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Heart Times AASK-Adults Adopting Special Kids

Oct-Dec 2010 Volume 7, Issue 2

Ten Myths and Realities of Sibling Adoption

- Reprinted with permission from Adopt Us Kids

Myth One: When a child is acting in the parental role, he/she should be separated from younger siblings to give him/her a chance to “be a child” and/or reduce interference with the new adult parent. Reality: Separating the older child is detrimental to both that child and the younger children. The younger children must face life in unfamiliar circumstances without the support of the older child; the older child is often left feeling responsible for the younger siblings, even when they are not placed together. Adoptive families who are prepared to deal with this dynamic can help these siblings develop appropriate

AASK is a collaborative program of Catholic Charities North Dakota and

PATH

OUR MISSION AASK commits to building permanency for children from foster care through adoption by stable and nurturing families.

roles. Myth Two: Brothers and sisters should be separated to prevent sibling rivalry, especially when there is extreme conict. Reality: Separating siblings teaches them to walk away from conict and increases the trauma they already feel in being separated from all that is familiar to them. It does not allow the children an opportunity to learn to resolve differences and develop stronger sibling relationships in a healthy, supportive environment. Myth Three: Siblings should be separated when one sibling is abusing the other. Reality: It is important to distinguish between true abuse and all other forms of sibling hostility, while considering measures other than separation that can protect the child who is being abused. Removing a child from his/her sibling does not guarantee that the child will not be abused in another setting. Having adoptive parents who are aware of the abuse and who put in place safety plans to address it is an option to keep siblings together. Myth Four: A child with special needs should be placed separately from siblings in order to receive more focused attention. Reality: An adoptive family who is prepared to meet the special needs of a child, as well as that child’s siblings, may offer the best opportunity for the child to receive the attention he/she needs. A child placed with his/her siblings may actually receive more personalized attention than a child placed into a family where there are other children with similar special needs requiring increased attention and resources. Myth Five: Sibling relationships should only be considered viable when the children have grown up together or have the same biological parents. Reality: Children who experience life in the child welfare system often form a variety of “sibling-like” relationships with non-related brothers and sisters they have lived with, both in their biological families and in foster care. Professionals placing children need to take into consideration the child’s denition of who is and is not a sibling before making adoption placement decisions. Myth Six: Families willing to consider adopting a sibling group need to be willing to adopt groups that, on average, include four or more children. Reality: The majority of waiting children with siblings on the Adopt Us Kids website (www. adoptuskids.org) are in sibling groups of two (58%) or three siblings (24%), while fewer are in sibling groups of four to six siblings (18%). (McRoy 2010) (continued on page 10)


AASK Staff Contact Information Catholic Charities North Dakota 5201 Bishops Boulevard - Suite B Fargo, North Dakota 58104 Andrea Donais AASK Worker Corey Ernst AASK Program Supervisor Jennifer Foss AASK Worker/WWK Recruiter Nancy Germain AASK Worker Leanne Johnson AASK Director Sonja McLean AASK Worker Kathy Quaife AASK Worker

Phone: 701-235-4457 Fax: 701-356-7993

Toll Free: 877-551-6054

701-356-8027 701-356-7987 701-356-7985 701-356-8023 701-356-7986 701-356-7981 701-356-8039

adonais@catholiccharitiesnd.org cernst@catholiccharitiesnd.org jfoss@catholiccharitiesnd.org ngermain@catholiccharitiesnd.org ljohnson@catholiccharitiesnd.org smclean@catholiccharitiesnd.org kquaife@catholiccharitiesnd.org

Catholic Charities North Dakota 311 S 4th Street - Suite 105 Grand Forks, North Dakota 58201 Tricia Heck AASK Worker Andrea Olson AASK Worker

Phone: 701-775-4196 Fax: 701-775-0129

PATH ND, Inc. 2000 East Burdick Expressway Minot, North Dakota 58701 Andrea Lang AASK Worker Amanda Sem AASK Worker

Phone: 701-839-8887 Fax: 701-839-8990 701-839-8887 701-839-8887

alang@catholiccharitiesnd.org asem@catholiccharitiesnd.org

PATH ND, Inc. 1820 East Walnut Street - Suite 5 Devils Lake, North Dakota 58301 Deanne Johnson AASK Worker

