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Akin Families finding forever families for older children


Akin Families finding forever families for older children


Copyright Š 2011 Joy Ohler 0 0 9 4 7 5 3 4 All rights reserved. Academy of Art University MFA Graphic Design No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,photocopying, recording or otherwise, without permission. First Edition: November 2011 For more information, call 415.370.2844 or e-mail info@akinfamilies.com www.akinfamilies.com


Table of Contents

Foreword

5

Introduction

6

Mission

8

The Issue

11

Detailed Thesis Timeline

22

Change of Plan

24

Research

26

Directed Study: One on One

40

Color Palette

62

Positioning and Analysis

46

Typography

64

Photography

66

Audience

48

Graphic Elements

70

Solution

54

Deliverables

72

Our Name and Symbol

60

Bibliography

82

Reflections

85


.


Foreword

People are always surprised whenever I tell them that my thesis is about older

Someone warned me that my topic can be dark and might drag me down or

child adoption. They never associate design with such subject matter. I chose

even cause depression. Plus I don not have the personal experience to draw

this topic because family is very important to me. I cannot imagine how a child

upon and did not know anything about older child adoption. I had doubts. I’ve

who does not have a support system gets through the developmental years of

been ignored and turned down dozens of times by people I’ve approached

his life. It is a big challenge for me since my family background is the opposite.

and thought I could potentially work with and at some point almost gave up.

I came from a tight-knit family. In fact, the reason why I moved here to the

But when I thought about it more I felt like I would be abandoning the children

United States is because all of my dad’s siblings are here and we were the only

in some way if I do not continue with my thesis—I knew what the problem was

part of the family in the Philippines. My relatives want to be together all the

and I had some ideas on how to solve it. Why would I walk away from it?

time and I felt like I need to learn how to appreciate having such a big family.

This has been my motivation throughout my thesis journey.

I wanted to use my expertise in design and advertising to provide accessible unbiased information about older child adoption and change the public’s negative impression of older child adoptees with the goal to increase the adoptable older children’s chance to belong to a family and have a better opportunity in life.


When people tell you they’re going to adopt, you most likely picture them bringing home an infant or a toddler. If they tell you, they’re adopting a ten-year-old boy who has been removed from his family due to abuse and neglect, what would your reaction be?


Children lose their chance of being adopted as they age. the objective of akin families is to place adoptable children and youth ages five and above into permanent homes where they count, are valued and can develop according to their potential.


A k i n Fa m i l i es t h e issue

As of September 2010 there are 107,011 waiting children in America’s foster care system.

68 ,441 are five years old and above.

The term “waiting children” generally refers to children, w ho have b e com e l e gall y available for adoption. Source : Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Repor ting System (A FCAR S ) Adoption File of September 2010.

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Currently, a disproportionate number of children ages five and above are languishing in child care institutions. They are deprived of the supportive and nurturing home environment needed for healthy emotional and social growth.


A k i n Fa m i l i es t h e issue

13

7,461

The adoption rate of children declines as they become older. 6,103 5,823

6000

4,833

5000

4,182 4000 3,587 3,107 3000

2,813

2,531 2,183 2000

1,981 1,702

1,528 1,190

1,126 1000

0000

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

973

15

903

16

826

17+

X = Age of children Y= Number of waiting children adopted Source: Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Adoption File of September 2010.


A k i n Fa m i l i es t h e issue

Most of the children who are not adopted will constantly move from one foster home to another. By the time they turn eighteen, they will age out of the system. This means that they must enter the adult world completely on their own. More than half of them become homeless or are incarcerated within two years of their emancipation.

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educational Attainment of Former Foster Youth

1 of 3

R eCeI V e H IGH SCHOOl DI PlOM A

1 of 5

R eCeI V e COlleGe DeGR ee


A k i n Fa m i l i es t h e issue

How many foster youth who aged out rely on government assistance?

3 of 4 fema le

1 of 3 ma le

Source: Midwest Study, University of Chicago 2010 (both data)

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Why are the older children not being adopted?

Âť Adoptive parents are concerned that a child so far away from his early formative years is beyond help, that his personality and his values are permanently set. Âť When there is something wrong with an adopted child, the fact that he is adopted is always to blame. The media does not help the issue either. Movies like Problem Child and the more recent horror movie Orphan, portray adopted children as heartless trouble-makers or axe murderers. Âť Most people think that older children will never recover from their abusive experiences, will never attach to their new families, and will later grow up to be criminals.


A k i n Fa m i l i es t h e issue

T V ad for the movie The Orphan (2009 ).

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A k i n Fa m i l i es t h e issue

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What is the truth about older children?

