Adoption Day- A Sister’s View

In honor of National Adoption Month and National Adoption Day, here is a blog post about an adoption hearing I attended for two of my siblings. I orginally posted this story in 2017, though I have updated it (after all, I have now attended a few more adoption hearings). The story still rings true and I hope it gives you an understanding of what “adoption day” is like for an adoptive family.


Have you ever been to a final adoption hearing?

An adoption day is full of paradoxical emotions. At least it is for me. I have been to mulitple adoption finalization hearings. At each one I got new siblings. The day my family officially adopted my brother and sister from foster care, I had two thoughts:

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Touching Lives with Birthday Cake

“Mommy! Mommy! It’s my birthday!”

The little girl hopped out of her foster mother’s van and ran to her biological mom, curls bouncing behind her. Her mom embraced her and gave her a kiss.

“I know baby girl. Happy birthday!” The little girl squirmed out of her arms and marched inside to her dad.

“It’s my birthday! It’s my birthday! I’m going to get presents! I’m going to get cake!” she sang.

“Oh…I don’t think we have cake today,” her mom trailed off. “But you do have presents!”

The little girl stopped marching. She planted her fists on her hips and rolled her eyes.

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Are You Aware?

Though they are estimated to affect as many children as Autism (an estimated 1 in 20 U.S. school children), Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) are not widely known. Every year nearly 40,000 babies are born each year in the U.S. with FASDs. FASDs are the only 100% preventable birth defects, yet even many parents are unaware of the impact prenatal exposure to alcohol can have on a child, let alone how to help a child with an FASD thrive in life.

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Some Quick Facts:
So what are FASDs? Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders is the umbrella term for a collection of disorders caused by exposure to alcohol before birth. The effects vary from person to person, but often include cognitive problems, affecting memory, impulse control, and other important executive functions. FASDs can have some physical features, such as a small head or smooth ridge between the nose and top lip.

However, a study by the National Institue of Health estimates that only 17% of people with an FASD have abnormal facial features, which means the majority of people with an FASD live with an invisible disability.  Many of the struggles people with FASDs face are not understood by the public because the disability is not seen. The effects are life-long, but with early intervention, love, and support, people with FASDs can have the chance to make their mark on the world.

Follow these links to learn more about FASDs:
FASD: What Everyone Should Know
CDC FASD Facts
NOFAS (National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome)

People with FASD don’t get a say in whether or not they have an FASD. They also don’t get a say in whether or not you and I choose to recognize FASD and respond with understanding. But people with FASDs are working to raise awareness- such as RJ Formanek does with the Red Shoes Rock campaign.

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With so many people affected by FASDs, isn’t it time we recognize it as well? There is no better time than now- September 9th is International FASD Awareness Day!

So…
Share this or other articles about FASDs on social media!
Join RJ and thousands of others around the world in wearing red shoes!
Get to know someone in your life who has an FASD!

There are so many ways to offer support and raise awareness, but they all start with the same thing: you!

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https://www.nofas.org/fasdmonth/

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https://www.cdc.gov/features/fasd-awareness-day/index.html

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National Foster Care Month and Kinship Care

What would you do if your niece needed a place to stay for a couple weeks? What if your daughter could no longer take care of her child? What if a child in your classroom was being placed in foster care?

For those providing kinship care, these questions are no longer “what if”s.

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These People Make Foster Care Less Lonely

Being a foster family can be isolating and lonely. No one quite understands the challenges you face.

Some people stand, staring from a distance, not wanting to get close. Some people lash out at you, maybe because of a painful experience they or their family had with the foster care system. Some people simply ignore you.

But as time goes on, you find there are some people who reach out. They come close to you, a step at a time. They ask “how can I help”?

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“The Foster Care Survival Guide” Review

Foster parenting is hard.

Yep, you’re allowed to say that. Being a home for children in foster care is rewarding; needed; and hard. The journey will stretch you more than you ever imagined.

So what do you do when your foster child’s parents don’t show up for a visit and the child is heartbroken? What might Reactive Attachment Disorder look like in a foster child? Should you really make an effort to have a relationship with your foster child’s parents?

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The Foster Care Survival Guide:
The Essential Guide for Today’s Foster Parents

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The Quiet Beauty of a Walk

I like to observe people and life. The title of this blog is evidence of that. I am not, however, an avid nature-observer.

I’m just not that into nature. At least, not like some of my dear friends and family members. They easily notice quiet and hidden things in nature.

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