Monday, February 8, 2016

International Search and Reunion: A Conversation with Susan Soonkeum Cox

By Susan Soonkeum Cox

Every adoptee has their own personal and unique adoption story. That history is a part of who they are, and remains a part of them as they move from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood.

As intercountry adoption has changed over the years, more international adoptees have become interested in searching for information and trying to learn more about their families, countries, and cultures of origin. An adoption search and/or reunion for an intercountry adoptee may look very different from one undertaken by a person adopted in the U.S. Typically an international adoption search will require working with officials in another country and dealing with complex legal issues, language translation, and cultural differences. To better understand the international search and reunion process, NCFA asked Susan Soonkeum Cox, Vice President of Policy and External Affairs at Holt International and a Korean adoptee, to share some of her own personal experiences.

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Building Attachment From Day One In Country: by Melissa Nichols and Todd Nichol

Do you have a game plan for building attachment when you travel to meet your future child? The Family Attachment Center of Minnesota has some great games and resources for families just beginning and those that are already home. Whether your child is at risk for attachment disorder or not, these are great games to reinforce intimacy between the parent and child relationship. Be sure to print this and take it with you when you travel!

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Fostering Successful Attachment in Intercountry Adoption

By: Madison Howard



Attachment is the glue that establishes the connection between a child and a parent. When a child is born and remains with a biological parent, bonding and attachment begin immediately. With adoption, however, that is not always the case. In intercountry adoption children often face multiple broken attachments, causing them to lack the foundation on which to build healthy relationships later in life. In cases of adoption, early attachments are too often disrupted or broken. Positive, consistent relationships with early childhood caregivers and, later, adoptive parents can help reestablish a child's healthy attachment abilities.

The Basics of Attachment

To understand how to foster healthy attachment for children adopted internationally, it is important to understand the heart of the subject at hand: attachment theory. According to Bowlby, a pioneer in attachment theory, attachment is a biological, motivational system that develops within humans during our early years of life. This system is what stimulates children to try and find security, support, and care from specific "attachment figures" in their lives. In her first year, when the child becomes selective about which person she seeks out to provide these things, "selective attachment" occurs. This person the child has selected becomes a "secure base," meaning that she will use this person as a "home base" of sorts to venture out from and return to at any sight of "danger." When parents cultivate healthy and secure attachment relationships within their children as infants, they in turn cultivate an "internal felt sense of safety and trust, and an emerging sense of the self." Attachment, then, is not only important to relationships with parents and family members, it is also essential to children's forming relationships in the world around them.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

NCFA & 2016 Policy Priorities and Adoption-Related Legislation

By Megan Lestino and Erin Bayles

Since our inception in 1980, National Council For Adoption (NCFA) has served as a strong and principled advocate for children outside of family care, adopted individuals, adoptive families, birth parents, and the public at-large. Motivated by the belief that every child deserves to thrive in a loving, safe, and permanent home, NCFA continues to support laws, policies, and practices to help promote permanency for the many children worldwide living without permanent families.

Our January Adoption Advocate is always dedicated to presenting NCFA’s policy priorities for the coming year and related legislation. NCFA rarely endorses specific legislation, but instead prioritizes educating key legislators and policymakers on the policies and practices that will provide essential services and the best possible support for children outside permanent family care, adopted individuals, birth parents, and adoptive families. At present, we are beginning the 2nd year of the 114th United States Congress, which began January 3, 2015 and continues until January 3, 2017. As we outline our priorities generally in this article, we will also take the opportunity to mention current pending legislation that is related to NCFA’s legislative priorities.

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Empathy & Encouragement

Friday, January 29, 2016

What Is Adoption Medicine? (by NCFA)

Adoption Medicine: Improving the Health and Wellbeing of Adopted Children

By Dr. Emily Todd First, let me answer the question on everyone’s mind: What is adoption medicine? Children who join families through adoption may have special health, behavioral, and developmental needs. Adoption medicine addresses those needs with the family in all phases of the adoption journey. Those of us in adoption medicine are typically pediatricians, but we have a variety of additional training beyond pediatrics, in areas such as genetics, infectious diseases, global health, and developmental or behavioral pediatrics. We apply our skills in all phases of the adoption journey – both before and long after an adoption to help children adopted via all types of adoption. Within the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there exists the Council on Foster Care, Adoption, & Kinship Care (COFCAKC). This is a group of pediatricians with a special interest in adoption, kinship care, and foster care. These pediatricians are dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of children and youth in foster care and kinship care, as well as those who have been placed in permanent adoptive families.

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