» The fact is that every child has his own personality, adopted or not. Members of a birth family don’t necessarily all have the same personality. » While some children are indeed so damaged by long-term abuse or neglect that they will never overcome their legacy of pain and violence, most of these kids will attach to their new families and become productive adults. Alfred Kadushin who studied 95 families who had adopted children ages 5-12 found that, once adjustment was over, the age of the child when he entered his adoptive family did not make a difference or impede the successful outcome of the adoption. » No child can be protected from anxiety and trauma in his life. It is how he deals with what happens to him, what kind of support and help he gets that determines how his personality will be affected. Adopted children are well-integrated into their families and schools and show good psychological outcomes. There are few differences between children who have been adopted and their non-adopted peers. Jesus Palacios and Yolanda Sanchez-Sandoval, “Consequences of Adoption” 2005


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Detailed Thesis Timeline

Key Information & Visual Research Brainstorm & Design Production Final / Launch Read A Book Interview Final Preparation Thesis Presentation

M FA T h esis


A k i n Fa m i l i es detailed t h esis timeline

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Change of Plan

My original objective that I presented during midpoint—to increase the chance of older children to belong to a family and have a better opportunity in life—did not change. Early in my research, however, I thought partnering with an existing organization would be the main focus of my thesis. After talking with adoption experts and multiple attempts to team up with existing organizations, I decided to revise the focus of my thesis path. Most of the organizations I spoke with were happy to help me with my questions, but they couldn’t take the risk of getting too involved with my project due to privacy and child safety issues. They also said that they did not have time to consistently meet with me. I thought I would not be able to complete my thesis without working with an established organization. In the end, I figured out that I just needed to reach out to more people and focus on providing information and sending the right message about older child adoptees.


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Research

Since I am personally not involved with older child adoption I knew I had to do extensive research regarding the topic and talk to a many people who are more

internet resources

Organizations

knowledgeable of and experienced with it. At every stage of my thesis journey,

Administration for Children

I became aware of the other issues that could help change the misconceptions

and Families (AFCARS)

about older children and accomplish a successful adoption.

www.acf.hhs.gov

I started my research using the internet to find organizations who are involved in older child adoption, books to read, studies about older child adoption

Adoption.Org www.adoption.org

and people to connect with. I know some people are hesitant about connecting

Adoption Learning Partners

through the web about such a sensitive topic, but I saw how important the

www.adoptionlearningpartners.org

internet is for connecting people. For some it was even easier to be themselves and express what they were thinking online. A lot of people today, including

Adoption SF

experienced adoptive parents, prospective parents, adult adoptees and other

www.adoptionsf.org

adoption experts, connect online. While there are hundreds of discussion boards and blogs about older child adoption, none of them is supervised and regularly updated. They are visually unappealing too.

Bay Area Kids www.bakids.org Beth O’Malley, Adoption Life Books www.adoptionlifebooks.com Boys and Girls Aid www.boysandgirlsaid.org


A k i n Fa m i l i es research

California Court Appointed Special

Heartsent Adoptions

Advocates (CASA)

www.heartsent.org Bushel and A Peck: One Thankful Mom

www.californiacasa.org Hospicio de San Jose Congressional Coalition on

www.onethankfulmom.com

www.hospiciodesanjose.org Older Child Adoption

Adoption Institute www.ccainstitute.org

Blogs

Inter-Country Adoption Board, Philippines (ICAB)

www.older-child.adoptionblogs.com

www.icab.gov.ph Pathos of Asian Adoptees

Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption www.davethomasfoundation.org

Kinship Center

www.pathosofasianadoptees.tumblr.com

www.kinshipcenter.org See Jamie Blog

DePelchin Children’s Center www.depelchin.org

Older Child Adoption www.olderchildadoption.com

Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute www.adoptioninstitute.org

Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) www.ppic.org

Family Builders www.familybuilders.org

Rebekah Children’s Services www.rcskids.org

Families For Children www.families4children.com

Stories of Adult Transnational Adoptees and Their Parents

Filipino Adoptees Network www.filipino-adoptees-network.org

www.transnational-adoptee-parent-study.com

www.seejamieblog.comnter

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books

adopting older

children Alfred Kadushin

magazines

films

Big Daddy


A k i n Fa m i l i es research

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Problem Child

documentary films

First Person Plural

Left on Lockett Lane

Wo Ai Ni Mommy


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Literature

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Books

Older Child Adoption, Grace Robinson

Adopting and Advocating for the Special Needs Child: A Guide for Parents and Professionals, L. Anne Babb and Rita Laws

Our Own: Adopting and Parenting the Older Child, Trish Maskew

Adoption: Opposing View Points, David Bender and Bruno Leone

Parenting Your Adopted Older Child: How to Overcome the Unique Challenges and Raise

Attaching in Adoption:

a Happy and Healthy Child,

Practical Tools for Today’s Parents,

Brenda McCreight

Deborah D. Gray Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Adopting Older Children,

Foster Child: Making Sense of the Past,

Alfred Kadushin

Jayne E. Schooler and Betsy Keefer

Adopting the Hurt Child: Hope for

You Can Adopt: An Adoptive Family Guide,

Families with Special Needs Kids

S. Caughman and I. Motley

A Guide for Parents and Professionals, Gregory C. Keck and Regina Kupecky

Magazines

A Love Like No Other,

Adoption Today

Pamela Kruger and Jill Smolowe Adoptive Families Magazine Beyond Good Intentions, Cheri Register Yeong

