P REPARING C HILDREN FOR A DOPTION W HY ? Adoption and permanency in the child welfare system has been a growing area of importance in recent years. Studies have shown that children and youth who find permanence before “aging out” of the system fair much better than their emancipating peers. So how do we get these children ready for such a huge, life-changing journey? And how do we mold the minds of those resistant children and youth to consent to what we know will end in a better result than aging out of the foster care system? The following is information on methods and approaches that can be used to help prepare children for adoption so that they can be successful in their forever families. HTTP :// WWW. CHILDWELFARE . G OV / PUBS / F _ TRANSITION . PDF This document, found on the Child Welfare Information Gateway, gives information for foster parents who plan to adopt the foster children in their home. It gives tips and some structure around how to talk to the children about the upcoming change, and approaches to answering the questions the children will have depending upon their developmental level. Ecomaps, lifebooks and lifemaps are given as ways to assist a child in understanding their life experiences so they can successfully move forward. Scholarly sources are noted, showing the information to be reputable. Also briefly discussed are losses and attachment, and how to help children to work through these issues. HTTP :// WWW. NRCADOPTION . ORG / PDFS / ACC /PH%20%20C HILD %20A SSESSMENT %20&%20P R EPARATION %203-10. PDF This is the website of the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Adoption. It outlines their Adoption Competency Curriculum, this particular section being on child assessment and preparation. It is a curriculum that trains adoption professionals on how to assess children for adoption, how to best meet the needs of children in foster and adoptive homes, how to make the most appropriate decisions with regards to planning and placement, assisting children in understanding what is happening and empowering them to participate in the process. I particularly like the idea in this curriculum of reframing “problem” behaviors as “survival” behaviors. HTTP :/ / WWW. IS S SSI . ORG / 2 0 0 9 / ASSET S / FI L E S / T H E M AT IC - FA C T S SHEET / E N G / 2 6 .P REPA R AT ION % 2 0 O F % 2 0 THE % 2 0 C HIL D % 2 0 ENG . PD F This is from the website of a Swiss agency called the International Reference Centre for the Rights of Children Deprived of their Family. It outlines the need to help the child put into words their past experiences, and have an understanding of what is happening in his or her life now. It is a rather brief document, but has some good ideas about lifebook work that can be done with the child, and things that a worker can do with the child to prepare for a move to a new family. HTTP :// WWW. IFAPA . ORG / RE SOURCES /IFAPA_L IFEBOOK _ PAGES . ASP The Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parent Association website focuses on building a child’s lifebook. The page discusses the importance of lifebook work and what it can do for a child. It also has links to 70 free lifebook pages. Included are lifebook pages written in Spanish. HTTP :// WWW. DHS . STATE . OR . US / C AF / SAFETY _ MODEL / PROCEDURE _ MA NUAL / CH 05/ CH 5- SECTION 04. PDF The Oregon Department of Human Services manages this website which outlines preparing children for adoption. It discusses the importance of the social worker impacting the view the child has of his or her past, and his or her ability to become a member of a new family. The curriculum outlines when is the best time to start the preparation, who will be working on preparation with the child, and each team members role in helping the child to be ready for adoption. Suggestions for the lifebook are also included. HTTP :// WWW. EMKPRESS . COM / PDFFILES /O'M ALLEY. DOC . PDF This article by Beth O’Malley is meant to inspire adoption social workers to reinvigorate their lifebook work with children. It visits the issues of what a lifebook is and isn’t, what should be contained in a lifebook, its benefits, and also gives tips and other resources. HTTP :// WWW. ARVINPUBLICA TIONS . COM / FOSTER 6. HTML The website above gives information on preparing a child in a foster home to move to another home for adoption. It discusses the process of telling the child that the foster parents will not be adopting. This is geared more toward the foster parent and how to deal with their own feelings in this process as well as the child’s. HTTP :// WWW. PACWCBT. PITT. EDU /C URR ICULUM /201%20P REPARING %20C HILDR EN %20 FOR %20A DOPTION /C ONTENT /O UTLINE . PDF The University of Pittsburgh’s curriculum for preparing children for adoption is a very thorough tool for the adoption professional. It covers many issues that must be acknowledged, such as the effect of adoption on different stages of development, grief and loss, transitioning to a new home, and tools and techniques for working with a child to prepare him or her for the adoption. HTTP :// WWW. DARLAHENRY. ORG / Clarification Integration Actualization Who am I? What happened to me? Where am I going? How will I get there? When will I know I belong? Engage Listen Be truthful Validate Create safety Resolve & Heal pain of the past This is the website of Darla Henry, who has developed the 3-5-7 Model. The 3-5-7 Model has become widely known as a very effective method of preparing children for adoption by helping them to make sense of what has happened to them, what is happening now, and what will happen in the future, in addition to helping them to find a sense of self. It addresses grief and loss as well as adoption issues. The website outlines what the approach is all about, and gives resource for more information for training on the model. HTTP :// WWW. ABCOFOHIO . N ET / This is the website of the well known attachment therapist Greg Keck and his colleagues at the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio. There is very good information included regarding attachment disorder and treatment. There are also many resources for adoptive parents and professionals.