Wednesday, August 30, 2006

More Responses to the "ONE characteristic" question

Chris, a Program Director in Adoptions in Texas, also believes that patience is the one characteristics that parents adopting from foster care must possess.

Laura says it is patience and flexibility.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Brenda McCreight joins Panel

In writing this, I hope that those of you who are professionals won’t be offended that I wasn’t quite as excited about you joining the panel as I am about having Brenda join us. I think it is because she has written a book (three of them) that have actually been published and does speaking and consulting INTERNATIONALLY that I’m excited about her willingness to participate on our panel.

You can find her website here. And below you will see links to the books she has written. Welcome, Brenda!

This book is not available through Amazon, but you can see the link for it Eden’s Secret Journal: The Story of An Older Child Adoption.

First Question from the Think Tank (not originated by yours truly)

Lori writes to find out about Reactive Attachment Disorder. I am wondering what the characteristics of it would be and how R.A.D. would have been developed in a child?

Please answer on the comments section if possible (I’m finding this is cutting and pasting is taking a LOT more time than I thought it would).

Characteristic Needed by Adoptive Families

A Texas social worker, Robyn, who matches children with families on an ongoing basis says, "The ONE characteristic they need to possess is to be open minded and not expect our children to be THAT perfect child. They all come with some sort of baggage, even the young ones, and they need to realize that you can not always fix these children with just love. They might need more and parents need to be parents and stand by them through everything they go through."

Two adoptive parents of lots of kids and adoption specialists for Adopt America Terri and Phyllis, agree that patience is paramount. Terri says "My personal opinion on this one is that You should possess it would be Patience. Not only with the child but with the system itself as well. And the knowledge that you may need to be Very Very Patient with both." Phyllis adds that if she could choose two, the second would be a sense of humor. Christa, an adoption worker in Florida agrees with patience and adds the adjective tolerance. Bill, a recruiter in Texas and Jennifer and Kim, adoption workers from two other regions in Texas, also agree that patience is the key.

Gina, an adoption worker in Texas, says, "To go into the adoption in check with reality. There are adoptive families that believe that all they need to do is love the kid and they will be just fine. That is usually not the case because some of our kids have years of damage, and in some cases the child will never be what society considers as normal."

Paula writes ”Commitment, stubbornness, refusal to give up , whatever you want to call it……..without it they will never make it.“ Amanda calls this tenacity --tenacity to pursue a placement, tenacity to stick a placement out. QueenBee calls it commitment, as does Melody, an adoption worker from Texas.

Martha, another adoption worker from Texas, says that they must love being in the company of children. Alissa, a recruiter in Florida, believes that flexibility is the key.

Kari says an adoptive parents needs to "open to learning the parenting skills that are needed for kids with abuse / neglect / prenatal exposure issues."

Mary thinks the word resliency covers it all -- Resiliency. That covers it all -- the need for patience, the critical issues regarding a child/ren, the process of working with the foster care system and ICPC, and the attitudes most parents get at some point from their child/ren. It lets a parent keep on loving and caring even when it's hard to do."

Question #3

What is the ONE characteristic that you think is essential for a parent adopting from the foster care system to possess?

Adoption Recruiter in Florida Shares Links

Alissa, an adoption recruiter in Florida, shares that regional heart gallery websites have been helpful to her. Here is one example of a heart gallery site.

She also says that she frequently refers to the North American Council on Adoptable Children website as well as the Adopt America Network site in her work.

Fost-Adopt Parent Shares Link

QueenBee states:

I learn a lot from reading Tamara's blog. They were/are walking the same road as us and I learned a great deal reading about placements that did not turn into adoptions. I think it helped prepare my heart for “just in case”.

Adoptive Parent Shares Links and Books

Mary writes:

There are quite a few websites that have helped me. Claudia's ,Cindy's, Audrey's, Kari's -- they've all provided me with different insights. There are also newsgroups, like FASlink and the Attachment Disorder Support Group, that have also helped me over the past few years.

As far as books go,


have been very educational.

Also, Dave Pelzer's books on his life,

have given me a harrowing and realistic understanding of what may happen to children within the foster care system.

Adoptive Parent of 17 shares her Links

Amanda states:

I don't think when I started adopting that I was as internet savvy. Nowadays, I look at blogs. These are the people in the trenches. These are my experts. I look at Cindy's Blog, Claudia's Blog and the the FASD blog. Those are my favorites. A couple of other FASD links are The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and this FAS site sponsored by the FAS Community Resource Center.

A Couple Texas CPS workers share links

Brenda, an Adoption Supervisor in Texas, states that The Foundation for Large Families website has helped her to understand large families and has been a good resource for her.