Parents Magazine


A k i n Fa m i l i es research

Films

Movies

Documentary Films

August Rush, Kirsten Sheridan

Adopted, Barb Lee

The Adventures of Ociee Nash, Kristen McGary

Adopted, Pauly Shore

Big Daddy, Dennis Dugan

Adoption, Marta Meszaros

The Blind Side, John Lee Hancock

Aging Out, Roger Weisberg, Vanessa Roth

December Boys, Rod Hardy

The Business of Being Born, Abby Epstein

Home Beyond the Sun, Colin Chilvers

First Person Plural, Deann Borshay Liem

Johnny, D. David Morin

Left On Lockett Lane, Jonathan Reinert

The Kids Are All Right, Lisa Cholodenko

National Geographic: China’s Lost Girls, Lisa Ling

The Lost and Found Family, Barnet Bain

Off and Running, Nicole Opper

Lovely and Amazing, Nicole Holofcener

The Orphan Trains, PBS Studios

Martian Child, Menno Meyjes

Wo Ai Ni Mommy, Stephanie Wang-Breal

Mockingbird Don’t Sing, Harry Bromley Davenport The Orphan, Jaume Collet-Serra Problem Child, Dennis Dugan Samantha, Nadia Tass Stuart Little, Rob Minkoff White Oleander, Peter Kosminsky

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Thesis Blog

I started a blog where I posted information about my thesis and my progress. The blog was a very useful tool. I directed the people who I was trying to connect with to my blog for detailed information and updates on the project. It also showed them that I was serious about what I was trying to do and what my thought process was.


A k i n Fa m i l i es research

www.olderchild-adoption.blogspot.com

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Dick lotspeich, Founder, Heartsent Adoptions; Adoptive Father

August 05, 2010 Hi Joy, I would be glad to talk with you about all of this. You can e-mail me some questions that I can respond to and also I can talk to you on my cell phone (510) 501 2164. I am one of the founders of Heartsent Adoptions and the father of five adopted kids from other countries and two of whom were older when we adopted them. Sincerely, Dick Lotspeich August 08, 2010 Dear Joy, Why don’t you come in to the office and really talk these things over with me and our Director, Val. If you want to do that please call me on my cell, and I can arrange a time that works. We are just across the bridge from you. Dick


A k i n Fa m i l i es research

August 12, 2010

J: Who are the people who pursue the adoption of older children?

J: Why do people choose to adopt an infant instead of an older child?

D: This is not a question that I can answer easily because there are all

D: The older a child remains in institutionalized care, the more chance there

spiritual beliefs.

kinds of people who want to adopt older children. Many of them have strong is for the child to have an “attachment disorder�. This is a hard thing for parents to deal with. It is complex and revolves around the child not being able

J: Have you noticed any trends or changes in the adoption community

to develop a trust for other people. Another issue is that the children who are

in the past years? (example: growing number of kids in the system vs.

institutionalized often do not go through some of the neurological development

declining adoption demand; more older kids are getting adopted now

that a child raised from early in life by an attentive parent(s) does. This causes

vs. 3 years ago, etc.)

learning problems. This is treatable and the child can catch up if the right things are done (see the Heartsent Learning Solutions on our web site). Another

D: I think more older kids are being adopted than several years ago because

reason is that people often want the experience of raising a baby (diapers,

there are relatively fewer infants that can be adopted. The slowdown of

bottles, first steps and words).

international adoption has allowed some people to search their hearts to see if an older child will be right to become their son or daughter.

J: What are the most common reasons people adopt older children? D: Older age of the parents; finding a specific child that they fall in love with; not wanting to do the infant things (diapers, bottles etc); a desire to give a child a family and a life that they would otherwise not have because they are older and might not be adopted by someone else.

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emily collins, Director of Programs, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute

August 05, 2010 Joy, I’d love to help provide you with any information you need to work on your project. Please feel free to e-mail me, or we can set up a phone call. Just let me know what works for you! Thanks, Emily


A k i n Fa m i l i es research

August 09, 2010

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J: Have you noticed any trends or changes in the adoption community in the past years? (example: growing number of kids in the system vs.

