What Is The Goal of Therapy for Abused, Adopted Children?

By Ron Huxley, LMFT

One of the first goals of therapy when working with abused, adopted children is to establish a sense of safety and security. Maltreated children learned that they parent / caregivers are to be feared. Ironically, they appear to fear very little else. Certainly, their impulsive actions place them into some scary situations for adoptive parents and they don’t respond to normal discipline. This may be due to the fact that after a child lives in terror in their own home, what else could anyone do that would be as terrible or fearful?

 In therapy, we want to help children re-learn that their caregiver is safe and to learn appropriate dangers of strangers. This is quite a reversal from the parent is dangerous and the world is not to the parent is safe and the world might be… 

If you are looking for a family therapist to help you and your adopted child, contact Ron Huxley today at http://parentingtoolbox.tumblr.com/familytherapy

November is National Adoption Month

Adoption Awareness Month: Can We Heal?

Did you know that every November a Presidential Proclamation launches activities and celebrations nationwide to increase awareness around adoption?

It’s true.

Adoption is a huge deal in the U.S. with 125,000 children adopted annually according to the Evan B. Donaldson Institute.

As a two time adoptee, I join this national conversation to offer a unique forum of conversation–the live teleseminar–to discuss HEALING & THE ADOPTEE. Adoptees are too often shoved into a corner, most often a place we put ourselves. We are the silent sufferers and we are the adaptors.

Can we speak up?
Can we share our stories?
Can we transcend our adoptions?

Each conversation this month will take on these questions and more!

Schedule

Wed, Nov. 2 & 9 @ 1:15 p.m. PST to 2:45 p.m. PST
Featuring: Jeanette Yoffe, Trish Lay & Brian Stanton

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Jeanette Yoffe, M.A., M.F.T., earned her Masters in Clinical Psychology, specializing in children, from Antioch University in June of 2002. She treats children with serious psychological problems secondary to histories of abuse, neglect, and /or multiple placements. She has specialized for the past 10 years in the treatment of children who manifest serious deficits in their emotional, cognitive, and behavioral development.


Trish Adoption Awareness 2011:  Can We Heal?

Trish Lay coaches & motivates people to make positive life change. As an adoptee, she has asked herself: “Who am I?” As she got older it turned to “What is life’s purpose for me?” Trish asks these questions of herself and poses them to others. She has been a force of motivation and inspiration for twenty years.


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Brian Stanton wrote about his reunion and issues around identity in his original solo play BLANK, performed in L.A., NY, Kansas City, Dallas, and Orlando. BLANK has also been seen at national adoption conferences for the Concerned United Birth-parents & The American Adoption Congress. In March of 2012, Brian will bring BLANK to the Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture 4th International Conference in Claremont, CA.


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Listen to the 1st & 2nd: Jeanette Yoffe, Brian Stanton and Trish Lay.


Watch an except from BLANK:


Sunday, Nov. 13 @ 11:00 AM & 12:30 PM PST
Featuring: Nancy Verrier, Speaker, Author & Therapist

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As a licensed MFT (marriage and family therapist) Nancy Verrier has been practicing psychotherapy and counseling in Lafayette, California, for over 20 years. Her specialty is working with people affected by relinquishment and adoption. Her books include the groundbreaking The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child Adoption Awareness 2011:  Can We Heal?  & Coming Home to Self: The Adopted Child Grows Up Adoption Awareness 2011:  Can We Heal?  . Nancy and Jennifer will talk about issues that impact adoptees that last a lifetime. Nancy will take your questions during this call.


Sunday, Nov. 20 @ 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PST
Featuring: John Sobraske, MA, Adoption Attachment Counseling
Linda Hoye, Writer, Editor & Adoptee

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John Sobraske is an adopted person, a stepparent of adopted children and an adoption psychotherapist in private practice. His research interests include adoption-related history, anthropology, media and mythology; depth work with adult adoptees; and the use of natural medicine and psychoenergetics for healing.


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Linda Hoye is a writer, an editor, and an adoptee. She has reunited with some members of her birth family but both of her birth parents had passed away prior to reunion. She is a member of the Forget Me Not Family Society, the Adoption Council of Canada, and the American Adoption Congress. She recently finished writing a memoir charting a course through a complex series of relationships stemming from her adoptive family and two birth families. Linda maintains a blog called A Slice of Life Writing


Wed., Nov. 30 @ 1:00 p.m. PST
Featuring: Marnie Tetz, President of the Forget Me Not Family Society (FMNFS) & Bernadette Rymer, Director & Newsletter Editor FMNFS

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Marnie Tetz of the Forget Me Not Family Society, Vancouver BC In 2000, “The Post Adoption Registry in Alberta matched me with a brother who had also registered, the following year I paid for a search and my mother was found, the next year I was united with another brother and sister. I had started my search almost 20 years before. The Forget Me Not Family Society has been a life saver for me. I became a director, and then 2 years later Vice President. At the AGM in 2010, I took over the role of President.”


