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On the last track, we discussed The Life-book Technique. This has included Recreating Life History, Giving Information About the Birth Family, Giving Reasons for Placement, Providing Photos, Recording the Child’s Feelings and Giving the Child Information About Development.
On the next three tracks, we will discuss how to explain information about the birth family at various stages of development.
Do you have a client who struggles with explaining adoption when they have very little information about the child?
On this track, we will discuss sharing with the adopted child about abandonment. This will include Preschool Age, Early Elementary Age, From a Single Mother, From a Large Family, Middle School Age, Preteen and the "Homeland Tour" Technique. As you listen, think of your client. How does he or she cope with this lack of information regarding abandonment?
For many thousands of children adopted internationally and some domestically, abandonment is the only word that describes their history. The children are often found without a name, or any kind of identifying information. How does a family relate that information to a growing child?
Debbie and Boyd were adoptive parents to Min, age 2. Debbie stated, "We know so little about Min's story...We don't know anything about his birth family, his background or even the exact day of his birth! Min was found on the steps of a police station in a little town in Korea. The police estimated that he was only a few days old. A note was taped to his blanket which read, 'I am young and alone. I cannot care for him.' Someday we will have to tell him this, but we don't have much information to help us out. How do we do it?"
I stated, "Sharing Min's story will likely be a process in making sure Min understands the full picture of the events surrounding his adoption, rather than just relating facts of the event. Whatever happened in Min's life that led to his adoptive placement, one way to begin talking to him about his abandonment is simply by saying early on, 'Your birth parents couldn't take care of you. From that point on, you can build the story developmentally."
The following is a list of Min’s six stages of development and the suggestions I gave to Debbie and Boyd regarding how to explain Min’s pre-adoption story based on his specific age of development and explaining single mother and large family circumstances.
#1 Preschool Age
#2 Early Elementary Age
#3 From a Single Mother
#4 From a Large Family
#5 Middle School Age
I then suggested, "You can even begin to bring into the conversation the societal, economic and cultural aspects of the child's country that would force birth parents to make such a decision."
Technique: Homeland Tour
I have found that some adolescents who have experienced the Homeland Tour have been able to make real strides in understanding the why's of their adoption experiences. In Min’s case, he would probably see people living in poverty who have to make real life decisions. Oftentimes, after the adopted child’s return, they realize that they fit more into the culture of the country they grew up in, instead of the one in which they were born.
Do you have a Debbie or a Boyd whose adopted child was abandoned?
On this track, we have discussed Sharing About Abandonment. This has included Preschool Age, Early Elementary Age, From a Single Mother, From a Large Family, Middle School Age, Preteen and the "Homeland Tour" Technique.
On the next track, we will discuss Sharing About Abuse. This will include Preschool Age, Early Elementary Age, Middle School Age and Preteen.
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