J: Why do people choose to adopt an infant instead of an older child? E: Many people to turn adoption because of infertility. The Mayo Clinic estimates that 10-15% of all American couples are infertile. Because

declining adoption demand; more older kids are getting adopted now vs. 3 years ago, etc.) E: One interesting trend is that the overall number of youth in foster care has

of this, these couples often seek to adopt infants. Also, people believe that

declined significantly over the past decade, however, the number of youth

if you adopt an infant they are “less damaged� than an older child.

aging out of foster case having never been adopted has significantly risen. One

J: What are the most common reasons people adopt older children? E: Few people initially seek older children when they start the adoption process.

possible explanation for this is that the Chafee Foster Care Independence Act was passed in 1999 which doubled funding to youth aging out of care. As with any social program, the funding determines the outcome, so social workers

It is only after they have learned about the need for adopting older children that

had money available for youth aging out of care and promoted that outcome

they consider this option. In addition to reasons previously stated, older children

for youth on their case load.

and teenagers are more frequently placed in group homes or institutions versus a traditional foster family. Since over half of all adoptions from foster care are by foster parents, this significantly affects the rate of adoption child adoptions. There are various adoptive parent recruitment models that are meant to focus on older children and youth since they are adopted at a lower rate than younger children in care. J: Who are the people who pursue the adoption of older children? E: Anyone can pursue this option, including single women, single men, and gay couples. The laws and regulations vary by state.

Here are some useful links: www.acf.hhs.gov/programs /cb /stats_research /afcars /trends.htm www.acf.hhs.gov/programs /cb /stats_research /afcars /tar/report16.htm www.ccainstitute.org /images /stories /emilie_stoltzfus_crs.pdf www.ccainstitute.org /images /stories /joe_kroll_nacac.pdf www.childwelfare.gov/responding /youth /supporting_youth.cfm


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“Mom” Prospective Parent

November 17, 2010 Hi Joy, That’s great that you’re doing your thesis on this topic. I happened to mention to (Name) last week that I plan on doing this (not imminently, but maybe in about 4-5 years). I have always wanted to adopt, and after visiting orphanages in Africa I realized how easy it is to fall in love with the children of different ages. I met a nine-year old HIV+ girl who I would love to adopt if I had the means (but can’t anyway because Tanzania does not have an open adoption policy). I want to be a mother someday, but have never felt a need to have a biological child. I don’t have anything specific to ask you about, I just think Phil thought it would be nice to put us in touch because of the common ground. My main issue right now is time, as I’m working full time and also in the evenings on grad school applications (I’m hoping to transition into a career in international affairs). But if there is anything you’d like my input on or have something you’d like to talk to me about, do feel free to contact me and I’ll do my best to respond in a timely manner. Best, “Mom”


A k i n Fa m i l i es research

November 28, 2010

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J: Were you always in favor of international older child adoption? Why?

J: Please elaborate your statement, “I want to be a mother someday,

M: I hadn’t given a lot of thought to international adoption until I visited

but have never felt a need to have a biological child.”

Tanzania. After seeing the conditions of the orphanages there (which were appalling) I felt I’d like to adopt from Africa. At least in the U.S. orphans

M: I’m not sure why I don’t feel a need to have a biological child. I know

have better living conditions and the right to attend public school. This is

that some women have a very strong natural urge to get pregnant, and I’ve just

not the case in many places, so the future of the kids can be more bleak.

never felt it. It’s not that I’m opposed to having a biological child necessarily,

Of course, international adoption is expensive and I’m not sure how I’m going

it just doesn’t seem that important. There are so many children in the world

to overcome that barrier. I won’t seriously start looking into the process

already who need homes, and adoption just fits better with my world view.

for another 3-4 years.

J: When did you start thinking about being a mother? What triggered

I hope this is helpful to you. Best of luck!

your thoughts to adopt? Thank you, M: I have always wanted to be a mother since I was in my early 20s. Nothing

“Mom”

specific triggered the thoughts, I just naturally felt that I’m meant to be a mother someday. I do not have a strong relationship with my own mother, but

March 11, 2011

I’m not sure how much that has to do with my feelings about it. I recognize how important the parent /child bond is and I want to provide that for someone.

J: Would you be interested in a book of collected personal stories of adoptive parents and adoptees?

J: Was adopting an older child your first preference instead of an infant? Why?

M: I Hi Joy, I have only consulted the Internet I’m my research. I have not gotten very deep into the process. A book with stories sounds like a great idea.

M: I didn’t really think about adopting an older child until I visited orphanages

Looks like you’ve made a good start on your web site. I wish you luck with

in Tanzania while volunteering there. I realized how easy it is to become

the project!

attached to a child. I am in my late thirties and single so adopting an older child also has practical aspects. An older child could go to school while I worked, so childcare would be less of an issue. Of course I realize that other behavioral problems could be inherent with an older child, such as if they do not receive adequate nurturing as a baby. This is something I’m prepared to deal with.

“Mom”


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Directed Study: One on One

My Directed Study advisors were the key people who helped me on every stage of my thesis journey. I started to reached out to those who could help me with my thesis. The first few people I talked to were not directly connected with older child adoption but they helped me connect with the right people. It was very interesting for me to meet and be able to talk to different people who share the same passion about helping find a loving home to a child.

Michael Kilgore Designer, AAU Faculty

Fall 2010 Michael lead me in building a strong foundation of my thesis and organizing my research in a very efficient way. We defined the problem, my goals and a tentative set of deliverables. Michael asked me to divide my research into two categories, which are visual and cognitive research. I made spreadsheets of the interviews articles, books, movies and other items that contained data for my thesis. I also produced contact sheets of photographs I took and collected. The organization method that Michael taught me helped immensely when I was designing my deliverables.