Phone: 701-662-4913 Fax: 701-662-4963

Toll Free: 800-766-9389

701-662-4913

djohnson@pathinc.org

PATH ND, Inc. 418 East Broadway - Suite 25 Bismarck, North Dakota 58501 Joan Allen AASK Program Supervisor Kathy Watson AASK Worker

Phone: 701-224-9611 Fax: 701-224-9747

Toll Free: 800-766-9279

701-224-9611 701-224-9611

jallen@catholiccharitiesnd.org kathy@catholiccharitiesnd.org

PATH ND, Inc. 135 Sims Street - Suite 204 Dickinson, North Dakota 58601 Linda Gregory AASK Worker

Phone: 701-225-3310 Fax: 701-225-2208

Toll Free: 800-766-9351

701-225-3310

lgregory@pathinc.org

PATH ND, Inc. Turtle Mountain PO Box 1970 Belcourt, North Dakota 58316-1970 Cleo Keplin AASK Worker

Phone: 701-477-0525 Fax: 701-477-0527

Toll Free: 800-303-4961

701-477-0525

ckeplin@pathinc.org

Director’s Corner

701-775-4196 701-775-4196

theck@catholiccharitiesnd.org aolson@catholiccharitiesnd.org

by Leanne Johnson

Season’s Greetings! This issue is packed with exciting information and happenings! From National Adoption Awareness Month activities, to information on new features to the Adoption Tax Credit, to the inclusion of new children to the Waiting Children feature, you will see that adoption in North Dakota has been very active! The North Dakota Heart Gallery celebrated its Third Annual Gala and the AASK program was very proud to be a part of such a spectacular event! We are beginning a new era in the Heart Times by going mostly electronic. Please visit our website at www.aasknd.org and follow the link for Heart Times. We hope that making the newsletter available on our website will be an easy and convenient way for you to get all the latest program news. If you would like a paper copy of this publication, please contact us and we will happy to accommodate your request. May this holiday season bring you joy, peace and happiness!


New Changes to Federal Adoption Tax Credit Did you know there were changes made to the federal adoption tax credit? The federal adoption tax credit was made refundable for the rst time! Meaning, you can claim it for a refund even if you owe no taxes. Families who adopt a child with special needs from foster care can claim the credit without needing to incur or document expenses. The credit per child is now $13,170 for adoptions nalized in 2010. Now that the credit is refundable, many more families will benet, even families who adopted earlier than 2010 but didn’t have enough tax liability to access the credit in previous years. Families who nalized adoptions in 2005-2009 can carry forward unused tax credit to their 2010 return and claim it as a refundable credit. Be informed when preparing your taxes or visiting your tax consultant this year. Since this is new, some tax consultants may not be aware of the changes. Help to educate them of the recent updates to the federal credit by referring them to the IRS instructions for Form 8839 and NACAC’s fact sheets. To learn more about the adoption tax credit and how it might benet your family, visit the following resources: - Visit the IRS (Form 8839): http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/article/0,,id=177982,00.html (You will notice that this currently links to the 2009 forms. The IRS will update the forms to 2010 later this year.) - Visit VFA’s board organization (NACAC) for helpful fact sheets at: http://www.nacac.org/ Contact Voice for Adoption at voiceforadoption@gmail.com or (202) 210-8818. You can also visit their website for more information at www.voice-for-adoption.org. (The information listed here is not intended to be professional tax advice. Please check with a professional tax consultant.)

