Permanency Tip of the Week: Permanency Readiness – Why are They Not Ready and Willing?
As many youth are beginning a new school year, some appear to approach it with great excitement and joy while others appear to approach with great anxiety, avoidance, and even dread. As parents, mentors, and providers, we may be confused about why our Youth may talk about wanting Permanency as soon as possible, yet when the potential relationship is presented, they may say and/or act like they are not ready for it or want it at all. Our Youth’s natural physical, neurological, and emotional changes during this period of their life are massive and often uneven in nature. This can make the experience of any significant life change, especially Permanency, all the more challenging. When you layer onto such a journey painful and often unresolved thoughts, feelings, and experiences related to their family, it becomes easier for us to see why Permanency readiness can be such a challenge for our Youth. Let us focus on being compassionate, supportive, and patient in helping to guide our Youth through this most important journey at their own pace.
Permanency Success Story of the Week: Jen’s Adoption Search & Reunion Story
Wicki Life – I (Jen) was adopted as a baby and I have always wanted to find where I came from. I especially wanted to know who I looked like and if I had any siblings. In 2015, I finally found what I was looking for. Here is my search & reunion story! I wish I had more video from the trip, but I was just so anxious and emotional that the long car ride was the only time I turned on the video setting! Although I’m super lucky to have a wonderful photographer for a husband who took beautiful photos during the first moment we met 🙂 I did want to respect everyone’s privacy as well, so I didn’t include many photos with full face or any with my siblings. For anyone searching who aren’t sure where to start, I have compiled a list of steps you can take! I hope this helps!
Permanency Related Articles:
Adopted Children Must Have Closer Ties to Their Birth Families
University of Huddersfield – Research headed by a professor has caused an influential social University of Huddersfield work organization to call for a major review of UK adoption law so that children who have been adopted could retain much closer contact with their birth families.
In England, Scotland and Wales, direct contact – more commonly allowed in Northern Ireland – is rarely an option. But the standard alternative of “letterbox contact” is often poorly supported. Adopted children denied contact can experience serious identity issues and when they are free to seek out their birth families at age 18, adoptive parents can be ill-prepared for the emotional consequences…
Professors Featherstone and Gupta have made a series of recommendations – all of them accepted by the BASW – on topics such as the part played by poverty and inequality in the use of adoption and they call for the government to collect and publish data on the economic and social circumstances of families affected. It is also urged that the role of social workers and the human rights and ethics surrounding adoption should be explored. In response, the BASW has called on local and national government to support “the ongoing development of professional autonomy, independence and confidence in social work practice and decision making” and to “support better ethical and human rights practice in improving the experience of all affected by adoption” …
Family Instability and Children’s Social Development
Child Trends – Brief – Family instability refers to changes in parents’ residential and romantic partnerships, such as marriage, divorce, and romantic partners moving in or out of the home. As rates of cohabitation, nonmarital births, and divorce have increased over the past 60 years, more children have experienced some degree of family instability. This increase in family instability can have a negative influence on children’s and adolescents’ functioning and behavior.
Not all families have been equally affected by the increase in family instability. Families in which the parents are not married and have low household income are much more likely to experience family instability than families with married parents and higher household income. Family instability influences children and adolescents’ functioning, as do household income and parents’ relationship status. Family stability can promote positive social behavior in children and adolescents, while instability is associated with social maladjustment, including behaviors such as aggression toward peers, teachers, or parents. This brief examines the links between family instability during childhood, relationship status at birth, and household income in adolescence, and social competence and aggression in adolescence…
National Academics: Adolescent Science Should Transform Systems
Annie E Casey Foundation (AECF) – The Promise of Adolescence: Realizing Opportunity for All Youth – Are youth-serving institutions designed to support adolescents for success as adults? A comprehensive report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says no, documenting an extensive body of research on the importance of adolescent brain development and finding that systems from education to child welfare are ill-equipped to provide what teenagers and young adults need.
“This report shows that the adolescent brain is perfectly designed to do its job, to fulfill its promise to grow and learn rapidly, right at the time a child is transforming into an adult,” said Sandra Gasca-Gonzalez, Casey’s vice president for the Center for Systems Innovation, who delivered opening remarks at a launch event to release the report at the National Academies headquarters in Washington, D.C. “It also shows we have a real opportunity to design more effective systems and equip practitioners who work with young people to do so much better…”
Lessons from Mister Rogers
ACEs Connection – Okay, so I know Mister Rogers may strike many of us as quaint, yesterday, trite, or maybe even scary (eek! those sweaters!), but I recently read his book and found many little nuggets that I thought many of you might find inspiring or fun as well and a lot of them are key to healing from adverse childhood experiences.
Here ya go: 1. A life of spiritual wholeness is represented by looking inward with our hearts (inner disciplines affect how we see others), looking outward with our eyes (how we see others affects how we treat others), and using what we’ve learned practically, with our hands (serving). 2. Slow down. the soul to be hard and resistant. But taking time and going slow nurtures the soul. 3. Be vulnerable. 4. Feelings are okay. 5. Be a good neighbor. 6. Forgive. 7. Hold onto your innocence…If any of these strikes a chord, then I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on how you can actually integrate the lesson into your day to day life. If this became a value or idea that you held in high esteem, how would your actions, words, or thoughts need to shift in order to honor that?
Foster Kids: Lies and Truth
Psychology Today – Too often we get the wrong answers because we ask the wrong question. Years ago, I chatted with a foster teen who shared with me that her younger sister often lied to their foster parents. She told me that the foster parents regularly and swiftly called her sister out on her lies—from stories about past events or what happened earlier that day—and that this perpetuates a vicious cycle. She explained, “I always let my sister tell me all those lies, but then she also tells me true stuff, everything that she doesn’t feel safe to tell [the foster parents]. She doesn’t trust to open up to them…”
Whether their biological parents ignored their needs or acted violently to bring a false semblance of control to the chaos of their own lives, foster kids have experienced rejection. And there are even greater evils: sexual abuses and varying forms of physical and emotional torture. When placed into the homes of well-meaning foster parents, often there exists a gulf between preconceived expectations for their behavior as a member of this new family and the reality of these children’s ongoing emotional warfare…
This is not an easy mission, but it is the right one. If I have not yet established a persuasive case, perhaps the practical words of W.L. Bateman will drive us home: “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.”
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• Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families, and communities are depending on it!
Dr. Greg Manning