Permanency Tip of the Week: Preparing EVERYONE for the Permanency Process
Within the Permanency process, most of the effort is understandably focused on the youth and the caregivers. This sends the dangerous message that these are the only ones who need to be addressed in the process. The preparation of the entire System of Care (with proper, signed release of information forms) that must surround, support and follow our youth and their Permanent connections is critically important. Examples of this System of Care include, but are not limited to: social workers, judges, attorneys, mental and physical health providers, teachers, spiritual providers, extended family members, cultural brokers, coaches, and neighbors. Our Youth and Permanent connections most of all need Permanency within their System of Care. Some members will understandably need to leave the team at certain points of time (ex. Judges when the Court case closes). However, special attention needs to be paid to ensuring that this transition is as smooth as possible and that any void is filled with a new source of ongoing support.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: “Adopting from Foster Care is Not a Sprint—It’s A Marathon”
AdoptUSKids – “There will be road blocks and obstacles on your path to family. But keep going! Don’t give up.” This June, Missy Segota wrote to us with some good news: “My husband and I are finalizing the adoption of four siblings we found on AdoptUSKids! They have ongoing needs and lots of energy—and they were meant to be our children.”
We talked with Missy about their adoption journey and what she learned along the way.1) Why did you decide to adopt? 2) Can you describe the process of being matched with your children? 3) You doubled the size of your family that June afternoon! What have been the greatest rewards? 4) What is your advice to other parents who are considering adopting from foster care?
Permanency Related Articles:
Allison Davis Maxon – Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) are stressful or traumatic events, like abuse, neglect and trauma. They may also include family dysfunction such as witnessing domestic violence or growing up with family members who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. ACE’s are strongly related to the development and prevalence of a wide range of health problems throughout a person’s lifespan, including those associated with substance abuse and addiction…
Recent research has demonstrated a strong relationship between childhood trauma, neglect and other adverse experiences, and substance use disorders and behavioral problems. When children are exposed to chronic stressful experiences, their neurodevelopment can be disrupted as their biological system is exposed to toxic stress during critical stages of their development…
For teenagers, the higher the ACE’s score, the more likely they are to engage in increased high risk or self-injurious behaviors such as; smoking, drinking, illicit drug use, promiscuity / pregnancy, cutting, suicidal ideations and/or attempts…The most significant factor that will help a child cope with adverse childhood experiences such as exposure to violence, trauma or abuse is having at least ONE dependable, meaningful, ‘primary attachment relationship’. One adult caregiver who has developed a positive, trusting and committed relationship with the child is the most critical factor in assisting the child in healing from a traumatic history…
Australian Broadcasting Network – Lemn Sissify is the son of two highly accomplished Ethiopian parents. One was an airline pilot. The other worked for the United Nations. Lemn didn’t know anything about his parents growing up, as he was raised in a white foster family in Wigan on the outskirts of Manchester. When he was 12, he was sent to live in a children’s home. After he was released from state care at 18, Lemn saw his birth certificate for the first time and learned his real name, which means ‘why’ in Ethiopian. He was also given letter from his mother written in 1968, pleading for his return.
Around the same time Lemn self-published his first book of poetry, which he sold to striking miners in Manchester. He eventually met his birth mother and discovered more about his father, who had died in a plane crash in 1973. Today Lemn is one of Britain’s most loved poets, and he is the Chancellor of Manchester University.
Zero to Three – Whining can be like nails on a chalkboard. Here’s why whining happens—and how you can help. Why do children whine? 1) It’s the best they can do in the moment… What to do? Cuddle your child and offer gentle comfort to help her begin to regulate.2) Toddlers don’t have the words they need… What to do? Take a moment to be a detective—what might the whining mean? 3) They are overwhelmed or run down…What to do: Offer soothing. A child who is overwhelmed needs compassion and a parent’s help to feel calm again.
Whining can get us charged up. It always helps if we calm ourselves before responding. Take a deep breath and then act. If whining is at an all-time high (when your child is between 2 and 4 years old), you may need some additional strategies: 1) Name your child’s feelings. 2) Get closer and offer comfort. 3) Try a silly game, a distraction, or a choice. 4) Change the story you’re telling yourself.
And one important strategy to use when your child isn’t whining: Pay attention to the times when your child is able to express a need without whining: “You were hungry and asked for a snack in a calm and kind voice—thank you!” or even someday: “Thanks for keeping your cool when I said ‘no.’”
Confessions of an Adoptive Parent – Mike Berry – It’s not always the case, but often, men can be the toughest nut to crack when it comes to the adoption journey. I know from personal experience. There are a few reasons why this happens, and some key steps you can take to eventually arrive at the same place with him on this journey…Your husband may not be against it, he may just be afraid. Nagging, begging, or criticizing doesn’t work. (but you probably already know that…
There’s a better way to go about things. As I think back to our early days, Kristin exercised incredible wisdom in how she approached the topic. What she did for me back then, was nothing short of brilliance. Here are the 5 biggest things she did that eventually led me to fall in love with adoption…1) Listen to his fears. 2) Invite him on the journey. 3) Create space for community. 4)Pray. 5) Give it time.
This may be like turning an aircraft carrier. Lots of time, lots of space. Your husband may not respond immediately to your prayers, your invitations, or your listening ear. You have to give this time. And it may be a lot of time. She brought up the idea of adoption in 1998. We finalized our first adoption in the summer of 2002. Hang in there. Remember…a lot of time and a lot of space. If you two are meant to adopt…it will happen! Today, I love my children more than anything, and I couldn’t imagine my life without the storyline of adoption. I wouldn’t change a thing. Your husband will arrive to this place. It just takes time.
New York Times – Although many of us are able to speak frankly about death, we still have a lot to learn about dealing wisely with its aftermath: grief, the natural reaction to loss of a loved one. Relatively few of us know what to say or do that can be truly helpful to a relative, friend or acquaintance who is grieving. In fact, relatively few who have suffered a painful loss know how to be most helpful to themselves…
The books share a most telling message: As Ms. Samuel put it, “There is no right or wrong in grief; we need to accept whatever form it takes, both in ourselves and in others.” Recognizing loss as a universal experience, Ms. Devine hopes that “if we can start to understand the true nature of grief, we can have a more helpful, loving, supportive culture.”
We can all benefit from learning how to respond to grief in ways that don’t prolong, intensify or dismiss the pain. Likewise, those trying to help need to know that grief cannot be fit into a preordained time frame or form of expression. Too often people who experience a loss are disparaged because their mourning persists longer than others think reasonable or because they remain self-contained and seem not to mourn at all…
To those who grieve, she suggests finding a nondestructive way to express it. “If you can’t tell your story to another human, find another way: journal, paint, make your grief into a graphic novel with a very dark storyline. Or go out to the woods and tell the trees. It is an immense relief to be able to tell your story without someone trying to fix it…” Whenever possible, to decrease suffering choose to engage in things that help and avoid those that don’t.
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Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families, and communities are depending on it!