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Bernadette Rymer: “My daughter and I have been in reunion for 18 years. Our first years were tough as we struggled with feelings and questions of how to develop a meaningful relationship. Things improved dramatically as we became involved in the Forget Me Not Family Society which was my first opportunity—after 38 years—to talk about the loss of my daughter and the trauma that had stunted my growth. Since becoming involved in the FMNFS a passion has stirred within me to reach out to others who have similar experiences, heartaches, struggles and successes in the reunion process.”

International Number provided for this very special call with our Canadian friends.

Do not miss these incredible conversations which will also be recorded and provided to those who sign up! Fill in the form below and I will send a confirmation of your registration for these events and details on how to join in the calls.


Ron Huxley Recommends: November is National Adoption Month and healing is at the core of my work with families. I encourage you to check our Jennifer’s website and her teleconferences on “healing and the adoptee.”

Creating an Adoption Lifebook: Instructions and Suggestions to Get You Started

Creating a lifebook is a wonderful way to positively affect the life of a foster or adopted child. Getting started may be the hardest part, here’s how.

Getting started on your child’s lifebook is the hardest part. Once you begin, you may find it hard to stop because it’s so much fun!

Supplies Needed

There are many websites online where you can purchase ready-made lifebooks with fill-in-the-blank pages, similar to a baby book. The problem with using these type of books for a lifebook is that they are one-size-fits-all. Since every adoption and foster care situation is unique, many parents find that they can make very nice lifebooks with a few inexpensive supplies.

First you will need a 3-ring binder, approximately two or three inches thick to allow room to grow over the years. A binder with a clear pocket on the front will allow you to make a cover for the lifebook that is personalized. If you have an older child that you are creating a lifebook with, let him design the cover, making it even more special to him.

Second, you will need a few more supplies:
  • Blank paper—typing paper will work; however, many find that cardstock works better and gives you a nice sturdy page.
  • Clear pages protectors- to keep the pages spot free and for easy loading into the binder.

Next, here is where the fun begins! A lifebook is as individual as the person creating it. You can scrapbook, design and print pages from the computer, or use various mediums to create pages such as: markers, stickers, paint, colored pencils and so forth. Use your imagination and do what you enjoy doing.

 

The other point to keep in mind is that there are no set rules for lifebooks. They can be as simple or as extravagant as you want to make them. The important thing is to put lots of love into it.

Pages to Include

Lifebooks begin at the beginning of the child’s life- birth. Start by creating pages to tell about his birth parents, such as: names, birth dates, and places of residence. Also, children love to read about the day they were born. Along with the traditional information, include fun details such as the weather on the day they were born, the name of the president and other political figures, titles of popular songs, names of celebrities, and so forth.

More Page Ideas

Once you get started you will find that page ideas come more easily. A few additional page ideas are:

  • Adoption Day
  • Pets
  • The story about why you decided to adopt
  • Where his name comes from and what it means
  • A list of other names you considered
  • Travel information and photos (if you traveled to get him)
  • A local newspaper from the day he was born/ adopted
  • Baby showers, adoption party, or ceremony photos and details
  • Political and Current Affairs
  • Pages for each year of his life

How to Word Delicate Subjects

Handling difficult subjects, such as why the child was placed for adoption or how he came into foster care can be tricky, but should not cause you to shy away from adding this type of information to his lifebook.

The key to answering these types of questions on the pages of the lifebook is to keep it simple and keep it on the child’s level. For instance, if the child was the product of a rape, don’t state it as such. This sort of detail is best left for a one-on-one conversation when he is much older and can understand it, and adequately cope with it. Simply say that his birth mother and birth father were unable to take care of him and wanted him to have a family who could take care of him and love him.

Similarly, a child who has suffered abuse and maltreatment does not need all the gory details. A matter-of-fact explanation that his birth parents were unable to take care of him will suffice until he is old enough to handle the information.

Keep It Going

Some choose to end the lifebook with the child’s arrival into the adoptive family; however, life doesn’t stop with the adoption. Consider adding to your child’s lifebook year after year and create a treasure that will be cherished forever.

Ron Huxley’s Review: I am getting ready to teach a class on Adoption Clinical Skills and doing a little online research. Came across this excellent article on creating life books. If you and your adoptive children have NOT done this yet, I would encourage you to do so. It is healing for all members of the adoption constellation.