Darla Henry & Associates
In This Issue
GREETINGS to our new friends and champions of  3-5-7 Model(c) from:

- Connecticut DCF


- Children's Hospital of       Wisconsin Social Services

The 3-5-7 Model
Interested in our back issues?  You can access them here. 

January 2015

Because children in care have lived in a variety of home environments with various caregivers, the question "Who am I?" is more difficult to answer. The loss experienced by children placed in foster care centers as much on self-identity as on the lost relationship with the birth parent.  Identity confusion results from the loss of biological parent connections, and from having a variety of caregivers in foster care.  Youth have received a variety of messages regarding who they are, what has been acceptable about them, and what has been liked or not liked about them.  The challenge for children in placement, in terms of knowing who they are, is putting together fragments of information in a confusing puzzle.


Within the 3-5-7 Model© framework, we think of identity in two parts, first in terms of sense of self, and second in terms of their understanding of their story.  This month, we are sharing some resources to support the importance of supporting our youth in the search for the information they need for identity development.  Remember, as children find answers to the question, Who am I?, through clarification and integration, they develop a more complete picture of self, a sense of identity, and an integration of life events and family memberships. 



 Please don't tell me I was lucky to be adopted, By Shaaren Pine

An important message published in the Washington Post on January 9, 2015 highlights the realities of adoption that are often overlooked or minimized.


"On the one hand I was having a regular life with friends and sports and sleepovers and school. But I was also always wondering where I came from, who I looked like, when my real birthday was and if my mother was thinking about me when I was thinking about her."


Read the full article here.
The Importance of Knowing Our History



Children who know stories about relatives who came before them show higher levels of emotional well-being, according to Emory University researchers who analyzed dinner time conversations and other measures of how well families work.

The research, by Emory psychologists Robyn Fivush and Marshall Duke, and former Emory graduate student Jennifer Bohanek, was recently published in Emory's online Journal of Family Life.   


"Family stories provide a sense of identity through time, and help children understand who they are in the world," the researchers said in the paper "Do You Know? The power of family history in adolescent identity and well-being".   


Researchers have theorized that family stories are a critical part of adolescents' emerging identity and well-being, but they haven't been able to measure how much kids know about their family history and intergenerational family stories. In this study, Emory researchers developed a "Do You Know" (DYK) scale to try to measure that. The DYK scale has 20 yes/ no questions asking the child to report if they know such things as how their parents met, or where they grew up and went to school.


Researchers studied 66 middle-class, mixed-race, 14- to 16-year old adolescents from two-parent families. They completed the DYK scale, as well as multiple standardized measures of family functioning, identity development and well-being. Teens who knew more stories about their extended family showed "higher levels of emotional well-being, and also higher levels of identity achievement, even when controlling for general level of family functioning," the study found.


"There is something powerful about actually knowing these stories," the study said. However, the authors cautioned that since this is the only study to use the DYK scale, more research is needed before any firm conclusions can be drawn.


The research was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and conducted at the Emory Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life (MARIAL), which publishes Journal of Family Life.

Featured Activity:  Silhouette


Name of Activity:  Silhouette


Key Concept: Working with Life Events

Primary Questions:   Who Am I?     What Happened to Me?

Purpose:  To help the child/youth honor the qualities of birth family members and to discover what traits he carries on from his birth family. 

Materials Needed:  Light (flashlight, lamp, or light from a video camera) to shine and cause a shadow on a flat surface, black or white paper, pencils, pens, crayons, markers, gel pens, information and or/pictures of birth family's physical characteristics and personalities/abilities.

Getting Started:  Use the light to project a shadow of the child's head and upper torso onto a piece of paper that is fastened to a flat wall surface. Trace the outline of the child onto the paper with a pen or pencil. When complete, remove the outline paper from the wall and move to a table with your pens, crayons, gel pens, and markers. With the help of the child, write examples of characteristics that the child gets from her birth family directly onto the silhouette. Example: "I get my blue eyes from my Birth Mother."  or "I am good at playing baseball, like my Uncle Charlie." Anything that the child remembers should be on the silhouette.

Tips and techniques to making the activity meaningful:  Discussion about all types of birth family information are likely to arise from this exercise as are questions about what the child might have inherited from her birth family's characteristics and abilities. Be prepared to listen to the child's pain and to write down questions that you and the child can later investigate together.

-An excerpt from the 3-5-7 Model(c) Workbook