburger, not pho. She is not interested in engaging with the Vietnamese waitress. The scene ends with a very defiant and even more confused Lily shouting, “I hate Vietnam!”
HiResCertainly Mitch and Cam are loving parents, so where did they go wrong?
Here are four tips to consider if you have completed or if you’re considering pursuing a transcultural or transracial adoption:
  1. Be prepared to answer questions and help your child respond. When parents and children have different races and culture, there is no getting around the awkward questions and comments. You see your child as your own, but the world around her sees her as “different.” It is inevitable she will be asked about her “real parents” or other intrusive questions that can chip away at her identity and sense of belonging.
  2. Understand that sometimes children just want to blend in. More often than not with a transcultural or transracial family, your child’s adoption will be conspicuous. Your child may tire of standing out, especially at ages where it is so important to fit in. You can help by keeping a strong focus on giving him or her consistent, positive affirmations concerning adoption and belonging.
  3. Teaching your child about her culture is a process, not an event. Weaving your child’s racial and cultural identity into the fabric of her daily life may help her develop a strong sense of self. It may be tempting to tell your child something along the lines of, “I don’t see color, I only see my beautiful little girl!” However, that message may come across as, “I don’t see you.”
  4. You can help celebrate all aspects of your child by doing your best to be as culturally diverse as you can be. Will your child see you having positive relationships with other adults of his race? Or does he see himself as the exception? Will he see others who look like him at school, church, the grocery store or in the neighborhood? Living, learning, and growing in a culture that is completely isolated from his own culture can mean that your child will lose a part of himself.

Adopting across race and culture can be beautiful and enriching when you are committed to addressing issues of racial and cultural identity and pride. Clearly, transcultural and transracial adoptions present challenges that your child is going to be faced with, perhaps on a daily basis. While the challenges may be tough, with additional support and education, you and your family can overcome.

World Wide Wednesday, March 25, 2015

iStock_000003621765_LargeIt’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s news in the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

  • “Faith in Family”When the social worker brought my new daughter to my house, she wasn’t the African-American girl I was expecting. And so we became a transracial family.
    by Tracy Clausell-Alexander

  • “Googling Her Birth Parents”: My daughter wanted to know more about her birth parents. Could the Internet have the answers she was looking for? by Annie Kassof
  • Black or White Movie Review – Guest Post by Lori Holden: Though Black or White earns its adoption stripes through simple kinship adoption (Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer vie for custody of the granddaughter they share, Eloise, played by the luminous Jillian Estell), the bigger message for adoptive families is the devastating split a person can experience when divided in two by color, race, biology and/or biography. And how not dealing with tough emotions such as anger and grief rarely means they resolve on their own.
  • Finding a Niche of their Own: A common rite of passage for youth is finding a niche, whether it’s with peers, co-workers or society. For some, it is a staggering obstacle to overcome.But the thousands who are too old for foster care and too young for complete independence are just as lost in their young adulthood as they were in their youth.

Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!

World Wide Wednesday, March 4, 2015

iStock_000003621765_LargeIt’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s news in the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

  • Video: Family Reunites Adopted Daughter With Her Foster Sister.
  • Blog post: The Sons Who Were Never Really Mine
  • Input Sought from Transracial Adoptees: A researcher at the School of Social Work at St. Catherine University/University of St. Thomas is seeking input from transracial adoptees from the U.S. who are 18 years old or older. The survey will explore the value that adoptive parents place on their child’s birth culture and ethnic identity and how it affects the child’s ethnic identity development and sense of belonging and acceptance.
  • Former Foster Youth Missing Out on New Health Care Benefits: A little-known clause of the Affordable Care Act that went into effect this January makes young adults who experienced foster care eligible to be insured until their 26th birthday. But according to this Youth Today article, many young people are not aware of the benefit. Read the article in Youth Today and see this tip sheet for child welfare advocates.

Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!

World Wide Wednesday – October 8, 2014

It’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s happening the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

World Wide Wednesday

  • Unconditional love from foster parents: Tiffany and Ryan McDonald didn’t plan to take in teenagers when they became foster parents eight years ago. After all, they were only in their mid-20s. But after going through the foster care classes, the first phone call the Ivins couple received was about 12-year-old Rochelle Lane and 13-year-old Rosalee Hafen. Tiffany initially said, “no.” Her own children were significantly younger and she worried the older girls might be a bad influence. However, after thinking about the girls’ background stories and the trials they were facing in foster care, the McDonalds called back and said they would take in Rochelle and Rosalee.  Continue reading
  • Transracial Adoption and Foster Care: Many children in foster care are placed at some point — either for foster care or adoption — with a family that is of a different race. The Child Welfare Information Gateway has compiled multiple resources on transracial foster care and adoption that can be helpful to agencies as well as to families. The Gateway Web page on cross-cultural issues in foster care provides resources on issues of race and culture in out-of-home care, including parenting tips to enhance child development. Another Gateway website section contains materials on supporting transracial and transcultural adoptive families, including state and local examples and a collection of articles and publications designed for use by families.
  • Factsheet for Caregivers on Supporting Children with Histories of Complex Trauma: The National Child Traumatic Stress Network Complex Trauma Collaborative Group has released a new fact sheet targeted specifically at caregivers. It provides information to help them recognize the signs of complex trauma, offers recommendations for what the caregiver can do to help a child heal, and shares tips for self-care.
  • She Thought Her Foster Parents Were Kicking Her Out: For 19-year-old Meredith, life has been anything but easy. Tragedy after tragedy has made her move from home to home, and left her without any family at all. When she was 19, a mentor invited her to live with her family for 6 months to help her get on her feet. As the six month mark approached, a family meeting was called.

    Meredith no doubt expected the worst. Given her past, and the heartache she’d had to endure, who could blame her? But the unexpected news they gave her completely changed her life. Watch the inspirational video.

    Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!