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adoption

Volume 26 Fall 2018

FOCUS ON

The Resource for Canada’s Adoption Community

What is guardianship?

An in-depth look at an adoption alternative Foster parents needed

Parental leave for guardians

Mindfulness for youth

Childhood trauma in the classroom

Do you have room in your heart and home?

What one woman’s fight could mean for your family

Meditation in the new millenium

10 tips to share with your child’s teachers


Contents News and information 2 Editor’s letter 3 News & notes 25 2018 community survey results

Books & media 22 Jen’s Picks

On our cover Sibling love! The Heinrichs sisters embrace the beautiful autumn weather. Photo credit: Anne Heinrichs.

Adoption Awareness Month page 8

In focus 5 Not perfect, just present 6 Childhood trauma in the classroom: 10 things teachers need to know 8 Dream a little dream: how to get a good night’s sleep 9 Adoption Awareness Month 11 Mindfulness for youth: meditation in the new millenium 14 2018 winners: Faces of Family photo contest 16 Foster parents needed 17 What is guardianship? 19 Parental leave for guardians: One woman’s battle for benefits 21 From grandmother to guardian

Dream a little dream, page 10

Photo contest winners, page 14


adoption FOCUS ON

The Resource for Canada’s Adoptive Families

Advertising All advertisements must comply with Section 85 of the Adoption Act (Bill 51). The publisher in no way endorses or makes any warranty or representation with regard to any product or service advertised in Focus on Adoption. The publisher reserves the right to refuse any advertising which, in its absolute discretion, it deems inappropriate for publication. We may not be held responsible for any ad content, or any action or complaint arising out of an advertisement in this publication.

Magazine staff

Editor’s letter Ahh, fall! If your family is anything like mine, summer vacation always leaves us a little topsyturvy. This year I’m definitely welcoming back-to-school season with open arms (my kids are a little bit less enthusiastic). For other families, the start of the school year means lots of stress. Whatever this season holds for you, we’re here to help. We’ve filled this issue with tips and techniques for a calmer, more compassionate school year. We’ve got articles that will help you set your whole family up for success by learning to improve your sleep and practice mindfulness, and there’s a tear-out guide on childhood trauma that’s designed to be shared with teachers. We’ve also got plenty of personal stories that will encourage to you embrace imperfection, celebrate your uniqueness, and get involved in your community. You may also notice that much like the lovely fall leaves, this entire issue is “in living colour.” We hope you enjoy our bright new look! As you prepare to celebrate Hallowe’en, Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, or any other seasonal festivities and milestones your family observes, we hope you’ll make some time to spread the word about adoption and foster care. October is Foster Family Month, and adoptive parents make great foster parents! Learn more in “Foster parents needed” on page 16. Next up is Adoption Awareness Month in November, our biggest celebration of the year, and this year’s message is that a lot of people who think they can’t adopt actually can! Flip to our special feature on pages 9 and 10 for more information that you can share with your networks. Speaking of celebrations, there’s one more thing we need your help with. Has your family celebrated an important moment in your adoption or permanency journey over the past year? If so, we want to hear about it! Send a photo and a short description of your milestone—new adoptions, home country visits, birth family reunions, weddings, graduations, birthdays, babies­, first jobs, special awards—to editor@bcadoption.com. We’ll share them in a special Celebrations feature in our winter issue, out in early December just in time for the holidays.

Brianna Brash-Nyberg Managing Editor, Focus on Adoption magazine

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Editor: Mary Caros Managing editor: Brianna Brash-Nyberg Copy editor: Moretta Shuert Design concept: Junxion Strategy

Publisher Focus on Adoption magazine is published by the Adoptive Families Association of BC, a charitable, accredited, non-profit organization offering adoption support, information, and education. Find out more about AFABC at www.bcadopt.com AFABC Charitable # BN118 777 671 RR0001

Disclaimer The opinion expressed in each article is the opinion of its author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Focus on Adoption. Many contributing writers are experts from various fields and provide advice to our readers, but readers should be aware that specific advice can only be given by qualified professionals who are fully aware of a family’s circumstances. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk, and we carry no responsibility for the opinions expressed and assume no liability or responsibility for any inaccurate or incomplete information, nor for any actions taken in reliance on it. © Adoptive Families Association of BC, 2018


Not perfect, just present

Everyday trauma-informed parenting BY CAROLINE BAILEY

Photo Credit: Sonja Zupanec

In our summer issue, we explored how difficult but important it is to share our not-so-perfect moments. In this piece, Caroline shares one of hers. We hope it encourages you.

