by: Craig Peterson Before anyone’s imagination runs wild, I’m not talking about that “B” word but the other one we know all too well. “Birth families.” For nearly all of us who’ve adopted – whether domestically or internationally, our children will bombard us with questions about their birth families. Probably sooner than later. Maybe they already have. The conversation may be a once-and-done. Other parents will have a much rougher go that might last for
by: Melissa Sadin
Teenager with problemsAs the parent of a child with moderate to severe attachment trauma, I have struggled for years to provide my son with an appropriate educational program. I have worked as a special education teacher and an administrator, so I know the lingo needed to get what I want at an IEP meeting. However, I was startled to discover recently that I wasn’t sure I knew what my son needed. My son always makes it very clear to all involved when something doesn’t work for him. The things that do work, however, are much more subtle and harder to see. My son has never said, “Oh, I like Mrs. Soandso. I feel safe in her class and am able to process language better there so I perform better academically.” The closest we get to that is, “She’s okay, I guess.”
by: Gari Lister I spoke with a mom yesterday for close to an hour. She wasn’t asking for help for her children — instead, she was desperate for help for herself. Why? Because she was frustrated that she hadn’t been able to accept that her children weren’t loving to her. She blamed herself — the stress in her home was her fault. And that’s what we moms do, isn’t it? We blame ourselves. We think
December 8, 2014 by: Deborah A. Novo I picked up the phone to hear my, then 18 year old son, say, “Mom, you will NEVER believe who I just found on facebook!” I found myself holding my breath as I instinctively knew to whom he was referring. The woman who gave birth to him and to whom he had biological, psychological and energetic ties. It had been well over a decade since last contact. I
December 2, 2014 by: Julie Beem A long time ago in what feels like a galaxy far away, I was a sleep-deprived mom of a raging toddler whose behaviors made absolutely no sense. I was an experienced “good enough” mom — so what was I doing wrong? My introduction to ATN came via a group of adoptive parents on the internet looking for answers for their traumatized children. We didn’t use the word “traumatized” because
December 2, 2014 by: Jane Samuel One night in 2007 I slipped away leaving my youngest daughter – who was well into one of her daily tantrums – in the hands of my husband. Beyond despair I climbed the stairs to my bathroom on the third floor of our house where I hoped I couldn’t hear her screams for her birth mother or her requests for us to kill her, and where my other daughters
December 2, 2014 by: Gari Lister In 2007, I thought I knew all about attachment. We had adopted an eleven year old from a Russian orphanage in 2002, and I had read everything I could get my hands on, so I was well versed in building attachment in older children. What I didn’t understand, though, was absolutely fundamental. I missed so much in my Katya’s behavior — her panic about new places, her fear when
By: Craig Peterson
The right teacher can make all the difference – for every student and especially those children healing from past trauma.
Boy with a Birthday CakeWhen my son Alex joined the family at the age of 10, he hadn’t been in a regular classroom since first grade. His behavior had been out of control, with anger filled rages getting the best of him. After grabbing a pair of scissors off a teacher’s desk and attempting to stab the principal in the neck, he spent a month in residential treatment. Upon his return to school, he was limited to two hours of instruction per day. A beefy ex-Marine stood guard.
November 20, 2014 By: Melissa Sadin I recently took my son, TS, on a mission trip with the church youth group. The group was to spend four days helping to prepare a camp in the NJ Pine Barrens for opening day. It was a challenge for my son because he does not do well with unfamiliar places and he had to sleep in a bare bones cabin with four other boys. He expressed his feelings
By: Craig Peterson
Craig Peterson’s ChildrenI had the best of intentions. I never would have imagined my misstep – the precedent I was setting. After all, I was simply trying to be kind to my two newest sons.
They came to me after a decade of extreme neglect and severe abuse at the hands of their birthmother’s boyfriend. Both endured more than 20 out-of-home placements after being stuck in the revolving door of family reunification.