Meet Our Featured Child ... DIMITRY 13-year-old Dimitry is a real practical joker at times. He loves to be silly but he can also be very serious and soft-spoken. His has an incredibly sharp wit and dry sense of humor! Dimitry enjoys listening to music, playing video games and going to movies. He prefers solving wordnd and Rubik’s Cube puzzles to sports or physical activity, but does enjoy playing “cops” outside, curling and soccer. Dimitry loves animals, especially dogs. He wants to eventually become a cop and hopes to have a police dog with him. Dimitry is very engaging and will tug on your heartstrings. More than anything, he wants to live with a family that enjoys spending time at home, doing family activities together. Dimitry came to America when he was adopted from Russia at the age of ve and he takes great pride in his Russian heritage. He learned English after moving here and entered the foster care system in April, 2009. Dimitry was legally freed for adoption in October, 2009. He just completed a successful placement at a residential treatment facility and will continue to see a therapist and a child psychiatrist and take medication to assist him with mood and attention issues. He does well when things are organized for him at home and at school, where he is a seventh grader. In order to help Dimitry feel secure, it is benecial if he can nd out about out-of-the-ordinary events or big changes in the schedule as much in advance as possible. Dimitry is open to be adopted by a family who has other children but he would like to be the oldest child, if possible. He is healthy and has no allergies to pets. An adoptive family for Dimitry will need to commit to engaging in attachment therapy with him throughout the adoption transition and for an undetermined time after the adoption is nalized. Dimitry’s ideal adoptive family will be able to support and respect his need for at-home family time. His team would like to nd a forever family for him who is able to assist him with organizational skills and who demonstrates an ability to be consistent, structured and nurturing at the same time. The family will also need to have access to child psychiatric services to monitor Dimitry’s medications. Most importantly, Dimitry needs a family that is willing to give him unconditional love and acceptance. Check out Dimitry on the North Dakota Heart Gallery website: http://www.ndheartgallery.com If yours is the family for this wonderful young man, please contact Nancy Germain right away at (701) 356-8023.


Waiting Children Please meet Zachery, a friendly and outgoing 15-year-old. He’s a math and science wiz who wants to be a scientist one day! He likes playing videogames, football, rap music and Sudoku puzzles. He also wants everyone to know he’s a Green Bay Packers fan! Zach is in very good health. He has had several placements and he needs a family who can commit to him. While he still struggles with past issues, he is working hard to overcome them. Zach is ready to become a permanent member of a forever family! Zach is a kind and energetic guy who enjoys hunting, shing and playing games and he would love to have a family to do these activities with. Zach says that he just wants a family who will always care for him. The ideal family for Zach will be one who is patient, loving and encouraging. He needs clear expectations and consistency in a family. Zach identies his older brother and younger sister as being most important to him and he’d like to maintain this connection. The family will need to be able to work with the many professionals who are involved with Zach to assist him in transitioning into their home. To learn more about Zach, please contact Amanda Sem at (701) 839-8887.

Andy is a friendly 13-year-old with a smile that lights up a room! He’s an 8th grader who will play football and basketball this year. He’s also a Boy Scout and he just started Conrmation class at church. Andy’s sense of humor is wonderful and he’s fun to be around. Andy is at an age appropriate grade level without the assistance of an Individual Education Plan. When he applies himself, he earns good grades. Parents who can reinforce appropriate peer interactions with cues and reminders will be benecial. Andy interacts appropriately with other adolescents and younger children when supervised. He is having a successful school year thus far, both academically and behaviorally. Andy is well-liked and has been elected by his peers to the student council! Andy is in good overall health and benets from the occasional use of an inhaler. He has learned to recognize his symptoms and react accordingly. Andy has been in his current foster home for a year and is doing very well there. He is a very pleasant young man; respectful of the adults in his life and always willing to help out with household and other chores. Andy currently receives letters and phone calls from one extended family member and continuing this contact will be important for him. Andy needs a very structured family who can offer consistency and support. He has worked hard to overcome the adversities in his life. He most importantly needs the security of a permanent, forever home. To nd out more, please contact Deanne Johnson at (701) 662-4913!

Holly is a very active, high energy and curious 12-year-old young lady. She is in the sixth grade with a specic Individual Education Plan (IEP). She has been doing fantastic in school this year, with very little intervention needed. Holly is now living with a family with children who are older and she gets along with them well. She enjoys younger children also and is very kind and gentle with them. She loves to interact and play with them. For the rst time, she has made two friends and has even had a sleepover with them. She is learning how to have and how to be a good friend. This is a new and exciting experience for Holly! Holly enjoys being active and likes being outside riding her bike in the summer or playing in the snow in the winter. This past summer she really loved to swim and learned to oat! She also went camping and enjoyed these experiences. These days, Holly’s interests include enjoying age appropriate clothing and accessories, having her hair and nails done and taking pride in her general appearance. Holly sleeps very well. She recently got new glasses and will be getting braces after the rst of the year. Generally, she is healthy. Holly has a high need for nurturing and needs a parent who can spend a great deal of time with her. She forms a strong connection to the mother gure and is gradually opening up to the father gure. A two-parent family is recommended so she learns to accept the father gure. Holly requires a very structured and nurturing environment with set rules and she needs to earn privileges. She sees a counselor twice a month and is on several medications. If you would like to learn more about Holly, please contact Kathy Quaife right away at (701) 356-8039!


