Permanency Tip of the Week: When Will He Ever Just Settle Down?
The desire for our child / youth to “settle down” and for things in our family / world to get back to “normal” is a common wish for many of us. Given that “normal” for many of our Youth is a life full of chaos and change, it is a little easier to imagine how foreign, unsettling and potentially intolerable a quiet, steady, settled-down lifestyle might be for them. It is at these times that we as the caregivers / providers need to focus on supporting the embracing by all of us of a “new normal” in which we focus on ensuring that our Youth experience emotional AND physical safety. This form of safety will help establish the foundation for attachment and bonding with their new / rediscovered sources of Permanency.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: Home and Heart – Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (WWK)
Douglas’ mother put him in the foster care system when he was 10 years old because she said she couldn’t care for him. After five years in the foster system, Douglas told his Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption – Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter that he wasn’t sure he wanted to be adopted. He was about to be placed in pre-adoptive home that had been arranged by a previous caseworker, but Douglas wasn’t feeling good about it. He told his WWK recruiter that the only person he could see being his family was a woman named Karen who worked at his group home. His WWK recruiter went to work. She connected with Karen, interviewed her and discussed that adoption is an unconditional commitment. Karen not only wanted to open her home, she had already opened her heart to Douglas and was very excited to learn that he felt the same way. Douglas was able to be placed in her home. The adoption was finalized and Douglas says it was all because his WWK recruiter listened to him.
Permanency Related Articles:
Time.com – As transracial adoption becomes more common, here’s what every parent should know. Karen Valby is a writer who lives in Austin, Texas. She and her husband, who are white, have two adopted daughters, one Ethiopian and one African- American. In the spirit of searching for better instructions, I interviewed adoptees ranging in age from their 20s to their 50s.
From my many conversations, it became clear that we adoptive parents too often choose to delude ourselves with four comforting but dangerous myths: Myth 1: Color doesn’t matter; Myth 2: If I talk to my kids about race, I’m just creating an issue; Myth 3: No matter what, a “good” school is the best thing for a child; Myth 4: You are the hero of your child’s story
5 Lessons Learned the Hard Way – 1. “Preschoolers experience prejudice. 2. “Children should deeply understand that racism is not their fault; there’s nothing wrong with them. Try to explain without vilifying others.” 3. “Universalize it—white slavery in Greece, the Jewish experience, the struggle that Hispanics face. It’s not just blacks who have suffered; it’s a problem of how people treat each other. You don’t want children to feel that it’s just their race, or who they are.” 4.” Talk about the movement, the wonderful civil rights leaders and how they made a difference. Introduce people your children can identify with and want to emulate.” 5. “When kids are older, parents need to get practical about how to handle potentially dangerous situations like police stops.
New York Times – Foster Parent Diary – We stand in the bedroom together, side by side, clothes and toys piled up around us and empty boxes tossed into the hallway. “So, tell me,” I say. “What do you want to keep on the walls, and what should come down?” … It was the perfect room for our former foster son, a boy who came to us at 3 years old and lived here for nearly a year. Now, a year after that little boy left, another boy is standing next to me, surveying the room he’s been sleeping in every weekend for the past month. The room he dragged thousands of Legos into the week before. The room he’s now moving into, we hope, to stay…
I wasn’t sure I could do this again. Our first round of foster parenthood took a lot out of me. The physical toll from living in uncertainty. The mental toll from navigating around the inevitable potholes of a flawed system. The emotional toll of saying a permanent goodbye to a child I had parented and loved for a year… A wall sticker I had applied slowly, carefully, using the edge of a credit card to smooth out each and every air bubble. When I was done, a hot-air balloon hovered permanently on the wall above turquoise letters. “That should stay?” I ask him. “That should stay,” he says with a nod. For a moment, we stare at it together. We don’t read the words aloud, we keep them inside our own heads: “Oh, the places you’ll go.” “O.K.,” I say. “Let’s keep unpacking.”
The Chronicle of Social Change – The Coalition for Juvenile Justice partnered with the National Network for Youth (NN4Y) and National League of Cities’ (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education, and Families to lead the initiative’s “Collaborating for Change.” With its main focus on youth, the initiative assembled stakeholders from various sectors to provide safeguards for the prevention of those who have experienced the juvenile justice system from later becoming homeless, as well as urging communities to have concern and cultivate support for their homeless youth rather than criminalize them…
In addition to the suggestions for change advocated by the report, included are highlights in which these recommendations have been implemented. For example, the national campaign “Houses Not Handcuffs” aims to “stop the criminalization of homelessness, and push for effective housing policies that end homelessness,” and is led by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. Also, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education have both addressed the need for review and revision of laws and barriers affecting homeless youth.