Affirmation and nurturing touch means so much. While we were discussing this, I made sure to keep in close contact and when my child reached out for hug, I returned it in full.

“Mom, when did Mamoo see me for the first time?” My child asked this question completely out of the blue. (By the way, Mamoo is my mom.)

This is parenting from a trauma-informed perspective. This is parenting through adoption. This is doing a gut-check before responding. This is about our kids.

I turned to my child and explained that Mamoo came the very next day after my child arrived at our home. “Did she hold me like this? How did I act to her? Show me how I was held.” I mimicked the way that we all held this child. After this was done, my child grabbed me and we hugged tightly. Today, I trained foster parents on some trauma information. We spent time talking about adoption and kids who find themselves growing up with parents other than their biological ones. The timing of my child’s question does not fall too far from my thoughts. I know I’ve said it a lot and I am sure that I will continue to say it. As a parent through adoption, you have to be ready for on-the-spot questions. You have to just go with the flow, answer the best you can and go beyond your comfort zone.

If you find yourself caught off guard by your (adopted) child’s questions, be yourself. Be honest. Nurture their questions and answer them. Don’t be afraid. Hug and hold them closely. We are the gatekeepers of their history. That is a huge undertaking and can be wrought with sorrow. However, in many ways, we are also the gatekeepers of their futures. Don’t forget your importance. Don’t forget your promise to always put your children first—even when you struggle to do so. It truly is both a blessing and a challenge to be an adoptive parent. You don’t have to be perfect. Just be present. ●

Caroline is a mother to three children through adoption, and a strong advocate for foster children and families. Currently, Caroline works for a Christian child welfare agency in Missouri. She shares her life experience about foster parenting, adoption, barrenness, and faith on her blog, www.barrentoblessed.com. VOLUME 26 FALL 2018 5


Dream a little dream: How to get a good night’s sleep BY TONY HO One of the best things you can do to set the stage for a successful school year is to make sure both you and your kids get plenty of quality sleep. In this article, a mental health expert and adoptive dad gives you a head start by explaining how healthy sleep habits for the whole family start with you.

Happy families start with healthy sleep Sleep is as vital to humans as proper nutrition and exercise. Sleep researchers recommend that adults get a minimum of 7 hours a night for optimal functioning. Children should be sleeping more depending on their age. As recent adoptive parents, my partner and I have been learning firsthand the importance of healthy sleep the whole family. If you’re a parent of a young child, you know sleep can be broken up by nightmares, bouts of illness, hungry bellies, wet beds, soiled diapers, or a little one who wants a 3 am cuddle. A recent study from the UK found that new parents slept an average of 4.88 hours a night during the first year of their child’s life. Quality sleep helps to repair and replenish our bodies, but about a third of Canadian adults sleep less than the recommended seven hours per night. Insufficient sleep impacts almost every area of health. It increases the chance of developing issues like obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, irritability, Alzheimer’s disease, and injury. It also puts lives at risk: nearly 20% of fatal vehicle collisions directly involve driver fatigue. Sleep can also be a protective factor in emotional wellbeing. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley examined the relationship between sleep abnormalities and emotions. The study revealed that rapid eye movement (REM), which happens after about 90 minutes of sleep, helps the brain process difficult emotional experiences. A solid rest helps the day’s experiences feel less intense and emotionally charged.