Meet More Waiting Children Oshion is an outgoing, inquisitive girl with TONS of energy! Oshion (aka “OJ”) is in 2nd

grade and loves school. She’s very social and likes spending time with her friends. OJ is a beautiful artist who likes to draw pictures for others. Her favorite place to be is home and her favorite food is crab legs. When she grows up, Oshion would like to be a singer, a lawyer or a veterinarian. She loves animals. Nickelodeon airs many of her favorite TV shows, such as “I-Carly” and “Zoey 101”. OJ says she wants an adoptive family to know that she likes to be “treated like a princess”. Because of OJ’s diagnoses and history, an adoptive family needs to be willing to be patient with OJ as she learns to work through her emotions. A therapist is working with OJ. She has four younger siblings who will be adopted separately from her. Because OJ does best with lots of positive attention from adults, the team is hoping she can be adopted by a family with no other children or one in which she is the youngest. The team is recommending continued visits between OJ and her younger siblings throughout the adoption process and after nalization. OJ is featured in the ND Heart Gallery (www.ndheartgallery.com). Oshion is a resilient young lady who has seen a lot in her young life. Despite this, she has a lot of love to give to a family who is willing to dedicate themselves to meeting her needs. If you feel that you could meet OJ’s needs and would like to have more information about her, please contact Sonja McLean right away at (701) 356-7981! Please take the time to meet a charming and quiet 7-year-old, Uriah ! He has a sweet smile that will steal your heart and which is only enhanced by the tooth he recently lost! Uriah loves to play with any type of toy, including army men and coloring books, although he is generally content, as long as he is active. He’s an expert toy builder and creates amazing Lego towers! Uriah enjoys animals of any kind and thinks he would really like a baby tiger, although he will settle for just a house cat. His foster family has recently gotten pet birds and Uriah has had so much fun trying to teach the birds to talk! Uriah can be fairly quiet when he rst meets you but will answer questions well. He begins to open up more once he is able to be active while talking. Uriah can be fairly insightful and is currently working to articulate his feelings. When asked what his favorite part about himself is, he stated, “My body, because that’s where my heart is!” Uriah is currently in the rst grade. He enjoys one-on-one time with educators and this support often will help increase his attention span. A forever family for Uriah will need to be a strong advocate to help him receive services he may need. Uriah has stated that he is excited to have a forever family to be with and has begun to think about what traits he would like in a family! He wants any interested family to know that he is a “great kid!” The family for Uriah will need to be willing to get to know the Uriah hiding beneath his quiet demeanor. A family without younger children may be best suited for Uriah, as he likes to have a lot of attention; however, Uriah would not present younger children with any safety concerns. He’ll most likely need a great deal of structure and guidance to help him to continue learning how to best manage his emotions. If you think you can provide a home for this sweet young boy, please contact Andrea Lang at (701) 839-8887. I’d like to introduce you to half-siblings Isaac and Jasmine. Isaac, 9, is a very active 4th grader. He’s inquisitive and eager to learn. He loves to read and has a great interest in space. He’s smart and can be very responsible. Isaac can be very kind and caring toward others, especially his younger half-sister, Jasmine, but like most siblings they have their spats, too. Isaac loves sports and has participated in baseball and soccer. He enjoys playing outside or with his Nintendo DS, computer, video games and exchanging game cards. He appears to excel when with people one on one. He has a healthy appetite. His latest doctor and dental exams indicate that he is a healthy youth. Jasmine is a 4-year-old “girly girl” who loves to dress up and pretend to be a singer. She can be heard singing around her foster home. Jasmine is happy and loves to be the center of attention. She thrives on one-on-one attention and is eager to make you proud of her. She’s very social and enjoys dressing up (costumes, girly clothes, painting nails), singing and dancing. She can be very possessive of her own toys and clothes. Jasmine has a great appetite and is willing to try new foods. Her favorite color is purple. She enjoys story time and loves to swim, ride her bike, sh, boat and do anything outdoors. Her latest medical exam indicates that Jasmine is healthy and developmentally on track. It is felt that Isaac and Jasmine need an adjustment period from 1-3 months before a permanent family option is selected. The children’s current foster family will be the best resource for the prospective adoptive family and will assist in the transition of Isaac and Jasmine into their forever family. If you would like to learn more about these darling children and to know more about how your family could be considered as a permanency option, please contact Kathy Quaife at (701) 356-8039.


