'Tis the Season...
During these holidays, many adoptive families have a difficult time.
For kids and adolescent adopted ones, the awareness of belonging and not belonging in your family of adoption may come up. Children tend to think more about their birth family during these times and may feel a bit sad. Some may mask sadness with anger and acting out. Adults often deal with similar issues around the holidays as well.
For some it is a time of joy and great memories, but not for everyone. For both birthparents and adoptive parents, the time may be quite difficult.
It is best to plan events clearly and to have them be predictable for children.
We at PACT hope that your Thanksgiving was peaceful and delicious and that whatever holiday you celebrate in the time of the solstice is wonderful and brings you closer to family and friends.
PACT (pre/post adoption consulting and training)
has been growing slowly.We see several consultations per week, and do some coaching as well. There have been many trainings as well--especially in November, which is National Adoption Month.
The Year-Long New York course is going wonderfully. We have a group of nine therapists who meet monthly,and we have had three meetings so far. We do a combination of training and case consulting, and it has been very stimulating and educational for all. Phyllis has kindly offered her office space and we are working on finding a slightly larger spot for the winter/spring course, because it is a bit 'cozy' for so many of us. Our meeting in November was after the terrible storm Sandy, and many of the folks had no power until just before we met and had some devastating stories of friends and family.
I was also in NYC for St. Johns University conference in October, which was (as always) exciting and full. I received a wonderful the BJ Lifton/Annette Baran Lifetime Achievement Award, which I was honored to receive in the name of my dear friends and mentors Annette and BJ.
- I presented at The Children's Trust Fund Conference in November - it was a very large gathering of folks who care a great deal about children and their rights and wellness.
- I did two days of keynotes and workshops for Early Education at the Family Engagement Conference. One was in Amherst at UMass, and one was at Bridgewater State University. The emphasis was on adoption, dual language issues for children, and GLBT awareness. This was a very informative and well attended training.
- I also taught the Adoption Credentialing course at University of Connecticut, which I have done for about five years. This is s a great way to reach a new flock of social workers that are going to touch many of the families in the world of foster care and adoption
- I did a training at Wayside Youth and Family Support Network for parents and professionals
The consultations have been:
- About adult adopted people and search and reunion,
- About bullying and school fit for many children,
- About how to tell children more of their story as they grow and ask questions,
- About how to begin a relationship with birth family and adoptive family,
- About kinship arrangements and the difficult boundaries they pose,
- About acting out adolescents and how to manage the peace at home,
- About young adults living at home and disrespecting their parents, and
- About parents who have not been truthful with their children about their stories leading to the children not trusting them.
There have been three reunions with birthparents.
..many phone calls between birth and adoptive parents, and some meetings with young couples considering adoption and wanting to explore what would be best for them - and more important for the child.
I am going to a wedding in Dublin Ireland next week and will be doing a 'little day about adoption' with my colleague Valerie O'Brien at UCDublin. We seem to have some momentum with our project when we are able to get together and we are hoping to get a bit of funding to begin the research and writing more formally. Details
PACT is a busy place. Phones, emails, lots of chapters, articles, and writing due - but delayed.
It is a lot -and that is why we are seeking some interns for next year, maybe an extern or intern for next semester, and a research intern - the job descriptions are attached and please feel free to forward them to help to find us good people who can learn here and can be better prepared to serve this population.