Setting the stage Healthy sleep habits start with adults who practice what they preach and take steps to help kids make positive associations with sleep and relaxation. If you prioritize strategies that maximize quality sleep, you can help your whole family wake up well rested and ready to take on the day’s challenges and adventures.

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Here are some evidence-based sleep strategies to try. • Avoid alcohol. • Limit caffeine to the morning and early afternoon. • Have a consistent sleep schedule and go to bed at the same time every night (including weekends); quality sleep comes with routine. • Set an alarm for bedtime and turn off any unnecessary lights as a reminder that it’s time to wind down. • Keep televisions, cell phones, tablets, e-readers, and other devices that emit blue spectrum light out of the bedroom and limit their use during the two to three hours before bedtime. Blue spectrum light suppresses melatonin, a hormone that helps control your sleep and wake cycle. • If a family member needs a night light, opt for one with a red or amber light, which is less likely to interrupt sleep (although any type of light can delay the sleep process). • Use blackout curtains to keep your bedroom cool (around 18 degrees C) and dark.

Getting to sleep Consistent bedtime routines are not just for kids. They’re a way of telling our brains it’s time for rest. Make a habit of taking a warm shower, reading a book, engaging in prayer or quiet reflection, or writing a 5-minute to-do list for the next day. Listen to a guided meditation or progressive relaxation recording to slow down your thoughts and tune in to your body’s cues for rest.

Troubleshooting If you find yourself restless and cannot settle within 10-15 minutes, leave your bed and engage in a quiet activity. Return to bed only when you’re sleepy. If you’ve been struggling with insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep) for longer than a few weeks, check in with your physician or mental health care provider. There many physical and mental health issues that can contribute to or cause sleeping problems. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for insomnia is an effective intervention. CBT for insomnia involves working with a therapist or using a structured online program such as Sleepio, and includes tracking sleep patterns, shifting habits, and changing beliefs about sleep. ●

Tony is a mental health clinician and social worker from Vancouver, BC.


“We’re in the midst of another international adoption. I’m 59 and my husband is 64 years old. There are older kids who need homes, and we think that older couples should open their homes to adopting teenagers.” –Mary-Ellen Keno, adoptive mom

Didn’t think you could adopt?

Think again!

Do I have to own my home?

How much does it cost?

What if I’m single? What if I’m trans?

Am I too old?

What if I’m an immigrant?

Can I be disabled?

How long does it take? 10 FOCUS ON ADOPTION

?

Adoption Basics

answers your top questions about adoption. Try it free today at

www.bcadoption.com/abasics.


Foster parents needed BY SUZANNE JONES Adoptive parents make fantastic foster parents! There's an urgent province-wide need for foster parents right now. On Vancouver Island alone, over a thousand children with widely varied needs are in government care. In this article, a foster family recruitment worker from Nanaimo explains the basics of foster caregiving and asks you­­—yes, you!—to consider making a difference for a child in need by becoming a foster home.

Help kids in your community We know from experience that many people want to help struggling kids in their communities but aren’t sure exactly where to start. Maybe you’re one of those people. If so, have you ever considered fostering? Being a foster caregiver can be demanding but it can also be incredibly rewarding. It’s a community service, true—but some might say it’s more of a calling. Fostering offers an unparalleled chance for personal growth and the opportunity to make a positive and lasting difference in the life of a child or teen. It allows you to open your heart and share your home with someone who looks to you, when they need it most, for safety, support, and care.

Who are foster kids? As of March 2018, there were 6,694 children and youth in the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) throughout BC. Children who come into foster care range in age from newborns to teens. They come from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds but all of them are unable to live with their biological family and need a place to stay and a caregiver they can count on. By becoming a foster caregiver you have the chance to change their lives for the better: to build their confidence, promote their strengths, and give them a stable, caring environment. Your commitment can be shortor long-term, but the love and support you give can last a lifetime.

