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April 2017


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May 2, 2016 | Sonja McLean

 We have a new logo! 

A special thank you to Chelsae Carlson, Design and Marketing Specialist at PATH, for creating a logo unique to ND Post Adopt Network.  We hope to become recognized as a service providing for all adoptive families, regardless of the type of adoption.

The 5 Senses

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March 30, 2016 | Morgan Nerat, LSW

We have five senses – sight, smell, sound, taste and touch.  Each one of them is really important in our everyday life. Your senses work together to let your brain know what is going on around you. When children are matched with their forever family, it is an exciting time! But this can also be a scary endeavor with all of the unknowns and changes. There will be different smells, different tastes, different surroundings, different schedules, different family, a different bed, a different pillow, different everything! We can help our children transition into their forever families by trying to maintain the same senses they have experienced. How can you make this transition easier for your children? I’m glad you asked!

Smell: Have you ever come across a scent that reminds you of someone? You could use the same kind of laundry detergent your child’s previous foster family used to help your child feel more comfortable. If your child is young and has not transitioned into your home yet, perhaps you can sleep with a blanket or a pillow case for a week to get your ‘scent’ on it, and then give it to your child to sleep with to help them get accustomed to your scent. I once told my dad that he smells like home and safety. He thought I was strange, but regardless, his smell still comforts me. (He will be so embarrassed when he reads this)

Taste: Ask your child what their favorite foods are and how the food is prepared (or ask the previous foster family). Their favorite food might be hamburgers, but how well done is the meat? Were the hamburger buns homemade or a certain brand from the store? Does your child like to squirt the ketchup in the style of a happy face on their hamburger before they eat it? This may seem trivial to us, but this could mean a lot to your child. My niece Emma is a great example as she dislikes everybody’s mashed potatoes, except she LOVES my mom’s mashed potatoes. Therefore my mom prepares mashed potatoes for Emma every time she is at their house and Emma feels special that grandma made it specifically for her. (My mom’s secret? She adds milk :))

Sight: Does your child like a nightlight in their bedroom? Simple accommodations could help your child feel more safe and secure. Does your child have a past that involves food not being accessible to them? Perhaps your child is worried about not having enough food or worried about their next meal? I expect adoptive families to work closely with their adoption worker and your child’s therapist about these fears, but perhaps it could be a simple solution such as showing your child where the granola bars are stored and ensure they are easily accessible to your child. Maybe have a bowl of different fruit options on the kitchen counter that your child can take from at any time. Giving your child the visual reassurance that food is always available to them may help calm their mind. Again, please consult with your child’s therapist and adoption worker if this is a concern.

Sound: Does your child like to have a fan on at night? Does it help your child fall sleep if they listen to the radio or do they like complete silence while they sleep? Ask your kiddo or ask their previous foster parents. Does your child like to listen to music when they are upset or when they need time to be alone? Ensure they have access to their favorite music when they need it.

Touch: Does your child have a favorite blanket or a favorite stuffed animal? Make sure these items are with your child when they transition into their adoptive home. Does your child like to get their back rubbed while they are falling asleep? Does your child feel uncomfortable with hugs? Wonderful questions to ask your child.

There are countless more options that we can do to help our children with the transition into their forever home. Please talk to your adoption worker for more ideas!

Knowledge is POWER!

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March 25, 2016 | Sonja McLean
 Happy Friday!

(Anyone catch the “School House Rock” reference in the title there? hehe.)

We all know learning is a part of life. We learn formally and informally through the people and circumstances around us. The lessons learned easily are blessings; unfortunately a lot of times we learn the hard way.  Trial and error is sometimes the best teacher especially when it comes to doing things that we have never experienced before.  Words and instructions are a helpful foundation, but its not until we are DOING that we actually get our real lesson. And much like children, we don’t always learn the first time around.

It’s okay to not know everything. You are not alone in feeling lost and frustrated because you don’t know what to do next. There are others out there experiencing the same thing. I promise.  One of the great things we are doing at ND Post Adopt is connecting families who are/have experienced the same thing. Talking to someone who has gone through the same thing, someone who gets it is so encouraging!