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A k i n Fa m i l i es directed S tudy: one on one

david hake Designer, Photographer, AAU Faculty

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Spring 2011 David helped me in developing my thesis’ identity and the visual aesthetics. We explored different marks and visual language for my thesis. David also helped me get photographs of children by inviting me to be a volunteer assistant photographer for Music in Schools Today (MUST), an after-school program he’s been helping out for a while now.

Meanwhile I continue to do my research by reading more books and tried to get in touch with more adoption experts. During this time, I started talking to the founder and members of Filipino Adoptees Network (FAN), they were all helpful with answering my questions about being adopted as an older child.


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Through Filipino Adoptees Network, I was able to get in touch with Karen Benally and her adopted daughter Lisa, who were doing a study about adult transnational adoptees. I also talked to Pedro Magni of FAN. He introduced me to Marivir Tungol from the Inter-Country Adoption Board of the Philippines who had shown interest in my project.

doug Hebert

Summer 2011

Principal, Design Director, Savage Brands

My last advisor was Doug Hebert. I felt lucky to have him as my advisor because he is adopted himself as well as being a Designer. He also did an award winning booklet for DePelchin Children’s Center.

All of my advisors gave me encouragement and confidence. I would not have

Doug gave me valuable insight both conceptually

completed my thesis without them.

and visually.


A k i n FA m i l i es

D I REC T ED S T U DY: O N E O N O N E

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Positioning and Analysis

I performed a thorough review of the campaigns that some of the adoption

I also read books for prospective parents and parents who have started the

organizations are currently running and evaluated what worked and that did

process of adopting an older child. Although these books were helpful, I noticed

not. There were a few that stood out to me such as the Adopt Love, Adopt

that they either painted a picture-perfect adoption or were too negative and

Hope campaign by Adoption SF and Family Builders. The campaign stood out

could potentially scare parents. Further more, when I talked to Dick Lotspeich

because they were visually pleasing and the message was simple. Some ads,

of Heartsent Adoptions Inc., he said that balancing the truth and giving hope

however most are more about promoting the services of the organizations or

to adoptive parents was one of the biggest challenges that they faced in their

agencies. None of these ads though, address the question “What’s in it for me? ”

organization. From then, I decided to create an introduction to older child

and none of the ads I’ve seen address the issue of the misconceptions about

adoption book that contained positive aspects, potential failures and straight-

older children. When I realized that there were these issues that were unad-

forward truths about what adoptive parents could expect as they went

dressed, I decided that my solution had to emphasize the positive aspects and

through the process of adoption. The book also contains personal experience

demonstrate hope.

stories from adoptive parents, adult adoptees and other adoption experts.


A k i n Fa m i l i es positioning and analysis

Current advertisements from different organizations. Left to right: Adoption SF, Adoptions From The Heart and Huminska Anioly, Inc.

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Audience

My primary audience are prospective adoptive parents who have already thought of adoption but have never considered adopting an older child. I also would like to reach those who have already thought of adopting an older child but have doubts, I would like them to know that with the right preparation and knowledge they should not be scared about adopting an older child. My secondary audience is the general public. I would like to change their negative perception about older children and for them to further understand the older children and their adoptive parents.

Right photo: Prospective parents attending an older child adoption orientation.


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Who are the current adoptive parents of older children?

Single Female

26%

Single Male

2%

Unmarried Couple 2% Married Couple

Source: Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families . Preliminary Estimates for Fiscal Year 2008 as of January 2008.

69%


A k i n Fa m i l i es audience

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Why do parents adopt an older child?

Married Couples

Single Men and Women

» After spending many years and a considerable amount of money on failed

» Being single limits their ability to have a child in a natural way but they

fertility treatment, their next option is to adopt.

would like to experience raising and having a child /children. Sometimes being single also limits their option in adopting such as only being allowed to

» Some put off starting a family until their careers and /or financial security are

adopt an older child.

established and later find out that they can no longer conceive. While in other cases, the law defines a maximum age gap between the age of the

other reasons

adoptive parent and the child.

» Many who adopt older children say that they always had the desire to adopt older kids, including those with special medical or emotional needs.

» They want to add another member to their family; they want another child closer to their birth child’s age or want to build a second family after their children have grown and left home. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (individuals /couples) » Since they cannot conceive naturally but would like to raise child /children that they can call their own, one of their best options is to adopt. Depending on the country or state laws, older child adoption may be their only option.

Some even view it as a “calling” of some sort, something they feel compelled to do.


A k i n Fa m i l i es solution

Akin Families

Akin Families creates awareness and stimulates action to counter the current adoption disparity and give every child, regardless of age, an opportunity for future success. Our goal is to correct the misconceptions about adopting an older child. We also would like to emphasize the benefits of having a loving and caring home for a child and the rewards of being a parent of an older child. Akin Families provides accessible information for prospective parents and adoptive parents about older child adoption. Akin Families’ web site hosts an online community where members help each other by sharing their life experiences and stories about their adoption.