Who can be a foster parent? Like the kids themselves, foster caregivers come from a variety of backgrounds, each with different life experiences, skills, and qualities. You can be single or a couple and don’t need to be a parent already. You can be of any race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation—respecting diversity

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and differences is a core value we look for in ideal foster caregivers. It isn’t necessary to own your home or have previous training, but you must have the maturity and the willingness to provide day-to-day care for a child or teen. All foster parents do share a few things in common: • All are residents of BC who are at least 19 years of age. • Their homes are safe and nurturing. • They are comfortable providing guidance and supervision that meets the child’s needs and supports their cultural heritage. • They are prepared to be active members of the child’s care team.

How does it all work? Foster parents get compensated through a monthly family care rate, which covers such costs as schooling, food, and clothing for the child. Recognizing that most caregivers also work other jobs, daycare costs can be covered. A foster caregiver can offer full-time or part-time placements, depending on their schedule and availability. While there is always a demand for more caregivers, there is a particular need for those that can care for sibling groups, children and youth with special needs, and newborn infants who may have been exposed to substances (Safe Babies training is required). There are also many teenagers in care who need homes, so we are always looking for caregivers who have the demeanour and skill set to manage their often complex needs. Training is provided to prospective foster caregivers, and approved caregivers have access to ongoing training once a home study has been completed. Every foster parent has a Resource Social Worker assigned to them, and there are organizations like the BC Federation of Foster Parent Associations and the Foster Parent Support Services Society that can offer further support, advice, and guidance. In the Nanaimo area, for example, there is a Foster Parent Mentorship program, Foster Parent Networking groups, and many community professionals who are part of each foster child’s care team. Do you have a little more room in your heart and in your home? If you want to know more about fostering, please check out www.fosteringconnections.ca or call your local MCFD office for more information. In the Nanaimo area, you can contact Suzanne Jones at 250-741-6732 or Rachel Wallace at 250-741-5432. ●


What is guardianship?

A different option for permanency BY MELISSA BREKER Guardianship is a court process based on the Family Law Act that offers a way for anyone to create permanency for child by becoming their guardian. This aricle explores its many similarities to adoption, and its key differences.

What is guardianship? Becoming a guardian means that you are responsible for the all decisions, care, supervision, and day-to-day decisions for a child. When parents are absent or unable to raise their children, other parents, family members, or grandparents often step in to help. Guardianship involves important parental responsibilities. Through the application process, you will need to complete a special affidavit which requires a Ministry check, a criminal record check, and a Protective Order Registry check so the courts understand your relationship with the child. According to the Legal Services Society of BC, as a guardian you have the responsibility to: • • • • • •

make daily decisions about your child; have daily care and supervision of your child; decide where your child will live; decide who your child will associate with; apply for passports; receive information from others about your child (for example, about health and education); and • make decisions about your child’s education, religious upbringing, extracurricular activities, healthcare, and other important issues.

Forms of guardianship

learn more... Estates, inheritance, status and rights The transfer of custody also includes guardianship of the child or teen’s estate – it does not affect the child’s pre-existing inheritance or succession to property rights. Aboriginal rights or privileges will not be impacted. Being a guardian does not have the same legal impact for estate purposes as an adopted child. This means that a child or teen will not automatically have any claim to their guardian’s estate, unless they were specifically named as a beneficiary in a will. Guardians also do not have any claim to the child or teen’s estate if they were to die – their natural or adoptive parents would have legal entitlement to the estate.

Access orders and future legal matters Any existing access orders end when permanent kinship care is granted. New access orders may be applied for by parents, grandparents and others when the permanent transfer of custody is applied for or under at a later date. Once custody has been transferred, any future legal matters related to guardianship fall under the Family Law Act. Source: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-socialsupports/fostering/temporary-permanent-care-options/ permanent-transfer-of-custody-to-someone-familiar

The legal transfer of custody typically falls under two forms: 54.1 guardianship applies to children with Continuing Custody Order (CCO) status. This means their parents’ rights have been terminated and they are

Continued on page 18

VOLUME 26 FALL 2018 17


Guardianship, cont’d under the Ministry’s permanent guardianship. Under a 54.1, custody can be transferred to a family or non-family member. 54.01 guardianship applies to children who don’t have Continual Custody Order (CCO) status and are not under the Ministry’s permanent guardianship. They may be living with someone other than their parents (usually a family member).

