Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Talking to Kids When Adoption is "Breaking News"

I received the March/April 2010 e-Newsletter from Center for Adoption Support & Education (C.A.S.E.) today; it isn't on their website yet, but you should be able to find it on this list soon. One topic addressed -- not surprisingly -- was Artyom being returned, unwanted, to Russia by his adoptive mother,, and talking to kids about that "Breaking News:"
We must be aware of the implications of this "Breaking News" upon the lives of our children. We must find the language to speak with them about what they saw, what they heard, or what they may have read. One mother said to her 11 year old son, "We don't know what happened, but this mother did not ask for and get the help she needed to parent this little boy. She had other choices and what she did sounds heartless. I am sure you feel bad for Artyem, just as I do. I believe he will find a family who will know how to take care of him. It must have been hard living in orphanage and then coming to a strange country, not knowing how to speak English, not knowing anyone and missing the orphanage and the other children who lived there. He must have been really scared."

Just as my colleagues at C.A.S.E and I received countless questions this week, it is possible that your children/teens may have been or will be faced with comments and questions as well. Many of you have reached out to C.A.S.E,and embraced our WISE-Up Program for your children. Now is the time to revisit the tool that helped your children respond to difficult, intrusive questions pertaining to foster care and adoption. For those of you, who may not be familiar with this tool, please visit our website at to learn more about the WISE Up Program.

While we cannot change what happened to Artyem no matter how much we would
like to, we can protect and support our children, and reassure them that they are safe, loved and guided by adults who will be there forever. In times of a tragedy, we think about what we can do. My answer is tonight, hug your sons and daughters, open lines of communication regarding this sad story and send them into the world tomorrow with the tools to handle whatever questions may come their way. And remember, you're not alone; C.A.S.E is here to help support you and your children in your journey as an adoptive family.
I like the idea of reviewing the W.I.S.E. Up book with my kids since now is a time they might get some uncomfortable comments or questions about adoption.


Adelaide Dupont said...

He has found a family who may take care of him.

It is a Russian diplomatic family.

JennyT said...

I so agree with this posting, but I am having a hard time with the constant letters to the editor and newspaper peanut galleries who are spewing things like "what is wrong with people adopting from Russia/China/Guatemala when we have kids here who need homes! People should take care of their own first and not take on another country's garbage." This is one of the worst comments I have read, but not the only one.
What bothers me the most is, my kid can read now. He could potentially read the paper. How do I explain people with so much ignorance and hate about how we formed our family?
And on the same note, could my friends, family members and especially my in laws STOP asking me in front of my son "What do you think of the Russian kid who got dumped back in Russia ---he must have had behavior problems!" in front of my son?
He's a mild mannered kid who does well in school and is well adjusted, but he's had an unprecedented amount of melt downs and has been exceptionally clingy for the past 2 weeks...coincidence? I don't think so.

Jessica said...

I also agree with this posting as well as with Jenny T's comment about the challenge of coping with the comments of others, and the effects they have on our children. We have found excellent tools in the WISE-Up handbook.