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What does it mean to belong to a family and have a permanent home?

belongingness and permanency

What is best for a child who is a legal orphan is a well-planned permanency.

It is for the child’s best interest to remain with his birth family—if it is a safe

When a child joins a new family, permanency is established. He becomes a part

and nurturing home. Sometimes that is not the case; unfortunately, there are

of a home once again. This acceptance can be foreign and frightening because

many homes that are dangerous and damaging for a child—homes where

of his past but he will eventually accept the joys, sorrows, connections and

the child is abused, neglected and abandoned. In homes like these, a child must

complexities that are part of belonging to a family. Once a child begins to heal,

be moved as soon as possible into a permanent home where he can begin to

he will be more open about himself, his feelings and his past. He will loosen

heal and continue to grow to his potential. In most cases, however, permanency

up and will not feel like he has to be in control of every situation. He will start

is not achieved until later. A child is placed temporary living arrangements

to trust the people around him and believe that he has a better future. He

and is moved multiple times. The lack of permanency is damaging to the child,

will have hope.

frustrating to foster parents and professionals, complicating for adoptive parents and of no comfort to birth parents. Careless and unreasonable removal of children from their home is not ideal, either; nor does it address their unsafe living situation.


“With foster care there’s love in the room, but it’s all the way across the room. With adoption love is right up in your face.” — Mike, 17 adopted at 5


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The joys and rewards of being an adoptive parent of an older child

The feeling of satisfaction with your child’s achievements

Knowing you have overcome difficult obstacles

Aside from skipping the diaper-changing stage, adoptive parents of older children

Becoming a parent means seeing the world through a child’s perspective.

have other more meaningful reasons why they choose to adopt an older child.

It’s not just your child who learns from the experience of adoption; you as an

No parent can deny that they love the feeling of satisfaction they get in their

individual also learn from your child. As a parent, it is helpful to remember

child’s achievements. Whether it is social, academic, athletic, artistic or in the

one’s own childhood experiences. Through the process of adoption, the parent

community, there is a sense of accomplishment for the parents when their child

and child learn new responsibilities and develop greater maturity as a result

is successful their child is and they helped him to get there.

of responding to this new experience together.


“You watch him develop, as you teach him different things, and then they grow up. And then you’d be surprised, it gives you a lot of satisfaction when they take a hold of something. You probably think you’re not getting any place and then all of a sudden they just seem to pick. Catch on, you know.” — John, Adoptive Father


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Our Name and Symbol

From the root word kin, Akin means related or connected. It gives a sense of belongingness to an individual, a child who needs a parent or a parent who needs a child. In the Filipino dialect—Tagalog, Akin means mine or my own. With the assistance of Akin Families, a parent will find a child of his own and a child will belong to a family that he can call his own. The symbol illustrates a parent and a child that complete each other just like the children and parents that Akin Families connect and help build. Our signatures are significant expressions of who we are and what our goal is. That’s why it is important to use it correctly and consistently.


A k i n Fa m i l i es solution

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J oy o h l e r

M FA T h ESIS

Color Palette

Our color palette show our spirit and promote our attributes. The colors are youthful and joyful just like how the children and their parents should be. We highly encourage the use of these colors in any of the pieces that are associated with Akin Families.


A k i n Fa m i l i es color palette

primary

C

M

Y

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Name

Pantone

Brilliant Berry

Pantone Rhodamine Red U

000 100 000 000

K

R

235 000 130

G

B

Inspiring Orange

Pantone 717 U

000 055 100 000

245 140 030

Hope Green

Pantone 369 U

065 010 085 000

100 175 090

Lively Blue

Pantone 298 U

070 005 000 000

000 185 235

Jolly Red

Pantone Red 032 U

015

090 085 000

240 065 055

Sunshine Yellow

Pantone 110 U

005 010 065 000

245 220 120

Growth Green

Pantone 432 U

090 050 075 020

030 095 080

Comfort Blue

Pantone 2757 U

100 080 000 030

005 005 125

Concrete Gray

Pantone 432 U

025 000 000 075

070 085 095

Calm Gray

Pantone Cool Gray 7 U

000 000 000 040

175 175 175

Warm Gray

Pantone Warm Gray 6 U

000 005 010 030

190 180 175

secondary

netural

netural tints


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Typography

Aa

Frutiger is our preferred sans serif typeface. It is named after it’s designer Adrian Frutiger. Frutiger is organic, casual and warm but also clean and legible. The ascenders and descenders are prominent and are wide, which makes every character easy to distinguish from each other. It is also available in a wide variety of weights.