How is guardianship different from adoption? There are some key differences between legal guardianship and adoption. The legal responsibilities of guardianship end at the child’s 19th birthday. Guardianship does not sever the child’s parental rights if they haven’t already been severed through the process of Termination of Parental Rights (TPR). The child also doesn’t have an automatic claim to inheriting their guardian’s estate unless they’re specifically named in the guardian’s will (see sidebar for more on this). Often, the process of transferring guardianship is quicker and easier than the process of adoption. In some cases it can even be done privately through a lawyer, without any counselling, education, or support. Because of this, there’s some concern that guardianship transfers may be a way of “rehoming” children when adoptions fail. For decades, adoption has been used as a tool of colonial violence against First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people. Because guardianship isn’t associated with the same trauma and stigma, some Indigenous people feel more comfortable with guardianship as a permanency option. Guardianship families qualify for different levels of support depending on the details of their situation. In BC, a committee is currently meeting to try to equalize benefits and funding for guardianship families. This process was still underway at press time. At the moment, the benefits some families qualify for may include: monthly maintenance payments; coverage for expenses such as counselling, medical and dental fees, or childcare; and tax benefits. Other families don’t qualify for any benefits or supports. The details of this are complex and you should consult with a lawyer and a social worker before you sign any orders or agreements. The Parent Support Services Society of BC’s website also has extensive information on benefits, subsidies, and other resources (www.parentsupportbc.ca). It’s important to know that it’s difficult to move from guardianship to legal adoption. The reason for this is that you can’t transfer guardianship to yourself, which is what adoption effectively does. If your long-term goal is legal adoption, consult with a lawyer before entering into a guardianship agreement.

When and why people choose guardianship People choose to become guardians for different reasons. For some, it’s an opportunity to offer security and confirm a long-term commitment for a child, for others, guardianship is selected to support a cultural belief. Regardless of why people choose guardianship, it is a long-term commitment to offer a loving home for a child. In some instances, it may not be possible for a parent to remain a guardian. Removal of guardianship rights can happen by a court order or by agreement. A parent may continue to have contact and time with the child, but it they are not a guardian and they won’t have parental responsibilities.

Cultural considerations Children come from many different backgrounds. As a guardian, it’s important to support the child’s personal identity and to keep them

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connected to their cultural community, especially if it’s different from yours. For Indigenous groups, it means creating a plan for cultural education to nurture relationships from the beginning. Building relationships and understanding family connections is an important part of culture. Early on, your involvement in the community creates stronger communication and understanding of different parenting styles. For children with an Indigenous background, asking questions and reaching out to their band is the best way to bridge gaps in understanding.

Connect with community Often guardianship families face similar situations or have similar questions to adoptive families. They also have unique needs. Connecting with the community can offer support and connection with other parents. A lot of guardians talk with other parents, and research specific topics to help them understand parenting requirements. There are lots of different ways to connect with other guardianship families. Through Facebook groups, you can talk with other guardians to help share your experiences. AFABC also offers workshops and webinars on topics like FASD and loss that can help build your skills and create relationships with other guardians. ●

Melissa Brekker is a strategic thinker, workshop leader, and communications strategist that helps financial institutions, government, and software companies grow and change. She consulted with the adoption community on behalf of AFABC to learn more about guardianship. Find her at www.brekergroup.com.

Resources GRG Support Line If you’re a grandparent or other relative raising a family member’s child, you can get information and advice from the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG) Support Line to • deal with complex services systems such as the Ministry of Children and Family Development; • find the answers, assistance, and resources you need to prevent or solve problems; or • learn about benefits and services that will support your whole family. The GRG Support Line is staffed by two part-time advocates trained in advocacy, social work, family law, and government services related to kinship caregiving. Contact the GRG Support Line: 604-558-4740 (Greater Vancouver) or 1-855-474-9777 (call no charge, outside Greater Vancouver).

