Permanency Tip of the Week: Responding to: “I Give Up on Having a Family”
One possible analogy for the experience of Youth, especially teenagers, in out of home care is that their job is to get a family since their birth family has not yet been able to sufficiently care for them. Many of our Youth have experienced multiple rejections after we removed them from their birth family. A resulting belief that some may hold is that they will never have a family, so why should they try to find one. We need to normalize this belief, validate the associated painful feelings and help them to shape their behaviors into ones that will not make a tough situation even more challenging (disrupt where they live). A powerful strategy for us to take is to help them grieve their losses and allow them to take a break for a period of time from seeking a family. When we show this compassion, grace and care, this often can help reawaken the spark in them that just maybe they can have a family as well.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: One Year On: Adopted Girl, Reunited with Birth Parents on a Hangzhou Bridge, Returns to China to Teach English, Learn About Herself
South China Morning Post – At 4pm on August 26 last year, 22-year-old Catherine Su Pohler, whom everyone calls Kati, met her Chinese birth parents and older sister for the first time.
Kati’s biological mother, Qian Fenxiang, began to sob when the college student, from the American state of Michigan, arrived at the rendezvous: the Broken Bridge, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Qian ran up to the young woman, whose face so closely resembles her own, flung her arms around the child she had not seen since giving her up at birth, and said repeatedly in Mandarin, “I finally get to see you. Mother is so sorry.”
That heart-rending moment caught the world’s attention. Documentary filmmaker Chang Changfu had been instrumental in bringing the two parties together, and his crew was on hand to record the scene as it unfolded on the eve of the Qixi Festival. The festival is an auspicious one for reunions: the seventh day of the seventh lunar month is the only day of the year when, in Chinese mythology, two star-crossed lovers are allowed to meet on a celestial bridge…
That, in part, is what makes her journey to Hangzhou so extraordinary.
Permanency Related Articles:
Charlotte (NC) Observer – Sh-neila Lee was once in a foster home for less than 24 hours. She doesn’t know why, or what happened. “I just know I was a kid,” Lee recalled. She walked into the house with a little grocery bag of clothes, and that was it — suddenly the woman said she had to leave. The next morning, Lee was gone. Lee, now 31, stayed in over 30 different foster homes during her 10 years in the Mecklenburg County foster care system. What helped her? Cake decorating…Now, Lee’s looking to give back.
Lee started the non-profit Cakes 4 Kids this year in an effort to teach teenagers who are in foster care or experiencing homelessness how to decorate cakes. It’s a skill that can’t be taken away, she said, and the jobs pay higher than minimum wage. Cakes 4 Kids would also provide birthday cakes for younger children, something Lee said she missed when she was in foster care. Many of her birthdays were not acknowledged, she said…
National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) – Supporting older youth in the transition from foster care to adulthood has long been of interest to state legislatures. Nearly a quarter of the approximately 427,000 children in foster care are age 14 or older and more than 18,000 young people age out of foster care at age 18 each year. The challenges facing older youth in foster are immense.
More recently, with new research on brain science and how trauma and frequent placements in foster care may affect early and adolescent development, this interest has grown. Supporting older youth involves many components, including the option to extend foster care or allow reentry into foster care, providing the most normal childhood experience possible through extracurricular activities, educational stability and opportunity, transitioning from foster care to independent living, and housing. When looking at these policy options, the ability to engage current and former foster youth is invaluable.
This toolkit provides an overview of the issues faced by older youth in foster care as well as policy options and checklists for legislators to consider.
PsychCentral – Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW – “Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” – John Muir. As a mother, a therapist, a partner, how good am I to any one if I am not taking care of myself? Not so good at all. Those of us in the helping professions (or roles that give out a lot of nurturing energy) especially need to take a pause and focus on replenishment and self-care. When our cup is not topped off, we run on fumes. And that’s not helpful to anyone, least of all our selves…
So what can be done to keep that life raft at the ready? 1) Stress can be temporary. 2) Take breaks in nature. 3) Take action. 4) Find solace in safe community. 5) Spiritual connection. 6) Meditate. 7) See a strengths-focused and trauma-informed therapist. 8) Rest. 9) Create. 10) Nourish your body/mind/spirit.
Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) – “History of incarceration is a plus.” It’s not a phrase people are accustomed to seeing on job announcements. In fact, as many formerly incarcerated people can attest, their background often precludes them from even qualifying for many jobs. But when a job requires people to use their personal experience to credibly support others through drug or alcohol recovery — as it does for certified recovery mentors (CRMs) — employers seek applicants with backgrounds similar to that of their clients. And, sometimes, that includes mentors who know firsthand how to navigate the transition from incarceration back into the community…
“The job of CRMs is to help people who are trying to go through recovery from substance use, often when they are coming out of facilities,” Zager says. “It could be as simple as helping them get an ID card, or helping them get food stamps or housing, or giving them another support person or advice as they are working through their recovery. “For our youth who have been in facilities themselves, it gives them more credibility because they’ve had the experience, and they know how to navigate the recovery system.”
PBS – ACES CONNECTION – Anyone who follows Dr. Bruce Perry on Twitter knows he’s got lots of feelings and opinions about how some are using the ACE study and ACE scores. It’s not always easy in Tweets to understand the depth of his questions and concerns. If, like me, you respect his work and views and wish you knew more, you are in luck. In this episode of Explore Health which aired on PBS yesterday, he is interviewed and speaks about ACEs.
Please forward this blog, via email and/or social media, to other Permanency Champions and those that could use a healthy dose of Permanency.
If this Blog has been forwarded to you, please sign up to receive it directly by going to my website or emailing me: email@example.com.
If you are interested in my keynote speaking, professional training or consulting services, please contact me through my website, call me: 949-683-0753 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families, and communities are depending on it!