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Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

November 2012 Archives

Sometimes videos of people sharing their experiences are the most profound. As we near the end of National Adoption Month, we have put together some resources for videos on a variety of topics related to permanency and adoption.

Adoption Learning Partners is a resource for educational resources about adoption for professionals, parents, adopted individuals and anyone connected to adoptive families. ALP YouTube playlist

Adopted, a movie about intercountry adoption by Barb Lee, comes with a helpful guide that professionals can order for use in trainings as well as several videos on their website.

The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections has a wonderful Digital Stories from the Field series which features youth and young adult perspectives, parent perspectives, and worker perspectives among others.

Transracial adoptees speak

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Transracial adoption has always been controversial. Whether or not you agree with the practice of transracial adoption, it is important that child welfare and adoption practitioners and foster and adoptive parents understand that transracially adopted children and youth will have additional identity development needs and concerns than same-race adoptees.

Just as every adopted person feels differently about their experiences, the views of those adopted transracially differ as well.

The follow are a few videos of transracial adoptees sharing their experiences.

Struggle for Identity - this film is one of the oldest that includes transracial adoptee voices. The film shows a variety of perspectives from transracial adoptees, although viewers often react most strongly to the two more vocal adoptees featured in this clip, Michelle and John. Understanding that these adoptees are expressing their experiences is important so that adoptive parents can think ahead of time about how they will address these issues for their own children.

From the film Adopted comes these adult transracial adoptees and professionals discussing identity issues.

Rhonda Roorda, co-author with Rita Simon of the book In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories, discusses transracial adoption in this news story

Aaron Stigger, with his mom Judy, discuss transcial adoption

More youth voices

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What does it feel like to be adopted?

Check out these voices of the adoptees themselves.

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More from the Naitonal Adoption Month website.

For adopted youth - staying safe online

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Online social networking sites allow youth in foster care and adoption to connect with others who have shared their experiences. However negotiating social relationships - online ones included - can still be tricky. Youth can can be at risk, and for foster and adopted youth, issues such as who to trust, what to share, and understanding good boundaries in relationships all have online social networking implications as well in person-to-person interactions.

The National Adoption Month 2012 website by the Children's Bureau offers some great resources for youth to help them be safe while on social networking sites. Here are some great resources:

  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children offers an English and Spanish version of their NSTeens resource of videos and comics aimed to help tweens navigate the internet.
  • Social has a guide for safe and responsible social networking
  • Social Media Safety, created by the Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development, is a guide for youth
Resources for social workers, foster and adoptive parents and others working with foster and adopted youth:
  • The state of Oregon has created an "Internet Usage Greement for Youth In Care and Foster Parents" that might be a helfpul guide for other parents and caregivers.
  • Kids that have been adopted might use the internet to find birth family. This guide from the Child Welfare Information Gateway discusses using social media as a tool for finding birth family.
  • Dale Fitch from the University of Missouri wrote "Youth in Foster Care and Social Media: A Framework for Developing Privacy Guidelines" in the Journal of Technology in Human Services. For an article about Dr. Fitch, see this article in the Univesity of Missori News Bureau.
  • From the Foster Kids Own Story blog - Foster Care's Social Media Problem.

Adoptive family perspectives

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Today we are bringing you family perspectives.

From the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, their series Digital Stories from the Field includes foster/adoptive family perspectives. These eleven videos provide a variety of experiences of families that have adopted children and youth from foster care.

A diverse group of perspectives are included:
LGBT adoption
kinship adoption
foster parent adoptionadopting siblings
international adoption

Social media and adoption

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Social media can be a tool for promoting adoption and it can also be tricky to manage. Adoption agencies might fear using social media because of concerns for privacy issues and unfamiliarity with the social media tools.

However, social media is being used more and more by adoptive parents and children and youth, so it is important for agencies and social workers to understand how social media works and ways to use it in beneficial ways, as well as to help guide others in using it ethically.

For National Adoption Month 2012, the Children's Bureau offers some guides for professionals to assist them in using social media as an asset for increasing permanency and adoption for children and youth waiting for adoption.

