Supporting Transracial Youth

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Transracial adoptees can often struggle with their racial identity as they may align with – the race and ethnicity they were born into, as well as the race and ethnicity which they’re adopted into.  Often transracial adoptees are seen as too much of the other race.  For example, they may be viewed as more of the race or ethnicity they were born into, or more of the race or ethnicity they were adopted into.  This leads transracial adoptees to feel as though they don’t belong in either culture, as though they’re stuck in the middle.  One of the responsibilities for parents in raising a transracial adoptee is assisting them in positive self-identity.  For parents to assist their child in gaining a sense of positive self-identity, there are a few steps that can be taken.

It’s important for parents to become aware of discrimination that may be present if their child is of a minority culture.  After becoming aware, it’s important to understand how these affect their child through their daily lives.  Parents should learn about how their child has seen or experienced discrimination within their culture and how this is affecting their child.  Listen to what they have to say, and allow for open and free discussion.  It’s also important for parents to believe what their child is saying.

Another way parents can support a positive self-identity is by advocating for their child.  Advocate on behalf of positive educational, religious, and social opportunities.  These opportunities should be inclusive, respectful, and sensitive to cultural diversity.  Advocate for the safety and well-being in all aspects of life.  Parents can also teach their child how to be safe when they become an adult.  This ties back into learning about how people in minority groups are treated.   For example, when becoming of age to drive, parents might need to teach their child to do certain precautions if pulled over by a cop.  A parent might also need to teach their child how to be safe if being followed by employees while shopping.

Parents can also show their child leaders of their cultural community.  These leaders can be both current and historical.  Encourage children to learn about the accomplishments these leaders have done.  Find articles, documentaries/movies, and books about these leaders.  If possible, parents can create an opportunity for their child to meet and spend some time with these leaders.  Along with this, it’s also important for parents to spend time educating their child about their culture’s history and taking part in their cultural community.  Spend time enjoying food, art, music, and religion from the child’s minority culture.

This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Darcy Solem, LBSW

Not Just Surviving the Pandemic, but Thriving During It!

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Some people are taking advantage of this pandemic by cleaning and organizing rooms they have avoided, engaging in hobbies, cooking, exercising, etc. A huge kudos to them, what a great time to do these things! I can’t help but think about the parents raising children from trauma, trying to work from home, and helping their children with online schooling all at the same time?  We cannot expect to do this perfectly every day.  Some days we are just lucky to survive.

What is a good thing to take advantage of during these challenging days ahead?  Try strengthening your relationships with your children in times of crisis.  Sound impossible?  Let’s not just survive this pandemic, let’s thrive during it.  The strategy I will share is discussed in TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) created by Karyn Purvis and David Cross.

Children from trauma need structure, routine, predictability, and transitions, to be their best and thrive. They need physical activity, nutrition, hydration, and sensory input to keep their brain and bodies regulated.  We also know they need connection and communication to heal.

When we make mistakes with our children known as a ‘rupture’, we want to repair that mistake.  A big rupture and repair is explained in TBRI training. The rupture is the early-life trauma your child has experienced and the repair is the healing that occurs through relationship.  Parents and children experience many “mini rupture and repairs”.  These mini ruptures include things such as engaging in arguments, yelling, or other mistakes we make when we lose our temper and forget a connected way to respond to our child.  The repair occurs when you go back to your child, connect and apologize.  The rupture occurs because you’re in your downstairs brain (reacting to emotions) instead of your upstairs brain (thinking rationally and logically). The repairs to these ruptures are going back to connect with and apologize to your child once you are back in a regulated state and using your upstairs brain (thinking brain).

We don’t need to fear these mini ruptures or feel ashamed when they occur. It is through these mini ruptures and repairs that healing occurs.   You can view the ruptures as opportunities to connect with your child. When using any parenting strategy, it is not possible to do things perfectly. You will lose your temper, get upset and frustrated, and do things you regret.  That is part of being human.

What matters is what you do after you make the mistake.  Go back, apologize, and connect.  When you repair a rupture, you are modeling vulnerability, and identifying and sharing your emotions.  You are talking about the problem, apologizing for a mistake you made, and showing the other person they are valuable, precious, and loved.  You are modeling healthy, safe relationships.

What will your child learn from this modeling?  They too will learn to be vulnerable, identify and share their feelings, and talk about problems.  They will learn it is normal to make mistakes.  They learn it is safe to admit when they make a mistake.  The best part is the connection that happens when they feel loved, valued, and precious.

Even though this time of pandemic is difficult  to navigate, wouldn’t it feel great to come out of the crisis with a better relationship with your child?