47 Light Condensed

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUV WXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 12 3 45 6 7 8 9 0

67 Bold Condensed

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 12 3 4 5 67 8 9 0

57 Condensed

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

77 Black Condensed

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 123 4 5 678 9 0

45 Light

ABCDEFGhIJKLMNOPQRSTUV W X Y Z abcdefghijklmnopqrstuv wxyz 12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

55 Roman

ABCDeFGHiJKLMnOPQRStuv Wxyz abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

46 Light Italic

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUV WXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

56 Italic

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUV WXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

65 Bold

ABCDeFGhiJklmnoPQrsTUVWXyZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 123 456789 0

75 Black

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 123 456789 0

66 Bold Italic

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 123 4 5 678 9 0

76 Black Italic

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0


A k i n FA m i l i es

Aa

T Y P OGR A Ph Y

Serifa is another type designed by Adrian Frutiger. The slab serifs epitomize stability. Usually, slab serif types are blocky and difficult to read in text, but Serifa has more humanistic forms that are highly readable. The implied energy in these features also helps give the font an energetic and youthful vibe. And Serifa can look quite classic as well especially when set appropriately as display text.

45 Light

A BCDEFGhIjk lMNOPQ RST u v w X yZ a bcdefghijk l m nopq rstuv w x yz 12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

55 Roman

A BCDeFGH I J K l M NOPQ R ST U V W X Y Z a b c d e f gh i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 123 456789 0

46 Light Italic

ABCDEFGH IJK LMNOPQ RSTU V WXYZ a b c d e f gh i j k l m n o p q r s t uv w x y z 12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

56 Italic

ABCDEFGHIJK LMNOPQ RST U V W X Y Z a bc defghijk l m nopqr stuv w x yz 123 456789 0

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTU V WXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuv wxyz 1234567890

75 Black

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abc defghijklmnopqr stuvwxyz 1234567890

65 Bold

65


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M FA T h ESIS

Photography

Ever since I decided to do my thesis on older child adoption, I knew that emotion would be the key in setting the tone and sending the message. Although images of hurt children and their dire conditions can be visually powerful, I did not think that would send the right impression. I wanted my thesis to be uplifting and at the same time emotionally touching inspired by the success stories. CHeeRFuL AnD LiveLy We encourage showing photographs of happy and active children and parents, alone or together all the time. These photographs highlight the benefits and rewards of adopting an older child and belonging to a family.


A k i n Fa m i l i es ph otograph y

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A k i n Fa m i l i es ph otograph y

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aspiring When appropriate, images of hope, love and other images that evoke emotional response and can touch the viewers can also be used. Please do not to show images that signify violence or abuse, such as children with bruises, as it may trigger negative memories and responses from the viewers.


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Graphic elements

SiLHOuetteS These graphic elements are used because they are memorable and stand out in the visual clutter especially when placed on a page with different images of children. These silhouettes are also memorable because they are simple but bright. The bright colors evoke hope, happiness and growth. When type is placed inside the silhouette, the solid color helps the viewer to focus on the message of the text and not the image. These silhouettes help prevent the viewer from having a pre-conceived notion regarding older children—it lets the viewer imagine what the person who is delivering the statement looks like.


A k i n FA m i l i es

GR A Ph I C EL EM EN T S

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M FA T h ESIS

Deliverables

introduction to Older Child Adoption book

The book is for prospective parents who are interested in or in the process of adopting an older child. The book provides unbiased information about older child adoption. It also contain statements and stories told by prospective parents, adoptive parents, adult adoptees and adoption professionals.


A k i n Fa m i l i es deliverables

Web Site

The web site is a resource for prospective parents who are interested in adopting an older child. It contain facts about older child adoption and resources such as adoption organizations and agencies, suggested readings and movies. The web site also hosts an online community where people share their stories and tips on adoption.

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Print Advertising

J oy O h l e r

M FA T h esis

The print advertising is part of the advertising campaign, with the goal to correct the misconceptions about older child adoption. The ads highlight the benefits of adoption to children and rewards of being an adoptive parent. Print ads will be implemented in selected magazines and local newspapers.


A k i n Fa m i l i es deliverables

Web Banners

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The web banners are bold and simple to easily grab the viewer’s attention and to avoid getting lost in the visual noise. The banner is clickable and will take users to Akin Families’ home page. The URL is also provided at the bottom of the graphic.


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Adoption Planner

J oy O h l e r

M FA T h esis

The planner is a useful tool for prospective and adoptive parents to help them organize their adoption process. It also contains reminders and guides that will motivate them to not give up when they face challenges and how to deal with certain situations during the adoption process.


A k i n Fa m i l i es deliverables

Life Book Kit

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The kit will help prospective and adoptive parents document and honor every minute of their child’s life journey. A life book is more than a scrap book, it is a child’s story.


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Promotional Materials

J oy O h l e r

M FA T h esis

The promotional materials are supplemental pieces to the ad campaign. They communicate the benefits and rewards of older child adoption.


A k i n Fa m i l i es deliverables

Identity Guidelines

The identity guidelines are for people who will be involved in designing and creating materials for Akin Families. They ensure that the essence of Akin Families is communicated clearly and properly in all the pieces that will carry its name.

