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Race & Adoption a comfortable conversation Race & Adoption a comfortable conversation Judy Stigger, LCSW

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Presentation on theme: "Race & Adoption a comfortable conversation Race & Adoption a comfortable conversation Judy Stigger, LCSW"— Presentation transcript:

1 Race & Adoption a comfortable conversation Race & Adoption a comfortable conversation Judy Stigger, LCSW

2 “I think my mother and father never saw us as different from themselves or others in our community. I think they thought if they loved us enough, other people wouldn’t see the difference either.” White Privilege Once They Hear My Name Lee, Lammert, Hess A.J. (Amy Jo) Thomassen social worker in St. Louis, MO

3 Alex Haley “In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning; no matter what our attainments in life, there is the most disquieting loneliness.” Alex Haley, “Roots”

4  What we know about race & identity  Ages & stages  Challenges & advice  Birth family  Who’s in my tribe  Multiracial families  Evening news  Resources Agenda

5  Black/African American  White/Caucasian  Hispanic/Latino  Asian  Other  Adopted What We Know About Race

6  White / European  Asian  Hispanic / Latino  Other?  Black / African American  Adopted

7  Informational/Educational  Privacy Guarding  Humorous Goal: to EQUIP and PROTECT Responses

8  Kid useable responses  Aiming the spotlight If a child is asking: Is your answer kid-friendly? Other Considerations

9  Overt Prejudice  Random  Vicarious  Absent/Irrelevant  Curiosity of others  Care How We Learnx

10 Lasts a Lifetime

11  Greatest sources of discrimination for whites were around adoption (not race)  Extended Family (40%)  Childhood Friends (28%)  Childhood friend’s parents (24%)  Greatest sources of discrimination for kids of color were around race/ethnicity  Stranger (80%)  Classmates (75%)  Childhood Friends (48%) Sources of Discrimination

12 Importance of Adoptive Identity at Different Life Stages

13 Importance of Racial/Ethnic Identity at Different Life Stages

14 Community Characteristics (Diversity) Level of community diversity experienced by TR adoptees as children, and where they chose to live as adults

15 Extremely or Very Comfortable Somewhat Comfortable Somewhat Uncomfortable Extremely or Very Uncomfortable Comfort with Identity

16 3 – 6 years old  Issues: How things work Belonging Same & Different  Facts: What does my mom look like? Why didn’t she keep me?  Feelings: Curiosity: Want to know about self Pain: Want to be just like mommy or daddy

17 Just like Mommy / Daddy

18 School Projects / Triggers Draw yourself Draw your family Bring a baby picture Stories about new siblings

19 One of these is not like the other

20 How Diverse is Child’s School?  Student body  Teachers  Holidays & Celebrations  Images on walls & in books  Presentation of subject matter

21 Carmen: People Like Me

22 Windows & Mirrors

23 “Grandma Loves Me~”

24 Coherent Narrative Young Child

25 Questions What does my birth mom look like? Why didn’t she keep me? (Why didn’t she stop using drugs so she could keep me?) Why did you adopt me? Where’s my birth dad? Are my (siblings) okay? Do you know where they are? Am I going to grow up like my birth parents or my foster/adoptive parents? Why didn’t you send money so she could keep me?

26 7 – 10 years old  Issues: Envision others beyond self Play by rules  Facts: Why didn’t she keep me? What about my birth dad? With what race do parents associate & associate me?  Feelings: Value Development: Adoptive vs. Birth Parents Anger: I was not valued by BP

27 School Projects Triggers  National History  Family Tree  How family came to America  Ethnic festival  Drug awareness education  Emerging learning issues

28 Proactive vs Blindsided

29 Guilt versus Shame Guilt- we feel guilt for something we did or imagined we did. (Doing) Shame- we feel shameful for who we are. (Being) 29 Becky Carter, LCPC

30 FAIR Families Fairfamilies.org

31 Ethnic Fest

32 No one who looks like me is worth my parents’ friendship Nobody who looks like me is worth my parents’ friendship

33 Multiracial Identity for everyone

34 11 – 14 years old  Issues: Ethics Nature vs. Nurture Race/ethnicity as identity  Facts: Was she correct to place me? How am I like my B parent vs. my A parent  Feelings: Observe & Compare: Who am I like? Fear: What will I become? What groups will I fit in with?

35 School Projects / Triggers Family Tree Career Day Sex Education Biology World History Accommodations

36 Whose my Tribe?  Racial identity  Adoption identity  Gender identity  Common interests  Common abilities  Shared resources  Shared values

37 Identity: “Real Family” Biological EmotionalLegal

38 Birthfamily: first person ethnicity

39 Society’s Labels vs Self-Identity Black is Beautiful White is Wonderful I am Both

40 Multiracial for Generations to Come

41 How do we address “Ferguson”

42 Meet the New DCFS Training Requirements! Treating and styling a child’s hair properly boosts not only a parent’s self esteem, but also a child’s. Learn basic techniques and styles from an expert stylist. How-to videos are easy to follow and offer great advice for all hair types. Skin care tips are also included.

43 Spring 2015 Parenting Webinar Register Now at Identity in Adoption: Mirrors and Windows Have you ever wondered just how much nature vs. nurture will play a role in your adopted child’s identity formation? How will they balance these influences as they pull together their own understanding of who they are? What can you do to help them? Join moderator Leah Bloom, LMFT, as she leads our panel through a discussion about the intricacies of identity formation within an adopted individual. Live Webinar Thursday, May 7 th, :00pm Central Q&A: 8:00pm

44 Questions and Answers


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