For more information on this strategy google TBRI or watch TBRI or Karyn Purvis videos on Youtube, like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T43zJDgTNPA

 

This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Sherie Madewell-Buesgens, LBSW

 

Offer Grace

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For the past few weeks, the novel COVID-19 pandemic has created significant change.  This change has impacted our lives in so many different aspects.  Some parents have been laid off while others are working from home.  Our children are now learning from home, appointments are occurring remotely instead of in person, we are practicing social distancing, and home necessities are difficult to find.  Our normal is no longer normal.   Along with this change, we may be experiencing many emotions including fear, confusion, and increased anxiety.  We may be experiencing bigger or more frequent behaviors at home, as our children are feeling the same feelings of the unknown that come along with these changes.  As parents, we may be overwhelmed, even tired.   Our home may be dysregulated and it’s been hard to find a way to regulate it.

Parents, take a moment to sit, sip your coffee, and give yourself some grace.  You’re unexpectedly playing multiple roles at home, from parent to teacher to setting up a safe place for therapies to happen online.  You’re creating a new normal for your family.  All of which is no small task.   Given the circumstance and with the sudden, weighty changes and your ability to begin creating a new normal, a new routine for your family, you’re doing fantastic.  Your efforts do not go unnoticed.   You are appreciated.

Along with this, take time to take care of yourself.  Your focus is so much on your children, but you are just as important.  Take a few moments to do something for yourself.  Walk the dog, take a bath, cook a healthy meal, call a friend just to say, ‘Hey!’ or ‘Help!’  Also, know you can reach out to your post adopt worker, we are here for you!

This blog post was written by Darcy Solem, Post Adopt Coordinator 

LBGTQ FAQ

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Did you know between 18-20% of teens in the United States identify as LBGTQ.  What does that even mean?  How do you know if someone is LBGTQ?  How can you support LBGTQ youth?

LBGTQ is an acronym that stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer and/or Questioning.  It is an ever-changing umbrella term for those who have a non-normative gender or sexuality.  According to the American Psychological Association, sex is assigned at birth, refers to one’s biological status as either male or female, and is associated primarily with physical attributes such as chromosomes, hormone prevalence, and external and internal anatomy. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and men or girls and women.

Did you know 40% of the transgender community admit attempting suicide at least once in their lifetime?  Gender stereotyping can be described as generalized views of characteristics or roles that are traditionally possessed by or performed by men and women.  Examples of gender stereotypes exist everywhere.  Do you ever notice them? Next time you take a trip to Target, walk down all the toy isles and observe.  Are there certain aisles with an overwhelming amount of blue or green?  Are there little boys smiling and playing with toy cars on the boxes?  Do you see little girls wearing crowns and dressed up as a princess in an aisle consumed in pink?  Most of us never even think about it, but if I had to guess, you would notice if the little boy on the box was the one dressed up as a princess. Why?

Did you know the U.K. just ruled to ban gender stereotyping that is perceived as harmful to reduce gender inequality?

How to support LBGTQ youth:

  1. Practice using LGBTQ inclusive words and phrases every day.

“Ladies and gentleman” vs. “Folks”

“Policeman”                    vs. “Police officer”

“He” or “She”                   vs. “They”

 

  1. Show you support the LBGTQ community and show your home is a safe place (attend local PRIDE events, know LBGTQ resources in your community, display a “Safe Zone” sign or rainbow flag at your home, have LBGTQ sensitive books and movies accessible in your home)

 

  1. Educate yourself and know about your own gender and sexuality. The Genderbread Person is a great way to learn about gender and sexuality in all its complexities from a continuum perspective.  Do it with the youth!  https://www.genderbread.org/

 

  1. Understand if a youth decides to “come out” to you, they trust you. For some, this task may be terrifying, as they may have been rejected by loved ones in the past. Be unconditionally supportive and let them know it will not change your relationship.  Avoid probing questions and let them take the lead.  Clarify if other people know, as you don’t want to risk “coming out” for them to others.
  2. Encourage and support youth through self-growth and exploration. As someone who is close to that youth, it can feel conflicting.  You want to support them, but you also are fearful for them.  Discouraging gender expression and avoiding environments where they may be a target of discrimination can do more damage than the potential discrimination, itself.

 

  1. Humans make mistakes and that’s okay. I get it, it can be overwhelming trying to understand all the appropriate terms and pronouns to use, as it’s ever changing and can be subjective to that person.  You may avoid interactions or situations completely to avoid offending someone or getting it wrong.  Be Human.  Asking someone their preferred pronouns or what gender fluid means is showing that person you care.

 

  1. Advocate. Advocate.

 

 

https://thesafezoneproject.com/

https://www.hrc.org/

https://time.com/5607209/uk-gender-stereotypes-adverts/

 

This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Brittney Engelhard, LBSW.

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