Pages include:

Adopt US Kids has a wonderful infographic on how agencies can determine which social media tools they should use to reach out to prospective families. They even have "101" guides for using Facebook and Twitter.

If your agency has been concerned about jumping in to the social media pool, these resources should help you determine the best way to begin.


Remembering that adoption is complex

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During the celebrations and hoopla that National Adoption Month brings, it can be easy to forget or dismiss the reality that adoption is not always the fairy tale ending to a child's life. A child brings with him or her a lifetime of pre-adoption history that is often very difficult and filled with trauma.

Trauma is not "cured" through a "forever family" alone. The adoptive or permanent family (and we must remember and acknowledge legal guardianship is also considered a permanent placement) that is best able to provide that supportive platform is one in which the child or youth's history, including trauma, grief and loss, is acknowledged and addressed.

Some children and youth continue to mourn and grieve at the same time as they embrace their adoption. This is, as many experts have acknowledged, a paradox - that one can understand the losses that adoption has brought as well as the gains.

This paradox is one that many children and youth understand very well. It is the adults in their lives - the social workers, the foster and adoptive parents, other family members, and society - that often has a harder time understanding or acknowledging this paradox.

So as we spend this month discussing the benefits of adoption, let us also be aware that there may be extra supports that children, youth and their adoptive or permanent families might need to stabilize and strengthen these placements.

Below are some resources for helping children and families:

Resources to help families find a therapist that understands adoption is a challenge that many adoptive parents say is critically needed. Here are some resources for finding skilled therapists that understand the core issues and loss and grief involved in adoption:

Today's National Adoption Month post is aimed at foster youth. Although adoption is often presented as being about the best interests of the child, in reality the child or youth in foster care has very little say or input about their own permanency planning. Social workers, Guardian ad litems or CASA workers, judges and foster and prospective adoptive parents often appear to be talking about your permanency plans without actually asking you what you want or how permanency is going to impact your future.


If you are a case worker, foster parent, prospective adoptive parent, GAL or CASA, and you are reading this post, you should be aware of these resources and offer them to the youth you are working with.

If you are a youth and you are reading this post, these resources might be interesting and helpful to you and you could use these as a starting point for discussion with your social workers, GAL/CASA or others in your life.

Permanency is about YOU and your future, and that is why you need to know what all the things your social workers or other people in your life are saying when they talk about permanency and adoption.

Here are some resources for you, to help you understand more about permanency and adoption:

To start, here is a video of foster youth, parents and social workers sharing their experiences

Here is a video developed for the 2011 Summit on Youth Permanency on the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation website. The youth featured in this video talk about what permanency and family means for them.

The Children's Bureau's National Adoption Month website has a page of resources dedicated just for youth in foster care. Check out the resources on their page.

Other resources:

Minnesota families celebrate adoption

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On Sunday, November 4th over 400 families participated in the Circus of the Heart, a joint effort of the MN Department of Human Services and the Minnesota Adoption Resource Network.

According to the Star Tribune, the event was created to celebrate the adoption of 540 children from foster care in 2011.

Commissioner Lucinda Jesson opened the event on Sunday, acknowledging that the state's efforts to increase foster care adoption has made a significant difference for the children in Minnesota. MN DHS spokesperson Beth Voight remarked that in the fifteen years since Circus of the Heart has been educating and celebrating foster care adoption that the numbers of children waiting for adoption has dramatically decreased from 800 in 1997 to just over 350 today.

Click here for the full story.

National Adoption Month 2012

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It's National Adoption Month time again. Since President Clinton expanded National Adoption Week to National Adoption Month in 1995, National Adoption Month has been an effort to bring attention to the children and youth in foster care in need of adoption.

Throughout this month we will be highlighting stories about foster care adoption and bring attention to helpful resources for families and professionals.

For today's post we share a message from the Children's Bureau about National Adoption Month initiative - helping states use social media as a tool for recruiting parents for children and youth in foster care.

On the Children's Bureau's National Adoption Month website you will find a host of resources. Follow along to the AdoptUSKids twitter feed, watch videos, share their widgets on Adoption in the Digital Age and make use of the many resources available for youth, parents and professionals.