You adoptive families out there, you are STRONG.  Your situations are hard, your circumstances unique. You have been angry, you have been hurt. Very few people understand what you are going through-many will try, but few truly understand. But this doesn’t stop you. You have stuck with your kids when it is difficult; you have kept your voice calm when all you’ve wanted to do is scream and yell and tantrum right next to them. You kept a smile on your face and stood strong even when you wanted to crumble. You take things one day at a time, looking back on hard days knowing that if you got through those, you can get through this day. You are a superhero. You are not alone.

If you are looking to connect with another adoptive family, please contact me. I am happy to help in any way I can. 

Happy Easter everyone!

Stay tuned for information about Post Adopt Support Groups coming to YOUR area of the state!

Overcoming Sheer Exhaustion

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February 29, 2016 | Sonja McLean
 The creators of have a great podcast called The Honestly Speaking Parenting Podcast. You can find them through your iTunes store (for iPhone users) or through a podcast player app (for Android users).  In their podcasts, they address various topics relative to parenting children who have experienced trauma. Check out this link  to hear their discussion: “How to Overcome Sheer Exhaustion in Parenting”.  And feel free to start some discussion on the topic in the comments section below!

Also, be sure to “like” ND Post Adopt Support on Facebook. We are getting close to 200 followers and once we hit that, everyone will be in a drawing for PATH and AASK gear! 🙂

Have a great week!

Meeting You Where You Are

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February 22, 2016 | Sonja McLean

 Good morning! It has been a little over a month since ND Post Adopt Support got rolling.  We have made lots of progress and are so excited at the momentum this service is moving forward with.

As you can see from our main home page on the website, our mission statement is: “To maintain and enhance adoptive families well-being by providing a network of supportive and responsive resources.” While that sounds all good and “social work like”, I do want to break this down a little.

Parenting is hard, regardless of how your children were added to your family. If your children were added to your family through adoption, you know very well that there are specific adoption issues that come along with it.  Past traumas, maintaining relationships with birth families, mental health concerns, navigating community providers, and helping your kids explain how they became part of your family are just a few of the many additional things that may continually float in the back of your mind.

ND Post Adopt Support was created to focus attention on your specific needs as an adoptive family. If you are struggling and need a place to vent, someone to help you navigate community resources, help in brainstorming what to do first, someone to advocate for your child in the school system, that’s what we are here for. The best part about this is that our support is not limited to cookie-cutter systems, but we can help you with what you need.

It is common that adoptive families face unique challenges in parenting as their children hit different developmental stages that may require ongoing services/supports. We believe that families should have early access to these services to prevent disruption and minimize conflict in your home.  So please reach out! As we continue to move forward with building this service, we look forward to putting support groups in place throughout the state, as well as online support groups and trainings so you can still attend from the comfort of your own home.  We will have mentor families available to help you through difficult situations. We will have a database of services available in your area.

As the Post Adopt Coordinator, I am based out of the PATH office in Fargo. I do cover the whole state and expect to travel, so please give me a call! We also welcome ANY ideas and suggestions as we continue to develop this very exciting service.  As always, feel free to leave any comments below 🙂

Happy Monday!


P.S. Be sure to find us and “like” us on Facebook at: or by searching ND Post Adopt Support. Contests for PATH gear will soon be held for all who are part of our FB family.

A Less Anxious Brain

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January 27, 2016 | Sonja McLean

Kids and adults alike all deal with anxiety on some level. Anxiety means different things to different people. It tends to come at different intensities based not only on acute circumstances, but also one’s life experiences. Acknowledging anxiety without letting it get the best of you can be tricky. Dr. Daniel Siegel gives some great suggestions on how to take care of what he calls your “mindsight” in the following article from the Huffington Post:

Sculpting a Less-Anxious Brain

…and parents, once you have a better understanding of your own anxiety and triggers, you will be better able to help your kiddos identify theirs as well!