More Waiting Children to Meet Meet Elijah , a handsome and friendly 13-year-old with a great sense of humor. He’s a bit shy, but only until he gets to know you - then he can be quite the chatterbox! Elijah is interested in sports, camping, shing and being outdoors. His favorite sport is football and his favorite team is the Broncos! Elijah is very polite and often offers to help out around the home in any way he can. He likes to feel needed and wanted. Elijah does well in the 8th grade with the support of an Individual Education Plan (IEP). He does need to be reminded to stay on task and work on his organizational skills, which the IEP helps with. He wants to do well and will seek out the after school study program if he feels he needs assistance. Elijah would like to be in an active family with loving, nurturing parents and a couple of other children. He‘ll do well in a home where love is expressed and attention is given freely. Elijah is in good overall health. He recently had surgery to address a broken hip and is recovering well. His doctors have encouraged a full range of physical activity. Elijah has experienced several moves between family and foster care providers, which he has handled very well.He’s anxious to have a family to call his own. Elijah has contact with half-siblings, a former step-dad, an aunt and an uncle. He’d like to be able to continue those contacts once adopted. Most of these people are living in the same community as Elijah, so he would prefer not to have to move far away from them.

I’d like to introduce you to Garret, an energetic 14-year-old! This teen has a goal of becoming a famous author and has begun working towards this dream by writing a number of chapter books. His favorite thing to write about is Greek Mythology and he has been inspired by the Percy Jackson book series. Garret would like everyone to know, “I care for people who care about me. I like looking out for my younger siblings. I like to hang out with my family. I really like dogs. I am good at getting good grades in school. I want a family that is there for me when I need them.” Garret thinks it would be fun to be an only child and the center of the family’s attention but he’d also he would be happy with siblings of any kind as well and has enjoyed protecting younger siblings in his past. Garret has been described as “likeable” by those that know him and he wants people to know that he is a “good kid.” Garret feels he is an outgoing, kind young man who would love to have a family who loves him back. Garret has explained he wants to “work on controlling his anger” and wants a more “positive attitude.” He is working hard in a highly structured environment to nd strategies that will help him with this. Garret has needed to overcome many obstacles in his past and sees his treatment needs as just one more obstacle to triumph over. This is truly a determined young man! To learn more about this charismatic, imaginative boy, please contact Andrea Lang today at (701) 839-8887.

To learn more about this handsome, blue-green eyed young man, contact Kathy Watson at (701) 224-6840! Meet Alexander and Serenitty! Serenitty is a spunky little “girly” girl who will be 3 in January. She loves changing her clothes, getting dressed up and having her hair done. Getting her nails painted is a treat for her! Serenitty enjoys playing with dolls and teddy bears. She loves to cuddle. She carries her blanket everywhere and loves to show it to new people. Her favorite movie character is Tinkerbell. Alex is a real sports fanatic. At 2 years old, he is already watching ESPN and enjoys tossing a ball! The NDSU Bison are his favorite team. Alex also enjoys reading books. His favorite characters are Mickey Mouse and Elmo. He does not like to be rocked but bedtime music is benecial when he goes to sleep. Both children are healthy. When they’re hungry, they want to eat RIGHT AWAY! Both are being potty trained. They both seem to be comfortable around new people. Their foster mother states that it’s “monkey see, monkey do” with them: when one does something, the other shortly follows suit! Serenitty and Alex are very easy-going children. Serenitty and Alex’s foster mother states that one of the challenges in parenting them is that they bully each other. The children will benet from redirection and positive reinforcement. Their foster mother states that patience will be an important trait for an adoptive family to have! Serenitty and Alex mean the world to each other. When they are apart, they continually ask about the other sibling. It would be benecial that an adoptive family let the children continue to share a bedroom during transition and adoptive placement. Both children have been freed for adoption. Their custodial team is anxious to place Serenitty and Alex with their forever family in a timely manner. The AASK team is hoping to receive all inquiries by mid-January. If you have room in your hearts for these little ones, please contact Sonja McLean at (701) 356-7981.


