LSS is committed to providing education and training opportunities to adoptive and foster parents. LSS is excited to co-sponsor the Empowered To Connect Simulcast on April 8 & 9, 2016. The training will be held in Sioux Falls and Rapid City, South Dakota. South Dakota Social Work CEU’s will be available. Read the rest of this entry »
The language of adoption has changed as the practice of adoption has evolved. One rarely hears terms such as illegitimate child anymore. But it is still common to hear other words and phrases that are no longer accurate or neutral. Certain terms have the effect of closing doors and serving as barriers to having an open discussion about adoption; such as “give away” one’s baby. Words can also be hurtful and stigmatizing to the individuals in the adoption circle; namely the parents who make an adoption plan, the parents who adopt and the child. If you are an adoptive parent and someone asks about your child’s “real” parent – that can be hurtful. Or if you are a parent who made an adoption plan for your child; being asked why you “gave away” your child discredits the thought, time and selflessness it took to make that plan!
There are at least 6 million people in the U.S. who were adopted into their families, and the number of Americans touched by adoption exceeds 100 million. Therefore when speaking about adoption, it is imperative to use accurate and adoption neutral language. One should consider describing adoption as a process, not a label. Also one should think about the words he/she uses so as to become more sensitive to underlying prejudices and stereotypes.
Below are some examples of negative words and phrases along with the accurate and appropriate adoption language to use.
Adopt out, give away Make an adoption plan
Keep the baby Make a parenting plan
Real parent Biological or birth parent
Own child, Adopted child My child
Unwanted child Child released for adoption
Foreign adoption International adoption
Illegitimate child Born to unmarried parents
Adoption Triangle Adoption circle or
One sure fire thing that connects and bonds a family together are those good, old family stories. They are the ones that you hear over and over again at family gatherings. Plus, they often get better and more elaborate with every telling! One of my favorite “family stories” is the Lord, God and Marty story. As the story goes – my sister often came home from church singing a good old Lutheran hymn titled Holy, Holy, Holy. The first stanzas were, “Holy, holy, holy. Lord, God, Almighty. But being a little 3 year old she heard the congregation sing the last word as her baby brother’s name, Marty. She was so pleased that they loved him so much they sang a song about him. So on her way home from church she would serenade him with that jubilant hymn – Holy, holy, holy – Lord, God and Marty!
These family stories are important for all our children, whether they are born to us or whether they come to us through adoption or foster care. These stories play an especially important role in adoption and foster care. They are beneficial in making connects and bonds with the child we are caring for.
Below are some ideas for creating your own family stories for children who come to you through adoption or foster care:
- Tell a story of the first time you met the child. The first time I met my daughter, she was wearing a dress with a big collar which kept flipping up in her face. I felt so sorry for her and it was all I could not to reach over and hold that collar down! She thinks it is a funny story and asks to hear it over and over. Even the smallest detail of the day you met can become a big part of their story.
- Share the special things about them that remind you of their biological parents or family. Let them know that this is a special part of who they are and that you think that is cool.
- Share the special things about them that remind them of you and your family members. It helps them see how they are connected to you.
- Tell the stories of their “firsts” –their first day at a new school, the first time they met the extended family, the first time they stepped off an airplane to their new home and country, the first time you met their biological parents after they choose you as the family for their baby.
- Make life books with pictures to help tell their stories.
- Share stories of the funny, cute, embarrassing things they have done. What child doesn’t like to be reminded of singing songs with wrong words, of smearing peanut butter in their hair, of asking Aunt Edith why her nose is so big! Just be careful – our kids enjoy telling funny stories about us too!
As National Foster Care month comes to a close this is an additional opportunity to encourage you to consider opening your home and heart to a child in need of a safe, nurturing home. Our LSS Foster families have shared that they felt called to do foster care for several reasons. These include:
- They felt that God had blessed them with opportunities and gifts that they wanted to share with children.
- They had a special place in their hearts for all children and understood what kids need to overcome obstacles and to grow and develop.
- They were going to become empty nesters and felt they weren’t ready to have a child-free home!
- They grew up as a foster family and it was such a big part of their life that they choose to become foster parents.
- They had a desire to expand their family though foster care or foster care to adoption.
- They just wanted to make a difference in a child’s life and foster care seemed like the best way to do that.
These are great reasons to consider becoming a foster family but it also takes support from a team to nurture and empower a foster family! The LSS Foster Care program and staff doprovide the support, the education and the tools foster parents need to grow and gain the skills they need to help our kids. We feel blessed that we are able to work with our foster families in our shared ministry to make a difference in a child’s life.
If you see yourself in this list of reasons and you feel you may have a call to be a foster family check out our website, send an email or make a call to find out more information! LSS has Foster Care Programs in the Rapid City and Sioux Falls areas as well as a shared effort with the Department of Corrections to recruit and train families in Northeastern South Dakota. http://www.lsssd.org/family_services/foster_care/
Submitted by Dede Mogck, Director of Adoption and Foster Care
Please join us in Rapid City for the West River Area Dinner Benefit Event on Sunday, April 14. The Silent Auction begins at 4 pm with a dinner and program following at 5 pm. It will be held at Calvary Lutheran Church, Rapid City. The short program will highlight how your support is helping so many people in Western South Dakota through partnership with Lutheran Social Services. Terry Gilbertson, a foster parent, will share how LSS has touched his life and changed it for the better. Dinner is free, however a gift or pledge will be requested at the event.
LSS is grateful for more than 2,000 annual donors who financially support LSS. Because of donor support, those we serve are able to experience growth, begin to thrive, belong to something bigger and succeed in their personal goals. Register online or call 1-800-568-2401 ext. 106.
For our Rapid City area friends, look for LSS on the new television ads highlighting the work of Rapid City agencies! Three LSS staff members are featured in a new public service ad. The spot highlights the different agencies in Rapid City that are involved in the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Collaborative, and encourages viewers to visit the HelpLine Center for more information.
Please check out the addiction information ad by clicking above!
Together we can make a difference. Make a financial gift to LSS today.
Volunteer of the Year Award recipients have touched the lives of many South Dakotans through their partnership with LSS. Rick & Connie Rathert of Piedmont were recognized as the 2012 LSS Distinguished Volunteers of the Year, however their dedication and commitment to LSS began nearly 20 years ago as donors. Read the rest of this entry »