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lifebook

Celebrate Foster Care Month in May

Posted by Susan on May 14, 2014
Uncategorized / No Comments

National Foster Care Month is a time to recognize the role each of us plays in enhancing the lives of children and youth in foster care. This year, the theme for National Foster Care Month is “Building Blocks to Permanent Families.” The Children’s Bureau’s National Foster Care Month website provides resources that highlight a variety of practices and approaches you can use to support permanence through reunification, kinship care, guardianship, and adoption for children and youth in foster care and their families.

Visit the National Foster Care Month website to learn more about:

  • Engaging families in case planning
  • Enriching caseworker and family visits
  • Supporting families and caregivers through services
  • Building family and community connections
  • Enhancing well-being for children, youth, and families
  • Strengthening families through permanence

The website also offers resources for youth and foster parents; State-by-State foster care information; tools to promote National Foster Care Month; and inspiring real-life stories from families, youth, foster parents, caseworkers, and others.

Bookmark the website today: https://www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth/

For more information, contact Child Welfare Information Gateway via telephone at 1.800.394.3366 or email at info@childwelfare.gov

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A Foster-Care Adoption Story

Posted by Susan on March 25, 2014
AWP Corner / No Comments

I was browsing the internet the other day when I ran across a lovely adoption story. I’m a sucker for a love story and there isn’t any better love than between a parent and a child.

The Rosati couple wasn’t getting pregnant and believed that there was a reason. There was a different plan for them and they soon found out it included an orphan named Daniel. Through divine circumstances, the couple was introduced to the foster system, and a passionate woman who led them through the process. When they met Daniel their hearts melted and they knew without a doubt he was their child.

The road to adoption can be more like a roller coaster. The Rosati story isn’t any different. Mrs. Rosati writes beautifully about her roller coaster ride. Read her article adapted from her book Wait No More: One Family’s Amazing Adoption Journey on the Focus on the Family website.

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/adoptive_families/wait-no-more.aspx

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Amber’s Story

Posted by Susan on February 28, 2014
adoption life books, adoption lifebooks / No Comments

Amber never dreamed she would be a single mom to four beautiful girls through adoption and a foster mom to a fifth girl, but fate had other plans.

In 2007, Amber’s parents became foster parents to two adorable red-headed toddlers, Melinda and Lydia. As she sat at her parent’s dining room table entertaining the girls while her dad completed paperwork, Lydia came over to Amber and asked to sit on her lap. The bond between the two was instant. Lydia’s previous caretaker was shocked because Lydia was not a child who easily accepted new people, due to the trauma and loss she had endured in her young life. But her caregiver did provide Lydia with “My Growing World” lifebook which aided her healing process greatly, and helped to open her young heart to others.

A few months later, Amber learned that Melinda and Lydia’s biological parents’ rights had been terminated. She realized she could not imagine her life without the two girls and decided to train through Iowa KidsNet to become a foster and adoptive parent.

In the end, Amber adopted Melinda, Lydia and their older sister Avery. Avery had originally experienced difficulty finding a forever home due to her nine mental health diagnoses combined with intellectual challenges. Again, the Adoption World publication “The Real Me” which is geared toward the tricky teenage view point, was critically important in Avery’s development and transition processes.

“She would have ended up aging out of the system,” said Amber. “I could not bear that knowing I could help her to become a productive member of society. I am thankful for the publications my girls have been exposed to. I appreciate their previous caregivers’ insight on how much lifebooks can help our children.”

In 2012, Iowa KidsNet reached out to Amber again to foster newborn Isabella, who she later adopted as well. Amber is currently also fostering Isabella’s biological younger sister.

Throughout the same six years, Amber has also lost her home to the flood, gone through a divorce and lost her mother to a rare medical disorder. While the girls have brought her joy through the hard times, they have also brought challenges. Each of her daughters has a mental health diagnosis and two are developmentally delayed.

Looking back, Amber says, “We don’t know what life has in store for us, I’m just following God’s playbook.” Amber takes each day one hour at a time and her daughters are thriving as a result.

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Lifebooks are critical tools

A Lifebook for a foster child is not just useful; it is a critical tool. It is therapeutic and provides “grounding” in a disjointed life. Pictures and notes about family members and pets help the child process his or her circumstance. It is a document of the child’s history, celebrating accomplishments and milestones. The child can record names, addresses and phone numbers, helping retain connections to people who have been important to him/her. Using their creativity, words and pictures, the child will build self-awareness and a better understanding of what has happened to them.

Lifebooks and Adoption Workbooks are designed to help kids process their feelings and to work with an adult to take some of the fear and anguish out of troubling events. A lifebook can be started at any age and at any stage of foster care or adoption.

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Adoption World Publishing Updates Products Look

Everybody loves to up-date their surroundings. We do it with our homes – we paint the walls, rearrange furniture, plant fresh flowers in our yards. The art department at Adoption World Publishing began by freshening the looks of their established products.

First to get a new look was the Positive Adoption Language flyer. Originally it was designed as a published piece to be used as a tool for productive discussions. In 2009 it was converted to a free download from the company’s website. To date, more than 350 downloads have been requested.

The One and Only Me life book kit has been a cornerstone of the Adoption World offerings since 1995. In 2009 the cover and title page received a fresh look. Graphic Artist Susan Readnour created new cover and title page incorporating the original book characters. The colorful illustration is perfect for the intended audience – children age 5-10. Late in 2010, the sticker packet that accompanies the book was revamped. Working with several of the original images, Readnour developed sticker sheets that will assist the child with the journey through the lifebook.