Other resources There are community resources available to help guardians. Here’s a list of resources guardians have shared with us: • • • • • • •

Ministry of Children and Family Development social workers Parent Support Network BC (for legal issues) Christine Revelry Society Camp Kerry Society Adoptive Families Association of BC Bridge Meadow Community Services Grandparents Raising Grandchildren


Grandmother to guardian

A strong support system

BY A GUARDIANSHIP GRANDMOTHER

The one thing I found most helpful through this whole ordeal was my support system. My family, my friends, my social workers (who I emailed pretty much on a daily basis), and let’s not forget my best friend Google. I needed to know I was not the only person going through this and that others out there were far worse off than me. Understanding this and having someone to bounce things off is so very important.

A growing number of grandparents in BC are living with and raising their grandchildren. In this story, a grandmother shares her very personal experience with becoming the legal guardian of her daughter’s child. To protect the privacy of her daughter and grandchild, names have been redacted.

I wish that our Caregiver Support Counsellor had been introduced to us far sooner. We did not meet her until October when we were nearing the end of the process. Having a support group to attend sooner in the game would have probably eased a bit of the stress along the way. There is also a website called “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren” that is very helpful.

Stuck in the system

I consider myself a pretty strong individual but not every parent or caregiver is the same and some really need a lot of support. The sooner you introduce these types of groups and supports, the better.

I remember getting the call from MCFD like it was yesterday. It was Friday, December 30, 2016 at 9 am. A clear, cool day. I still count my blessings that the worker was so persistent and kept calling back each time I hung up. I kept ignoring the calls because we are not allowed to use our cells at work except on our breaks, but seeing as the person calling me was not leaving a voicemail, I figured it was important and finally I picked up! All I heard was my daughter had been in a car accident and could come pick up my granddaughter? Not knowing more than that, I raced off to the MCFD office. The story begins with my daughter, who had been struggling on and off with her drug addiction for over 10 years. She had lived with me up until two years before the removal of her daughter. I know my daughter and her weaknesses well. I know she lacked the will power to come out of her addiction, so taking on the care and responsibility of my granddaughter didn’t need any more thought than it had already been given. The bit I wasn’t prepared for were all the steps to get the 54.01 (Ed. note: see page 19 for a definition of this term). Going through each contract agreement—the Extended Family Plan, the Interim contract, the Temporary Custody contract, and finally the 54.0—was the most stressful and frustrating times for me and my common law husband. It was clear to us that my daughter was not going to change so why did we have to go through all these steps? I am her grandmother, after all.

Safe and healing Finally, I want to add that I love my daughter and always will. I know I can’t help her, she has to help herself. What happened that night of December 30 was a blessing in my eyes. I have been able to give my little granddaughter the chance at life that she really deserves. The couple of years living alone with a drug addicted mother caused her a ton of trauma that took us over a year to understand and had impacts that we are still dealing with today. Her schooling suffered because she was not being taken the majority of the time. She was thin and underweight with several rotten teeth that needed to be pulled. She had been left alone so many times in the past that she would check on us several times a night to make sure we were still there. It took many, many months to get her to sleep through the night. Once in a while she will still check on us, but those times are few and far between now. She is starting to heal. It was a long year but if you ask if I would do it again, I would not hesitate in answering, “Absolutely!” ●

I didn’t fully understand the process until the 54.01 was granted. Only then could I finally relax and process all that had happened over the last two years. Unfortunately when dealing with this type of stress your judgment is clouded. Like so many of the parents I spoke to going through this process, I had tunnel vision. Of course when you feel like this, it’s easy to blame the ministry for not doing their job correctly. But what I learned is that it’s our justice system that really sucks! Every time my daughter didn’t show for a court date I knew it would be put off another couple of weeks. One day I got so angry at the judge for the seemingly pointless two week delay every time my daughter was a no show…the truth was, I knew she would never show up. We say we are protecting our children by removing them from harm but the ones causing the harm have way too many rights leaving the kids vulnerable. It was during one of the final appearances in December, a year after my granddaughter moved in with me, that a judge explained the importance of rescheduling the dates when my daughter didn’t show. He explained that my daughter could ultimately contest his decision and the process could be dragged out another year if we didn’t give her fair opportunity to show up! I totally understand all that now. MCFD holds a lot of control with regards to what happens to the children in question, but the court system holds more.