More Waiting Children Meet John, a happy-go-lucky 9-yearold who loves animals, especially dogs and horses. He would like to become a farmer one day! John is a very curious and creative young guy who enjoys spending time outside, looking for bugs, playing with his marble collection and playing basketball. John is currently in the third grade and is doing very well. He receives help from a one-on-one aide at school and this helps him succeed. John responds best to patience and consistency and does well when he is given choices. He does a great job completing his work on his own. John is a kind and gentle boy who gets along well with others. John currently has frequent contact with two of his brothers and his sister. These relationships are very important to John and he hopes to maintain them. John has lived with his current foster family for the last two years and has formed a strong attachment to them. It will be benecial for him to continue this relationship as well. John says he would love to live on a farm where he can help take care of animals! He would especially love to have a dog. John will do well with a consistent, loving, patient family who can offer him the attention and support he needs. He would strive in a home with one or two parents, where he could be the only child or have siblings. John is also a member of a Native American tribe, so the tribe’s order of preference will need to be regarded when considering families. If you think that you could be John’s forever family, please contact Amanda Sem today at (701) 839-8887.

Marcis is excited to now be a teenager! He feels that he has grown up quite a bit in the last few months. He still loves playing video games and enjoys being outside. He likes to play arcade games and shop for new video games. He’d like to go hunting one day with his adoptive family. He has recently voiced an interest in football, which he enjoys playing. Marcis is funny and enjoys the attention of others. Marcis does not have a preference as to whether his adoptive family lives in town or on a farm. He would like to be the only child but would also be ok with one or two siblings. Either a married couple or a single parent would be ne with him. This is Marcis’ rst year in junior high! An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) supports him in his 7th grade classes. Marcis says he does best in a small school system. He enjoys one-on-one assistance at school and feels that he is best able to control his emotions when he is not in a large classroom. Marcis is very proud of the improvements he has made but also states that he still has a long way to go. An adoptive family will need to set straightforward rules for him. His foster family is using the “Nurtured Heart” approach to parenting and says that this technique has been very helpful. The “Nurtured Heart” technique highlights positive things that he has accomplished, while letting the negative things go. Marcis acknowledges that his emotions can uctuate quite quickly. He has learned techniques to help him calm down and reset. He has the support of a therapist he sees biweekly. Therapeutic supports should continue for Marcis throughout the adoption process and after to encourage positive self-esteem and positive attachments. Marcis was recently freed for adoption. He’s anxious to be with his forever family. He is featured in the ND Heart Gallery (www.ndheartgallery.org) and also on the Adopt Us Kids website (www.adoptuskids.org). Marcis needs a family who will stick by him, providing endless support, encouragement and nurturing. Could you be Marcis’ forever family? If you feel you could provide a stable, nurturing home and would like to learn more about him, please contact Sonja McLean at (701) 356-7981.

To learn more about some of these Waiting Children, please visit the at www.ndheartgallery.org


In Memory This issue of Heart Times is dedicated to the memory of Shirley Hoffarth. Shirley most recently served as Director of Foster Care for Grand Forks County Social Services. Prior to this position, Shirley was the AASK Worker for the Grand Forks region, serving the program since its inception in 1993. Shirley worked with Catholic Family Services in the eld of adoption prior to the AASK Collaborative. Shirley passed away on November 24, 2010 in Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Shirley will be remembered for her commitment to children and families and she will be sorely missed.

Needed: BLANKETS! Our AASK workers always provide each child being adopted through the foster/adopt system with a cozy, cuddly blanket of his or her own. Right now, we are in desperate need of blanket donations! Either homemade or purchased blankets are appreciated. If you are able to help with this need, please contact Jane Dickerson at (701) 356-7988 or stop by the AASK ofces at 5201 Bishops Boulevard in Fargo. Thank you!

