Thursday, June 16, 2011

Special Needs = Friendless??

Thankfully, not in our world. 

Dylan goes to an aftercare program at a facility that has a wonderful special needs program.  It ranges from children to adults and has everything from Passover Sedars, to drumming programs, to camp advocates and everything in between.  It also prides itself on the fact that "special needs kids don't feel special here".  Meaning, they are treated like everyone else and every effort is made for inclusion. 

This type of community, one that embraces and works hard at inclusion has an interesting effect on the NT children and adults who spend time there. 

When Dylan was in his school run after care program, it was a nightmare.  The adults didn't facilitate play with the children and Dylan was routinely left out or exluded by the other children.  The result was him acting out and being asked to leave the program.

We moved him into the program he is out now and, we've had some issues with Dylan's impulse control issues, it's been a wonderful experience. 

Today, my best friend volunteered to pick him up at school and drop him off for me.  She called me after she dropped him at aftercare and told me that she hopes when her son is older, the "same thing will happen to him".  I asked her what she was talking about and she said "Dylan walked into the room and all the kids started yelling "Dylan, play with me!  Be on my team!"  ~insert tears of joy~  We've worried, because of his experience at the school program, that he wasn't included.  I'm happy to say those worries were unfounded.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Awesome Give Away

I love the SPDBN website.  It has many bloggers facing challenges I face every day.  They also have killer give aways.  They just put up a new one where you can win $250 in sensory friendly products!  Woo Hoo!  I'd love that for my Dylan!   So go check it out SPDBN's website to win it for yourself!

While you're there, check out the posts too - there are some amazing writers over there :)

Monday, June 06, 2011

Adoption is a happy thing right??

Apparently, Kung Fu Panda 2 is generating a lot of conversations. Not just in the adoption world but in the non-adoption world.

A friend of mine's 7 year old son saw the movie and really, really got it (this kid is wicked smart).  He came home and started up a conversation with his Mom about the loss the Panda suffered in his adoption.   He connected that loss to a cousin who was adopted.  "Does he feel sad that he can't be with is real family?"  He asked her.  She immediately corrected him and said that his parents are his real family.  He asked her if adoption was a sad thing.  She told him no, it's happy.  I corrected her.  I pointed out that adoption involves a triad of people.  2 of the 3 parties involved suffer tremendous loss.  The birth family loses a child and the child loses their birth family, heritage, culture, etc.  The only person who doesn't suffer a loss in adoption is the adoptive parents/family (although there is sometimes a loss of fertility but I feel that is a separate issue).  I shared with her that how that loss manifests itself is going to vary from family to family, child to child, adult to adult.   Just like everyone reacts differently to, say a sad movie (some will not be moved, some will cry, some be hysterical, others will roll their eyes and make light of it), everyone will respond to their adoption differently.  Some children, young adults and adults of adoption feel tremendous loss.  Don't believe me - there are lots of blogs out there by adoptees - go read them.  Some children, young adults and adults of adoption feel no loss at all.  There are many factors in what a person would feel from having an open adoption to just their personality and their level of comfort with their adoption.    A person in an open adoption may feel differently from a perso in a closed or semi open adoption.  A person adopted at birth may feel differently than a person adopted through foster care.  A person adopted domestically vs. internationally is going to have difficult viewpoints as well. 

She seemed to be uncomfortable with my end of the conversation.  Which is absolutely understandable and okay.  While she has family members who are adopted (internationally), adoption loss is just not a topic that typically comes up outside the immediate familly - hell, it quite often doesn't come up within the immediate family either!  

My own history being what it is, I guess I'm hyper aware and watching for signs that Dylan is feeling loss from his adoption.  I hope that I am able to convey an open door to him to let him know that it's okay to feel loss, to feel sad, to miss his first family, his culture, his country and it's okay to share it with us if he wants to.

I'm glad this movie is being a cataylyst for conversations about all aspects of adoption, not just the sunshine and rainbows.   I'm grateful for good friends who feel comfortable coming to me with questions - the hard ones as well as the easy ones.  I'm grateful I can go to them as well.  I love my friends as we've all travelled very different roads which makes it easy to find answers to some of life's tougher questions (maybe not answers but at least ideas).