I found time before I left Ann Arbor to chat with Kris about some of her other work.
Kris talked to me about a workshop she developed after her own adopted child asked a difficult and profound question at a young age. Inquisitive Minds deals with parental anxiety and supports them to help open up honest and constructive conversations with their young adopted children as they become more aware of their 'unusual' family environment.
Backed up by a research study with 80 families, Kris developed a curriculum for delivering training programmes delivered over a weekend or 8-weeks. Monthly follow ups allow groups to meet face to face to discuss issues faced at home.
Her latest idea is to turn this into an online course. I look forward to seeing how this develops. This particular project is ultimately a combination of core skills (education) and technology, which provides the information to a broader audience (using Kajabi Next, a platform that allows individuals to create their own online courses).
- Kris highlighted the prevalence of ADHD/learning difficulties in adopted children as a result of disrupted cognitive development, trauma and interrupted schooling. I hope to explore this during my time with the Centre of the Developing Child in Boston
- On Your Feet Foundation - a charity set up to support grief and loss in birth mothers
AdoptiveFamilies.com - Adoptive Families is an award-winning resource for parents-to-be navigating the adoption process and for parents raising children through adoption. Founded as a black-and-white newsletter, it switched to four-color publication in 1994. In 2014, Adoptive Families transformed into an all-digital quarterly magazine and relaunched adoptivefamilies.com as a comprehensive searchable website containing the many resources from more than 40 years of publication. Adoptive Families provides information and support through expert articles, personal stories, expert audio, in-depth eBooks, made-for-sharing Clip & Save tipsheets, parent-to-parent interaction, and more. Adoptive Families maintains the vibrant online community, AdoptiveFamiliesCircle, and publishes Building Your Family: The Donor, Surrogacy, and Adoption Guide, a valuable resource and national directory for those considering their path to parenthood.
I found a school-orientated resource on their website - helping classmates to understand adoption. It begins to acknowledge the value of teaching children about family and that it is 'simply one of many ways to become a family'.
They have a page dedicated to schools - https://www.adoptivefamilies.com/category/parenting/adoption-at-school/. I'm interested in the balance of responsibility between parents and teachers in educating children about adoption. I think governments need to do more to modernise the curriculum so that 'difficult questions' do not have to be fielded irregularly by children, teachers or parents. They are difficult because they are unexpected and driven by curiosity (as is bullying). It is encouraging to know that AF are exploring this gap and I will use it as a reference point for exploring developments in this area at home.
AF are an interesting model of centralised, community-driven information (I wonder if Irving Leon is aware of them and whether it demonstrates to him a fair approach to knowledge sharing). I will look into similar online hubs in the UK and to what extent they connect disparate resources effectively.