From the Mouths of Babes... Two young boys were spending the night at their grandparents’ home. At bedtime, the two boys knelt beside the bed to say their prayers when the youngest one began praying at the top of his lungs , ““I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE! I PRAY FOR A NEW NINTENDO! I PRAY FOR A NEW DVD PLAYER!” His older brother leaned over and nudged the younger brother and asked, “Why are you shouting your prayers? God isn’t deaf!” To which the little brother replied, “No, but Gramma is!”


This Month’s Featured Family ... Meet the Lybecks! Darrin, an only child, was the most perfect Christmas gift his parents could have asked for! He and his parents lived a pretty quiet lifestyle but observed and celebrated holidays with friends and family. Just after high school, Darrin attended the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. He graduated from there in 2000 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Information Systems and a minor in Accounting. Darrin currently works as a Network Administrator. Michelle is the oldest of four children. Her family traveled often throughout her childhood, doing evangelism ministry work, camping and singing and/or playing musical instruments. During Michelle’s last year in high school, she took Ofce and Nurses Aide classes at Valley City Vo-Tech. She then earned her RNA (Registered Nurses Aide) license while working at the Anne Carlson Center in Jamestown, North Dakota, where she worked as a personal caretaker for girls up to 18 years old with a variety of physical, mental and developmental disabilities. Darrin and Michelle Lybeck met in 2000 and were married the following summer. They currently live in Petersburg, where they enjoy the quiet lifestyle a small North Dakota town offers. Family is highly valued in the Lybeck home and is the most important thing to Darrin and Michelle. In March of 2007, Darrin and Michelle’s family had ofcially grown by one when the adoption of their son, Christian, was nalized. Michelle enjoys the privilege of being a stay-at-home mother. The Lybecks know there are many children who continue to need a safe, loving and permanent home. It is Darrin and Michelle’s desire to provide a forever family to children still waiting and to further grow their family through adoption. Four-year-old Christian is just as eager to add to the family and cannot wait to have a brother or sister in the home!

Spotlight on Staff:

Andrea Lang

My name is Andrea Lang and I’m one of the new AASK workers in Minot. I’m originally from Bottineau, ND and moved to Minot with my family approximately 12 years ago. In May, 2010, I married my husband, Kasey, who works as an Information Systems Specialist with the Falkirk Mining Company in Underwood, ND. We enjoy travelling, spending time with friends and attempting to train our 6-month-old puppy, Easton, to listen to us. We also have a cat, Rascal, who is still not impressed with our decision to get a dog. I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead with my Bachelors Degree in Social Work in 2009. Throughout college, I worked at various group homes through Fraser, Ltd. and Friendship, Inc. I helped provide daily living support to individuals with developmental disabilities and assist them with learning various skills to improve their independence. I had the opportunity to complete my Social Work internship with Discovery Middle School in Fargo working with children in the ESL (English as a Second Language) community. Following my graduation, I returned to Minot and began working as a Foster Care Case Manager with Ward County Social Services in 2009. I was then hired by AASK in March, 2010. I have truly enjoyed getting to know all of my wonderful families and kids and look forward to all the relationships I get to witness through adoption!


Ten Myths and Realities of Sibling Adoption, continued (continued from page one) Myth Seven: There are insufcient numbers of homes that have the willingness or capacity to parent large sibling groups. Reality: Most waiting families registered on Adopt Us Kids (83%) are willing to adopt more than one child. (McRoy 2010) Some adoptive families express the desire to adopt “ready made” families of sibling groups. Other larger families are willing to adopt larger sibling groups. Policies and procedures that provide exceptions and incentives for families who adopt sibling groups are essential. Myth Eight: Potential adoptive families are less likely to express interest in children who are featured in recruitment efforts as members of sibling groups. Reality: Recruitment efforts specically designed for sibling groups that include: resource families who have raised siblings to recruit and talk to potential families; the use of media to publicize the need for families willing to adopt these groups; and recruitment pictures of the children taken as a group, have proven the most effective in placing brothers and sisters together. Myth Nine: Families who adopt sibling groups need to be wary of the brothers and sisters joining together to cause problems in the adoptive family. Reality: Research indicates that siblings placed together benet from the sibling bond in ways that do not present problems to the parent/child relationship. Older children in the sibling group are thought to provide emotional support to their younger siblings. There is evidence to suggest that siblings who are placed separately in adoption have more anxiety and depression than those who are placed together. (Groza 2003) Myth Ten: There are higher rates of failed adoptions in families who adopt siblings. Reality: Siblings who are placed separately are more likely to demonstrate greater emotional and behavioral problems. Research indicates that when siblings are placed together, they experience many emotional benets with less moves and a lower risk for failed placements. (Leathers 2005)

What’s Cooking!