Robyn, an adoption worker in Texas, points to the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange as a site that helps her find homes for harder to place children.

Another Book and a Link to Many Book Reviews

Laura Christianson recommends this book. In addition, her website has links to many resources which include thorough book reviews on a variety of adoption books. You can read more about her blogs on this post from Adoption Blog Central


Friday, August 25, 2006

Question #2

In addition to making a link of all recommended books, I’d also like to create a page of links. For this reason, I am asking the second question of both parents and professionals.

What website has helped you the most either as a parent or a professional? You can list more than one if you wish and if you’d like, tell why it is significant. Respond by emailing the coordinator or by commenting on the blog.

Coordinator Update

Just so you know, it’s my plan, once everyone has had a chance to share their most helpful book/books, to create a separate page with links to all the books in one place. So if you haven’t answered that question yet, please do so.

We now have 22 professionals and 9 parents on our panels and it is growing every hour. If you know people you would like to invite or have me invite please let them or me know.

And tell everyone you know about this website. The more brains are included in the think tank, the farther ahead we’ll be.

An Interesting Read

Susan, a CPS Adoption/Foster Care worker in Texas, says that while this book may not be the one that has helped her the most. Turning Stones: My Days and Nights with Children at Risk: A Caseworker's Story by Marc Parent and Anna Quindlen (foreword). She says that it is an interesting read that can show people on the fostering/adopting side things from another viewpoint.

She also mentions the Claudia Jewett book mentioned here.

Three More Books

Alissa, an adoption recruiter in Florida, lists that these three Dave Pelzer books have been helpful to her.

Overachieving Amanda :-)

Amanda, adoptive parent of 17, and Adoption Specialist for the Adopt America Network gave me quite a list that I am compiling into this format. I don't know why there is a big space here. It's annoying, I know. Driving me crazy, in fact, but it has already taken way too much time. I'll have to mess with it again sometime. It has something to do with HTML tagging.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Books with Reviews

QueenBee, fost-adopt parent and author of this blog states that the following book was helpful to her.

She states "I vaguely remember reading it at some point and getting a lot from it, helping me understand the child’s perspective. It talks a lot about “primal wounds” which I’m not a big fan of, but it was very insightful. It helped me a great deal in being more open to the birthfamily and in getting to know the birthparents as much as I could so I could later share information with the kids. I think the points mentioned in the book are especially important for kids from foster care. It seems so many parents who adopt kids from foster care might be tempted to expect the kids to be “grateful” because their new parents “saved” them or some nonsense like that.

She also points to the book

and wonders if it is too cheesy to say that she gets a lot of parenting advice from this book:

I told her it wasn't.

Helpful Books

Martha, a CPS adoption worker in Texas, reports that these books have been most helpful to her.

Michele, another Texas CPS worker, though she has not parented, has learned from this book:

Kris, an adoptive parent and Adoption Specialist for the Adopt America Network lists this book as being most significant for her:

Kari, adoptive parent and author if this blog shares that this book is the most significant she has read.

Jennifer, another Texas Adoption Worker, sites this book:

First Question to Ponder

Since I don’t have my panels quite set up yet, I thought I’d throw out the first question. If you answer it via comment or emailing me, you can also indicate whether or not you’d like to be on the parent or professional panel (or both).

Question #1:

What is the book that has helped you the most in your journey as a parent (foster, birth or adopted) or as a professional?


So, how will this site work, you wonder?

Well, right now I am building two panels, one of professionals and one of parents who will be on an email list. When a question is posted, it will go to them by email, and then I will post their answers. They can be completely anonymous ("an adoptive parent in California comments that") or completely non-anonymous (if that's a word) where your name and blog address or agency website can be posted.

"Experts" in the field can benefit by having their answer linked with their website or agency website to bring people to them. Parents who have blogs can grow their readership.

But the main goal is for everyone to put our heads together to discuss issues and come up with potential solutions.

So far, one day into the premiere, I have one parent on my parent panel, and one professional on my professional panel. We have a long ways to go, but I have big dreams for the site.

Welcome to the Adoption Think Tank

The mission of the Adoption Think Tank is to improve our parenting and practice in order to make healthy permanency possible both for children in foster care AND their foster and adoptive families.

It is my goal to connect therapists, child protection workers, foster and adoptive parents, homestudy workers, speakers, specialists, etc. to discuss pertinent ideas and issues. I would love to see all of the people I have met in this field from every arena getting together and connecting to discuss issues on how we can make things better for kids -- by changing the way we parent, by changing the system a little better, by changing the way we practice social work, etc.

If you're willing to serve on a panel of either professionals or parents, please let me know.