VOLUME 26 FALL 2018 21


Jen’s picks Jen Hillman is an AFABC Adoption Support Counsellor, and an adoptive mom of two adult sons and a daughter. She shares her favourite selections of books and other media with us in each issue.

Elliot

The Transgender Child

by Julie Pearson and Manon Gauthier

by Stephanie Brill and Rachel Pepper

Elliot’s parents love him very much, but all is not well. When he cries, they do not understand why. When he misbehaves, they do not know how to react. One day a social worker named Thomas comes to visit, and Elliot’s world turns upside-down. The new families who care for the little boy are kind, but everything is strange and new. When it becomes clear that Elliot’s parents will never be able to take him back, Thomas sets out to find Elliot one last home—a forever home with a family that will love and care for him no matter what.

This comprehensive first of its kind guidebook explores the unique challenges that thousands of families face every day raising their children in every city and state. Through extensive research and interviews, as well as years of experience working in the field, the authors cover gender variance from birth through college. Is this ever just a phase? What do the therapists say? What about hormone blockers and surgery? How can I best raise my gender variant or transgender child with love and compassion, even when I barely understand the issues ahead of us? And what is gender, anyway? These questions and more are answered in this book offering a deeper understanding of gender variant and transgender children and teens.

Big Steps for Little People

David’s Father

by Celia Foster

by Robert Munsch

A mother of two adopted children, Celia Foster wrote Big Steps for Little People as a personal “insider’s guide” to parenting adopted children. Drawing on the hard-won wisdom gained in her own family life, the book offers a thoughtful account of life with adopted children and examines the issues that many adoptive families encounter, including the development of children with attachment problems and how to tackle behavioural difficulties. It combines real-life anecdotes with suggestions and strategies that other parents can put to use.

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Julie thinks her new neighbors must be very scary because all the stuff being moved into their house is enormous. Then she meets David and finds out that he’s just a normal, regular boy. But when David’s father calls him for supper the sound makes Julie jump in the air, run in a circle three times, run home and lock herself in her room until it is time for breakfast the next day. Could David’s father be a giant? Julie learns that families come in all shapes—and sizes.


Adoption is a journey... We’ll be with you every step of the way.

Our caring, experienced staff help birth & adoptive parents with their adoption journeys, domestic & international. Take the first step: call toll free 1.866.582.3678 or find out more at www.fsgvadoptionagency.ca A CARF Accredited & BC Licenced Adoption Agency

Johanna Simmons, MA RCC 604-240-0592 johanna@simmonscounselling.ca   Areas of specialization

Advertise in Focus on Adoption With a reach of over 1,000 families and individuals in the adoption community across Canada, Focus on Adoption is the perfect place to promote your adoption- or family-focused services, your event, or your organization. Find out more online at

www.bcadoption.com/advertise. 24 FOCUS ON ADOPTION

• Attachment • Adoption • Child Play Therapy • Family Counselling • Depression • Parent/Teen Conflict • Self Worth • Stress Management

• Parenting Skills Training • School Issues • Anxiety • Communication • Transitions • EMDR • Child Behaviour

As an adoptive parent and a former teacher, Johanna brings these perspectives into her counselling practice.

Suite 206C -1571 Bellevue Ave., West Vancouver www.simmonscounselling.ca

Focus on Adoption fall 2018 preview  

Focus on Adoption is Canada's only quarterly adoption magazine. The fall issue focuses on guardianship and other forms of permanency. This...

Focus on Adoption fall 2018 preview  

Focus on Adoption is Canada's only quarterly adoption magazine. The fall issue focuses on guardianship and other forms of permanency. This...

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