Permanency Tip of the Week: Thankfulness and Gratitude
Poet Henri-Frederic Amiel said “Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” In response to the pattern of repeated loss, abuse, trauma, and betrayal, I think we can see how experiencing and displaying thankfulness and gratitude can be incredibly challenging for the Youth we are privileged to care for and serve. As we start the Holiday season this week with Thanksgiving, let’s focus our efforts on providing and sustaining the gift that our Youth want to be thankful and grateful for – Permanency!
Permanency Success Story of the Week: Teacher Adopts Student with Down Syndrome After His Mom Dies of Cancer
WFLA (MA) – A Massachusetts teacher and her family opened their hearts and lives to a teenager with Down syndrome, taking him in after his mother died of breast cancer. Kerry Bremer met Jake Manning, who has Down syndrome, and his single mother, Jean Manning, more than four years ago. The teacher knew Jake’s mom was battling terminal breast cancer.
“I fell in love with him instantly, and as she got sicker that year, I just thought, ‘What is she going to do?’” Kerry Bremer said. After talking to her husband and their three children, Kerry Bremer made Manning an offer, mom-to-mom, to take care of Jake, should it be needed. “If you need a backup plan for Jake, then our family is happy to make him part of our family. And she said, ‘I’ll sleep better tonight than I’ve slept in a long time,’” Kerry Bremer said…
Manning died last Wednesday. She took a nap after a chemotherapy treatment and never woke up. The Bremers are now Jake’s guardians. “My mom went to heaven,” Jake said. “She’s always in my heart. She loves me so much.” Jake is thankful that his second family was there for him when he needed them most. However, Kerry Bremer says Manning is the real hero: a dying mother who selflessly prepared her son for a safe and loving future. “We shared our boy, and she will live on here in this house,” Kerry Bremer said. Friends of Manning have set up a GoFundMe page to help support Jake and the Bremer family. It has raised more than $25,000.
Permanency Related Articles:
Psychbytes – Janette Yoffe, LMFT – Celia Center – As an adoptions psychotherapist and an adoptee, I want to help bring more awareness and understanding to a very painful, and sensitive circumstance in adoption, the initial separation of mother and child, and the core vulnerabilities that develop for the child placed for adoption, which can hinder having a successful reunion.
A phrase I often use, in the Adopt Salon Constellation support group I facilitate in Los Angeles is “it is not a rejection of you, it is a reflection of them.” This candor is in no way meant to diminish, depersonalize, or take the grief and loss away. It is meant to help gain objectivity, separate from re-experiencing this “primal wound of rejection” and help reframe, rethink, and gather from a distance, the various elements that form one’s experience. This is helpful for the birth family and adoptive family if either party is not ready for a reunion…
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE) – Restrictive therapeutic facilities — inpatient psychiatry units, residential facilities, group homes and juvenile detention facilities — serve the most challenging youth in society. Before admission, these children and adolescents have often been on the receiving end of countless detentions, suspensions, expulsions, restraints, seclusions and corporal punishment. Many have significant trauma histories…
And yet, many restrictive therapeutic facilities still rely quite heavily on the very same behavior modification strategies that may already have proved ineffective before the youth was admitted. This may explain why such facilities still have high rates of restraints, seclusions, staff and resident injuries, and recidivism. Perpetuating ineffective treatment serves no one well.
The model of care I originated and described in my books “The Explosive Child” and “Lost at School” — called Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) — has been implemented with varying degrees of fidelity in countless restrictive therapeutic facilities. The model typically reduces the use of restraint and seclusion dramatically. Perhaps even more important, in the juvenile detention system of the state of Maine it dramatically reduced rates of resident and staff injuries and recidivism, from approximately 75 percent to approximately 15 percent. The model is now being implemented in adult restrictive therapeutic facilities with similar effects…
Portrait of an Adoption – I have been a fan of the forum that Carrie Goldman has created with Portrait of Adoption. Every November I look forward to reading submissions from the adoption triad. My husband and I are adoptive parents to an incredible nine-year-old boy, who is my heart. We have had some rough times these last few years as we have seen him struggle with mental health issues such as generalized anxiety disorder, ADHD, and a possible mood disorder. I can still hear our neuro-psychologist speaking with us as she was doing an evaluation to see what was causing our son to struggle so much… I know you brought him home the day after he was born but he presents like a child who has been through trauma.
More and more has been studied and learned about the fact that even children who have been with their adoptive parents since birth can suffer trauma. For a child, after hearing a birth mother’s heart beating and hearing her voice speaking for forty weeks, and then suddenly having that main person in their life change through adoption, the separation can have a profound impact…
Brainerd Dispatch (Fargo, ND) – On a grassy landscape along a sidewalk in Lindenwood Park at the edge of Fargo, Grace Poitra and Robbie Lass knelt to pray. Lass, from the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota, and Poitra, from the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa in North Dakota, had met four years earlier, and started dating just a few days after they’d first met. Now they had a son together, Joey Little Bear.
Lindenwood Park has often been the site of Fargo-Moorhead’s annual suicide awareness walk each September. The walk aims to shed light on the issue of suicide, which disproportionately affects indigenous people, like Lass. Federal data show a bleak picture for the suicide rate in indigenous communities — the American Indian and Alaska Native population is 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide than racial groups with the lowest rates. But prevention efforts among tribal nations in the region are growing and working to educate youth and adults about risk factors and signs. Prevention coordinators — fighting the effects of historical trauma and marginalization — said they’ve already seen some levels of success. But quantifying that success is difficult…
Behind the high rates of suicide in Indian Country is often what’s known as historical trauma, said Dr. Donald Warne, the director of Indians into Medicine at the University of North Dakota. Such trauma — stemming from massacres like the one at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, and government policies such as decades of forced assimilation through boarding schools — is passed down through generations…
Pop Sugar – My son has been told something about me far too many times in his life — something that’s been said to adopted children for as long as I can remember: that I’m not his “real” mom. One day when he was in first grade, he cried all the way home from school after hearing it. I tried not to get too annoyed, reminding myself that most kids aren’t intentionally being cruel. They just don’t know any better…
Asking someone who is adopted about their “real” parents, or saying the parents they have aren’t their “real” ones, might be an easy way to explain adoption, but it’s not at all accurate. Adoptive parents are that child’s real parents, no matter which way you look at it. We’re the ones kissing away pains from bumps and bruises, cheering them on at sporting events, scheduling doctor appointments, changing diapers, cleaning up vomit, and showering them with more hugs and kisses than they care to get. Those are things “real” parents do, and those children are 100 percent ours. My son is 100 percent mine…Adoption simply means that a child has had more than one set of parents, and that all of those parents are real. I didn’t give birth to my son, but I am his mother. I am real.
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Take care and keep up the Permanency work – Our children, youth, young adults, families, and communities are depending on it!