Teens Dealing with Adoption

August 21st, 2013

IMG_0399My new job gives me the opportunity to educate people about adoption. Most folks don't know much at all about the process, particularly about how adoption plays out in the teen years.  Both our older girls have birth siblings they've never met. Pepper has 5 half-siblings (4 living), and Sunshine has 1 half-sibling.  Pepper has met the youngest of her group and the only girl. I know we say it all the time but it bears repeating, grief is a natural part of adoption. At different ages in the adopted person's life, they grieve anew. Being adopted is hard on both my teens. In Pepper's case, the loss of her birthmother several years ago threw her for a loop. That was the impetus… [more]

Birth Parents

November 24th, 2012

heydiddle-graphicsfairy005bRecently I had the opportunity to sit on a panel for an Adoption Knowledge Affiliates conference.  AKA is a little different than many adoption support groups because it supports all three parts of the adoption triad, birth parent, adoptive parent and adopted person.  The audience for our panel was about half adoption professionals, and the rest of the group pretty evenly split among the triad parts.  It was a truly interesting experience. One member of our panel was a birth mother.  I truly enjoyed meeting her as she reminded me to remind my kids that their birth mothers have not forgotten about them.  Just because they are not hearing from their birth mother, they should not read into that.  I think I do… [more]

Sisters Reunited

October 30th, 2012

DSCN5439In this column, I typically write about our sibling group of three youngsters.  Today, however, I'm going to speak a little about Pepper, our oldest. When Pepper was born,  her birthmother made an adoption plan for her as she could not parent her due to medical issues.  At that time, her mother was raising 5 kids; the 4 oldest were boys and the youngest, a girl, was 6.  The kids all knew about Pepper's birth and knew and understood the reasons she was adopted by our family.  Nonetheless, the children never met as their mother was really struggling with her grief. Through the years we sent letters, cards and pictures which were posted in the family home and shared with the maternal grandparents.  In… [more]

Helping Traumatized Children

December 13th, 2011

TinkerBeyond consequences, logic and control: a love based approach to helping children with severe behaviors is a book by Heather Forbes dealing, primarily, with attachment issues.  This is a very interesting book with an unusual approach to helping traumatized children, which includes not only foster kids, but children who spent time in NICU, children who have been involved in serious accidents, grieving children etc.  Because she recommends a "love based" way of dealing  with behaviors, her approach could be tried on any child, not just those with the most severe behaviors. The main premise of the book is the hardest part to wrap your head around;  the premise is that there are only two primary emotions, love and fear.  She goes on to

Making Sense of a Sibling’s Death at Four

January 15th, 2008
Categories: Grief and Loss

For the last year, our four-year-old has been trying to understand her baby brother’s death. It has actually been two years, this week, since his unexpected death. Unfortunately, her parents were unable to seek counseling during that first traumatic year. Their own grief and guilt prevented them from reaching out to others, for themselves, or for their daughter. Ali was two then, almost three. Her immature questions were met with tears of grief and pain. I know, because I was there. They called me in the middle of the night and I rushed to hold them in their grief. I helped to plan the funeral with my pastor because they had none. Our church had been their daughter’s church for the previous year as well. Our… [more]

Talk About Forgiveness with Your Adopted Children

November 30th, 2007
Categories: Grief and Loss

If you have adopted children, who were older than newborns at the time of the adoption, then your children have been seriously hurt by the actions or words of another. Why not make a point this holiday season to talk to your adopted children about forgiveness. Certainly, the wounds left behind by abuse, neglect, or abandonment can leave lasting feelings of anger, bitterness, and the desire to retaliate someday. Many times adopted children repress or deny their feelings of bitterness or anger. Perhaps discussing how you have been hurt, how it made you feel, and how you felt after you forgave the person, can help your children identify their feelings. Learning to forgive can improve your child’s sense of well-being, as well as improve their physical… [more]

Happy They are Together, Sad About Our Loss

September 3rd, 2007
Categories: Grief and Loss

It has been over three years since they left our home, two children, whom we love very much. They were part of our family for 18 months. We made the mistake of taking “ownership” of them after the rights of their parents were terminated by the state. At the time of the TPR, no other families were interested in adopting them that we knew of, except us. They had come to live with us at two months of age and 2 years of age. There was another family, living three hours away in another state that had adopted the three older siblings. They didn’t know that the TPR had taken place. When they called with questions, they were blown off with confidentiality clauses. Now, all five… [more]

Healing on Mother’s Day

May 13th, 2007
Categories: Grief and Loss

Silhouette Much has been said about the pain that many adopted children have on Mother's Day. Theresa, on the adoptive parenting blog has a great example here of how some children react to the day. Some faced abuse in their former homes or institutions, hence Mother's Day doesn't exactly conjure up images of peaceful home and hearth in their minds. Today, however, I would like to focus on the perspective of an adoptive Mother and how I feel about the pain my children have faced. The mere fact that I love my children causes much pain in my heart when I see their pain. I was chatting with a friend this week who adopted a child at birth. Even though her daughter was only… [more]

Grieving for Birth Family

April 24th, 2007

Copyright Heidi H. 2007 family pic 07 We took family photos over Easter and I thought it would help my youngest kids feel more grounded to see us all together. For Micheline, however, the new photos raised questions in her mind. I've been struggling to blog this week due to overwhelming family responsibilities, but none of them hit me like the brick my daughter tossed my way tonight. She's 6...emotionally much younger sometimes, but for the most part right on target as a 6 year old except for the fact that she's had more pain and trauma in her life than the average child her age. More loss, more questions of "Who am I really?" and "Where do I fit in, in this family… [more]

Leaving China

March 29th, 2007

copyright Heidi H. 2007 looking out window on first flight January 13,2007 When we left Wuhan for the first time with Ben back in October 2000, the tears started flowing and wouldn't stop as we went through security at the airport. All I could think of was that I was taking my son from everything he had ever known. Seeing how he had no language opportunities in the orphanage being deaf, and obviously had no family, I knew he had a brighter future ahead, but a part of me still felt as if I was wrongfully taking him from his heritage, culture and homeland. Reading from adult adoptees' perspectives who were adopted internationally, there is much truth to the fact that… [more]