Permanency Tip of the Week: When Will They Start Acting Like They Want to be Here?
A common complaint voiced by many parents is that they feel taken for granted and that the children in their home act ungrateful. This can be especially challenging for foster and adoptive parents, who know some of our Youth’s often painful and tragic histories. It is critically important that all of us try to fathom the depth and breadth of the risk that our Youth take when they begin to show that they want to be in a home. This fundamentally means that they need to start being vulnerable. This is in direct opposition to the survival mode that many of our Youth experience on a nearly 24 / 7 basis due to their history of abuse, neglect, trauma and loss. What if we shift our focus to being grateful that we have another day to serve them in our home, classroom, community or caseload? Maybe then, they will start feeling a little more comfortable to show just a little bit more vulnerability.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: Abandoned at Birth: Minneapolis Man’s Adoption Story
KARE – 11 – A South Minneapolis man’s heart dropped when he heard a story on the news last month where a baby boy was abandoned at the Cathedral of St. Paul and found by the church custodian. “It was my story too,” said Dann Lickness. “I was Baby John Doe.” On July 7, 1968, on the doorstep of Mount Olive Lutheran Church near Chicago Avenue and Lake Street in Minneapolis, a church janitor found Lickness, just hours old, early on a Sunday morning…My whole family made sure I knew where I came from,” said Lickness. “I’m biracial but interracially adopted. I knew at three years old, ‘how come I am dark?’ They explained to me right away.” Darlene and Ron Lickness were traveling up north with their family when they heard about the abandoned baby boy on the radio. “I poked Ron and I said, ‘I bet you that’s our baby, and it was,” said Darlene Lickness, through tears…
Now, Dann Lickness and his girlfriend dream of adopting the baby boy left at the St. Paul Cathedral. First, they plan to get married. Lickness has learned that doors still open in his life and he now sees his birth mother’s agonizing choice as an act of love, leaving him where he could be saved. “It’s how you overcome the difference that makes a person. I believe if you do good, good will come back,” said Lickness. He visits the church where he was found every year on his birthday, leaving flowers at the doorstep.
Permanency Related Articles:
Creating A Family – Teenagers! Whether you look forward to your children’s teen years or dread them, they will certainly bring change as your child prepare to leave the nest and enter the world as a fully-fledged adult. In addition to the physical developments during puberty and adolescence, many psychological changes take place as well: 1) Ability for higher level and abstract thinking increases; 2) Peer group takes on increased importance; 3) Preoccupation with self; 4) Individualizing – Figuring out who they are- Becoming their own person.
These internal changes and new maturity is often reflected in their understanding of adoption—they are able to see the bigger picture with all the sunshine and clouds that adoption brings. This deepening understanding can manifest in many ways and varies greatly by teen based on their personality, cognitive abilities, openness of their adoption, peer group, and family…By the time our kids are 15 or so, the only real power we have as parents is our relationship with them. These are the years to truly focus on strengthening this relationship.
Emerging Mama – We were well into the third year of our family’s new normal, before I had come to the realization that things really were different for us. That no, all kids really don’t do this-whatever “this” may mean at the moment-and that we were not imagining the stress. We were not imagining the frustration. 4 Reasons: 1) Invisible Disability. 2) There is SO Little Understanding. Few Integrated Solutions. 4) Secondary Trauma.
If you can relate to anything written above, you are certainly not alone. The pain is real. The struggle is real. The trauma is real. The isolation is real. More so, the hope is real and the healing can be real too. For our children and for us. While it may seem like no one understands and it is true that few actually do, there are professionals who can relate. There are communities of parents you can join who will support and encourage you. There are approaches to loving and raising our kids that show promise…By sharing the realities of trauma and the education we have received with everyone who influences and interacts with our children, we can help to begin to move in a new and healing direction.