Submitted by Julie Hoffman State Adoption Administrator

BIG, SOFT GINGER COOKIES INGREDIENTS • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose our • 2 teaspoons ground ginger • 1 teaspoon baking soda • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon • • • •

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 3/4 cup margarine, softened 1 egg 1/4 cup molasses

• • • •

1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup white sugar 1 tablespoon water 2 tablespoons white sugar

DIRECTIONS 1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the our, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Set aside. 2) In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and uffy. Beat in the egg and then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet and atten slightly. 3) Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.


CONGRATULATIONS! Congratulations to these families who recently celebrated the legal nalization of their adoptions!

Alexzander and Maria with Erik and Jennifer Anna and Dakota with Joel and Crystal Brian and Destiny with Russell and Wanda Elizabeth with Steven and Kimberly Keltlynn with Angela Hannah and Leighton with Erik and Dawn Dayton with Carmen Jaiden with Jason and Jessica Kaleb with Dean and Sherie Hailey with Barbara Ashley and Cortney with Keith and Paula Katlynn with Christopher and Brenda Marc with Brian and Jenni Adam and Isaiah with Calvin and Barbara-Anne Elizabeth with John and Mary Ethan, Michael, Natasha, Peter and Preston with John and Carolyn Jayme with James and Jodie Cecelia, Leah and Richard with Marc and Sheila Mystika with Jeffrey and Deborah Brie and Makayla with James and Deneen

Kids’ Corner:

“Ribbon Spool Noise Makers”

Turn empty ribbon spools into colorful noisemakers for New Year’s Eve! For each noisemaker, you will need: One ribbon spool A pencil Masking tape Dried peas, beans or popcorn kernels Acrylic paint Miscellaneous stickers Instructions: First, check to see if the holes in the sides of your spool are covered with the ribbon’s labels. If the holes are covered, use the pencil to poke through the label over one of the holes. If the holes are not covered, cover one hole with masking tape. Then, pour a handful of the dried peas, beans or popcorn into the spool through the open hole. Seal the hole with tape. Paint your noisemaker with acrylic paint. After the paint dries, decorate your noisemaker with stickers. Happy New Year!


ADULTS ADOPTING SPECIAL KIDS CATHOLIC CHARITIES ND 5201 BISHOPS BLVD - STE B FARGO ND 58104

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National Adoption Day Celebration in Grand Forks Grand Forks held its second annual National Adoption Day Celebration on Saturday, November 20, 2010. The Celebration commenced at 9:00 a.m. at the Grand Forks County Courthouse with craft projects and a continental breakfast open to the public. Also beginning at 9:00 a.m. were the private hearings for children whose adoptions were nalized that day. The day’s events were enjoyed by families whose adoptions were being nalized on NAD 2010, numerous families who have previously nalized their adoptions through the AASK Program and the many extended family members and friends of adoptive families. In Grand Forks, nine children were legally united with their forever families on National Adoption Day 2010. Following the nalization hearings, a program was held on the second oor of the courthouse. The program included remarks from Mayor Brown and US Senators Conrad and Dorgan sent their remarks and congratulations. District Court Judges Debbie Kleven and Joel D. Medd provided remarks. An adoptive parent’s perspective was heard and a poem was read by adopted youth. A PowerPoint presentation and digital photo frame were also displayed, highlighting the many faces of children in North Dakota who are still waiting to be matched with their forever family. The Celebration concluded with a large balloon release ceremony (see photos) and group photos of families who have grown through adoption. Trich Heck and Andrea Olson, AASK Adoption Workers from the Grand Forks Catholic Charities North Dakota ofce, want to thank the representatives from Grand Forks County Social Services, Northeast Human Service Center, Pembina County Social Services, Grand Forks Sheriff’s Department, volunteers from the Grand Forks County Courthouse, Attorney Janet Gregory and the numerous community sponsors for their support and participation in the day’s events and for helping to make National Adoption Day 2010 a huge success!


Dec 2010 Heart Times