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“It is not the flesh and blood but the heart that makes us family.” — Johann Schiller, Poet


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Bibliography

Organizations Administration for Children and Families (AFCARS) www.acf.hhs.gov Adoption.Org www.adoption.org Adoption Learning Partners www.adoptionlearningpartners.org Adoption SF www.adoptionsf.org Bay Area Kids www.bakids.org Beth O’Malley, Adoption Life Books www.adoptionlifebooks.com Boys and Girls Aid www.boysandgirlsaid.org California Court Appointed Special

Congressional Coalition on

Inter-Country Adoption Board, Philippines (ICAB)

Adoption Institute

www.icab.gov.ph

www.ccainstitute.org Kinship Center Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

www.kinshipcenter.org

www.davethomasfoundation.org Older Child Adoption DePelchin Children’s Center

www.olderchildadoption.com

www.depelchin.org Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute

www.ppic.org

www.adoptioninstitute.org Rebekah Children’s Services Family Builders

www.rcskids.org

www.familybuilders.org Stories of Adult Transnational Families For Children

Adoptees and Their Parents

www.families4children.com

www.transnational-adoptee-parent-study.com

Filipino Adoptees Network www.filipino-adoptees-network.org Heartsent Adoptions www.heartsent.org

Advocates (CASA)

Hospicio de San Jose

www.californiacasa.org

www.hospiciodesanjose.org


A k i n Fa m i l i es bibliograph y

Blogs

books

Bushel and A Peck: One Thankful Mom

Adopting and Advocating for the Special Needs

www.onethankfulmom.com

Child: A Guide for Parents and Professionals,

Older Child Adoption, Grace Robinson

L. Anne Babb and Rita Laws Older Child Adoption www.older-child.adoptionblogs.com

Adoption: Opposing View Points, David Bender and Bruno Leone

See Jamie Blog

Parenting the Older Child, Trish Maskew

Pathos of Asian Adoptees www.pathosofasianadoptees.tumblr.com

Our Own: Adopting and

Parenting Your Adopted Older Child: How to Overcome the Unique Challenges and Raise

Attaching in Adoption:

a Happy and Healthy Child,

Practical Tools for Today’s Parents,

Brenda McCreight

Deborah D. Gray

www.seejamieblog.comnter

Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Adopting Older Children,

Foster Child: Making Sense of the Past,

Alfred Kadushin

Jayne E. Schooler and Betsy Keefer

Adopting the Hurt Child: Hope for

You Can Adopt: An Adoptive Family Guide,

Families with Special Needs Kids

S. Caughman and I. Motley

A Guide for Parents and Professionals, Gregory C. Keck and Regina Kupecky A Love Like No Other, Pamela Kruger and Jill Smolowe Beyond Good Intentions, Cheri Register Yeong

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Magazines Adoption Today Adoptive Families Magazine Parents Magazine

J oy O h l e r

M FA T h esis

Movies

Documentary Films

August Rush, Kirsten Sheridan

Adopted, Barb Lee

The Adventures of Ociee Nash, Kristen McGary

Adopted, Pauly Shore

Big Daddy, Dennis Dugan

Adoption, Marta Meszaros

The Blind Side, John Lee Hancock

Aging Out, Roger Weisberg, Vanessa Roth

December Boys, Rod Hardy

The Business of Being Born, Abby Epstein

Home Beyond the Sun, Colin Chilvers

First Person Plural, Deann Borshay Liem

Johnny, D. David Morin

Left On Lockett Lane, Jonathan Reinert

The Kids Are All Right, Lisa Cholodenko

National Geographic: China’s Lost Girls, Lisa Ling

The Lost and Found Family, Barnet Bain

Off and Running, Nicole Opper

Lovely and Amazing, Nicole Holofcener

The Orphan Trains, PBS Studios

Martian Child, Menno Meyjes

Wo Ai Ni Mommy, Stephanie Wang-Breal

Mockingbird Don’t Sing, Harry Bromley Davenport The Orphan, Jaume Collet-Serra Problem Child, Dennis Dugan Samantha, Nadia Tass Stuart Little, Rob Minkoff White Oleander, Peter Kosminsky


A k i n Fa m i l i es reflections

Reflections

I am grateful for having the opportunity to talk to and work with people I would not have had a chance to know otherwise. It is rewarding whenever I receive people’s praises and reactions when I tell them about the subject of my thesis and show them my finished work. If given another chance to choose a topic, I would choose older child adoption again. It has been a long, hard but amazing journey. I have had many long, sleepless nights, bad days but also many inspiring conversations. I may not be an adopted child or an adoptive parent, but going through my thesis journey helped me appreciate and understand the importance of having a loving and supportive family like the one I have.

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www.akinfamilies.com | info @akinfamilies.com Joy Ohler | 415/370.2844



Akin Families: Finding Forever Families for Older Children