The Quality Improvement Center for Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation (QIC-AG) is pleased to release a literature review Risk & Protective Factors for Discontinuity in Public Adoption and Guardianship.Developed by the QIC-AG team at the University of Texas at Austin, the purpose of the literature review is to enhance understanding of the risk factors that lead to discontinuity in adoption and guardianship. In addition to the literature review (see attachment), we are releasing a more comprehensive list of citations that are relevant to the QIC-AG target populations, Literature Related to Adoption and Guardianship, Permanence, and Well-Being (see attachment).
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption – Tiffany is a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (WWK) recruiter in Ohio. She works every day to find forever families for the children she serves and she’s always sharing the value of family…But for every child eager to find a home, there is a child who isn’t convinced…yet.
My greatest challenge is a case I’m currently working on. Miranda is a teenager who was not interested in being adopted. Each month I would ask the caseworker and the counselor if she was ready. The answer was always no. I worked with her in the past and always thought we had a good relationship, so when she started to pull away, I took it personally. I kept thinking: “Why was she so challenging? She was making a difficult job more difficult. This was totally frustrating. How could I relate to her? What was going to be the thing that made the difference?” So I thought, if she won’t come to me, I’ll go to her…in the form of a letter. I sat down and wrote her a note. I explained why adoption is important, the benefits of having a family and my desire to help her find the right family for her. You know what? It worked. Just a few weeks ago, she got in touch with me and told me she now realized family is important and asked if I would find her one. I’m hopeful that as we take this journey together, we’ll find a happy ending.
Center for Adolescent Studies – Trauma can be defined as a deeply distressing response to a real or perceived threat to one’s life. Trauma can result from events including, but not limited to, getting physically or sexually assaulted, sudden death of family members or close friends, being emotionally abused or neglected throughout one’s childhood, the result of a catastrophic environmental event like an earthquake or hurricane, and can even result from generations of oppression on a family or community. Trauma is traditionally popularized as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)…This definition however, can be limited and does not take into account the many nuances of subjective experience and behavioral expression. For example, a young child who’s mother neglected him and in turn developed an insecure ambivalent attachment style may develop a worldview that’s very cold and harsh relationally; a young woman living in a community plagued by violence and drugs, but who’s never been assaulted physically herself can still develop hyper-arousal in response to constantly hearing gunshots. These are just a couple scenarios in which trauma can occur and fall outside the exact criteria of PTSD.
Most educators, therapists, and other youth workers know inherently that every young person doesn’t fit in a predefined diagnostic box. We know our students and clients have varied experiences that have impacted their lives in many ways, which can manifest in our classrooms and therapy offices diversely. What’s often missing is a basic understanding of how trauma impacts the brain and how such function, in turn, affects behavior. Knowledge of the traumatized brain can drastically improve how we engage our young people in order to practice a trauma-informed approach…
The Donaldson Adoption Institute – On Christmas Day, I watched Lion with my family and it shook me to my core. Poignant, soul-wrenching and stunning with powerful acting, breathtaking cinematography and a touching musical score, Lion is deserving of its multiple nominations and awards…It’s unrealistic for one film to portray the full complexities of poverty, loss and adoption that Saroo’s single story holds. While there were departures from Saroo Brierley’s 250-page memoir, A Long Way Home, adapting his story to film, I applaud the way Lion keeps Saroo’s perspective as an adoptee central …Lion also affirms quietly the following truths: 1) Children can be active agents of change in their lives when listened to. 2) A mother’s grief when a child goes missing is unfathomable. 3) Children who are adopted are not blank pages; they arrive with a past. 4) The desire to search is healthy. 5) Processing the losses and gains that accompany adoption is an ever-changing, lifelong journey.
Lion is a must-see film for those in the adoption constellation. It’s also for anyone who has felt the love of a mother, sibling or a child. Lion reminds us to never give up on unspoken dreams for our families despite impossible odds. I will never stop searching for my Indian family although the likelihood of a reunion grows infinitely smaller with each passing year. Unlike Saroo, I have nothing – no names, words or memories – to guide me home. We adoptees are so much more than what happened to us even amidst our deepest heartaches and losses that shape part of who we are in this world. Ultimately, Lion shows us that love transcends borders and the courage it takes to listen and follow one’s heart.