Like the Adoption World Publishing website which uses the images of photographed children, the front cover of My Adoption Workbook now is covered with photos of children. With diversity in mind, the new look helps to draw the child into the material of the book-all of which remains unchanged.

The most recent redesigned product is the Adoption Day button. It is included in the children’s version of the Foster- to-Adopt booklet series and marks the adoption milestone. The Adoption Day button can also be purchased individually and used for Adoption Day events.

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The Real Me, Teen Life Book Continues to be Adoption World Publishing’s Best Seller

Navigating through life is a challenge for all teenagers. Obstacles are everywhere. A teenager in the foster/adoption system encounters extra obstacles. A life book is a wonderful tool that can be used to assist youth in dealing with the issues they face.

In our 17th year of business, Adoption World Publishing continues to be a player in the lifebook market. Our  title, The Real Me teen life book was the company’s top seller in 2010.

Introduced in 2002, the chapter topics- Who I am Today, Where I Came From and What My Future Holds – remain as relevant today as they were when the book was written. Authored by the mother/daughter team of Theresa McCoy and Donna Barnes, their years of experience working with youth in the foster and adoption system contribute to the creditability of the book.

The Real Me teen life book is currently being used by agencies, families and organizations in at least 24 states and Canada. It is sold exclusively by Adoption World Publishing at 319-365-3454 or www.adoptionworld.net.

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More children adopted from foster care means more money for 38 states.

In September of 2010, HHS awarded $39 million to 38 states and Puerto Rico for increasing adoptions from foster care.

“All children deserve loving, safe and permanent homes,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “It is gratifying that most states continue to excel in promoting the adoption of children from foster care. I sincerely thank every adoptive family that has welcomed a child into their home.”

States received $4,000 for every child adopted beyond their best year’s total, plus a payment of $8,000 for every child age 9 and older and $4,000 for every special needs child adopted above the respective baselines. The year 2007 is the baseline.

“America’s communities benefit when children grow up in stable families,” said David A. Hansell, HHS acting assistant secretary for children and families. “We’re very pleased that the adoption incentives program is helping states improve their programs and place more children into homes that are theirs forever.”

The states will be using the funds from this adoption incentive award to improve their child welfare programs. Many of the states mandate life books for their children and will be able to use this money to purchase these much needed items.

We applaud Secretary Sebelius and the 38 states and Puerto Rico. With the economy still recovering, these federal awards could not come at a better time. Many adoption agencies have been trying to make do with “piece-meal” lifebooks, or no books at all. With this money, children will be able to get quality books in their hands.

Congratulations

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Adoption Workbooks and Lifebooks

Posted by admin on January 17, 2011
adoption life books, adoption lifebooks / No Comments

My Adoption Workbook, My Growing World Lifebook

Preparing a child for adoption is vital to a successful placement. Adoption workbooks and life books are valuable tools to help kids through a difficult time.

My Adoption Workbook by Theresa McCoy, LBSW, addresses not only the mechanics of adoption, but also the feelings, fears and questions that often arise.

My Growing World by Kathleen Carroll is another great source of information and comfort. Colorful, friendly characters help kids work through issues.

Learn more about these books at www.adoptionworld.net

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Putting the Pieces Together DVD, Importance of Lifebooks

Posted by Susan on August 04, 2010
adoption lifebooks / No Comments

I recently ordered an excellent lifebook training DVD that is distributed by Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. The DVD is entitled, “Putting the Pieces Together: Lifebook Work With Children” and is available on their website: http://www.lssi.org/Support/lifebooks.aspx

As I have said previously, I believe that creating a lifebook for our foster and adopted children is one of the most important things we can do for them. A lifebook contains the chronological history of a child’s life, pictures, artwork, memorabilia, along with information that reflects a child’s understanding of the difficulties and changes that have occurred in his or her life. The lifebook also highlights and celebrates the child’s strengths, hopes and dreams. For a child, lifebook work is a path to their memories and to a reinterpretation of their memories. It is also a path to understanding and integrating their memories. Lifebooks are great for children in foster care or who have been adopted. They promote healing and provide concrete understanding of the reasons why they were unable to return to their birth families. Lifebooks give children permission to love and cherish their adoptive families as well as their birth families.

The “Putting the Pieces Together” DVD provides instruction on how to do Lifebook work with children using a teamwork approach. It was great to see how the lives of these children have been impacted in a positive way by being able to discuss and work through issues they are dealing with. It made me very proud to see that the teenage girl on the video was using our teen lifebook, The Real Me. She had very high praise for what our lifebook meant to her and how it helped her. Making lifebooks available to the children is such a rewarding experience for me.

Help me get the word out. Lifebooks are great!

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New Adoption Book getting good reviews!

My Growing World Lifebook is an exciting new entry into the adoption lifebook market.  Never before has there been a full-color fill-in-the-blank book like this.  The illustrations are creative and captivating.  They help draw in sometimes reluctant children, making it easier for social workers and families to connect.  It’s fun and interesting.

Characters like Fuzzihead, Piper Pig and Lambabelle are adorable.  They combine with activities like Musical Motions and Moving Day to create a warm and therapeutic setting not found in other adoption and foster care lifebooks.

Among the best parts of the book are the short stories from children in similar circumstances.  They help a child to identify with and understand that their circumstances may not be unique.

Be sure and go to “What they’re saying” at the bottom of our home page.  Look for the big red button!  Click on the button and it will take you to a review on My Growing World which was published in Adoptive Families magazine.

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