I have been given permission to post this portion of an IACCenter newsletter in which Joni Mantell re-caps the event that was held in March 2009. I couldnt make it to the event but did send in feedback about starting the dialogue and Life Cycle Donor Issues at a Glance Chart for donor families as they have for Adoption. I applaud what Judith Kottick and Joni Mantell are doing at the IACCenter in NJ and hope to see more being offered from them and workshops like this one from other professionals in the field.......
From The IACCenter Newsletter
In March we held the Family Stories: How to Talk to Children About Adoption and Donor Origins Workshop and here are the five top reasons I loved it!
1. We brought together families formed through adoption and through donor origins and in this way were able to reinforce exactly what we want the children to know: Families are formed in different ways.
2. The audience loved hearing the personal perspectives of our panelists including:
Parents through adoption, donor egg and donor sperm
A Birth parent
Two teens sharing their perspectives on their adoption and donor origin stories respectively
An adult adoptee
3. Collaborating with Judy Kottick, LCSW of www.jkfertilitycounseling.com and exploring the similarities and differences in talking to children about adoption and
4. The IAC Center Counselors: Lauren Scheiner moderating the panel on talking to kids from ages 7 to 12 about adoption; Sasha Martone speaking about transracial family adoption issues and how to use lifebooks with children; and Beverly Andres' creative perspective on using movies and other impromptu opportunities to communicate with children and teens about their sense of identity and other feelings related to adoption.
5. And most of all I loved that by the end of the day many of the parents shared their own feelings and experiences, and in this way connected the most important dot. Parents can learn the developmental and psychological information about the ages and stages that children go through in understanding their family stories; and even some of the better verbal responses to children's questions at workshops; by reading books or even from magazine articles these days. But, the reality is that talking to kids about their origins is difficult primarily because it touches on the parents' own issues. In making this connection, I believe that these parents are really on their way to more effectively communicating with their children about their family stories.
Children will pick up their parents' tone; the aspects of their story that their parents avoid or focus a lot on; and basically how their parents feel about adoption and specifically about their birth parents. Children take their parents' feelings very seriously. At the IAC Centers, we believe that helping parents with their feelings about adoption is the first and most critical step toward helping the children understand their stories; building self-esteem and confidence in their identities; and towards building all different kinds of happy families.
In response to the amazing energy at this conference, I created a Life Cycle Adoption Issues At A Glance Chart to further the dialogue and understanding amongst all adoption triad members. My hope is that this chart simply serves to stimulate your thinking about adoption and the way it touches your own life and the lives of those you love; as well as talking points to promote further discussion about adoption in your own family, in IAC Center Groups and with whomever else you discuss these topics. Toward that goal, let's start the dialogue now. Please send any comments, reactions and points of view about this to me at JMantellMSW@iaccenter.com While I cannot promise a response to every email, I will with your permission create a composite of all of the responses for the next newsletter.
For a Flyer of this years event please contacts Joni at JMantellMSW@iaccenter.com or Judykottick@comcast.net.