When the Edwards family experienced difficulties with their adopted son Michael, they didn't know where to turn. It's not uncommon for a child adopted from foster care to act out, but Anna and Eric Edwards lacked the resources to handle the problems. That is until they discovered Adoption Journeys.
Pictured: Eric Edwards, Anna Edwards, Michael, 8, and birth son Coleman, 10, pose for a photo during the Walk for Adoption at Jordan's Furniture in Taunton on May 19, 2013. Next
Adoption Journeys, a state-funded program offered through a nonprofit agency, Child and Family Services, that offers referrals to adoption-sensitive professionals, hosts social events, and provides other resources. Next
Before adoption, families can turn to legal, counseling, or therapy resources if they need help, said Heather Ingham, regional manager in Somerville's Adoption Journeys office.
“But once an adoption is final, a lot of those resources go away, and families are left to themselves,” she said. Next
Ingham explained in general terms why children adopted from foster care might act out. “They’re really testing, ‘Can you be my parent?’ ” Ingham said. “Because a lot of people in their past couldn’t. They’re struggling — with loyalty to their birth family, and new loyalty to their adoptive family. Or even loyalty to a foster family they loved, but who couldn’t adopt them for whatever reason. They didn’t ask to be saved.” Next
Children may demonstrate their internal struggles “with aggressive behaviors — yelling, kicking, breaking things’’ because they often had traumatic experiences before they were old enough to be able to express their pain or emotion. The first step for the Edwards was to play games that got the family talking about adoption, and helped them get to know each other better. Ingham also taught them what to do during tense situations, how to recognize difficult behavior, and ways to diffuse it, such as shooting hoops or breathing exercises.
“At Adoption Journeys, you’re part of a wonderful community. They know what you’re going through," said Ingham. Back to the beginning
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