I attended the North American Conference on Adoptable Children in Lost Angeles and met fascinating people, learning many new ideas. A vision of family put forth by Adam Pertman was particularly inspiring as he talked about permanency and successful parenting encompassing the many ways we can be a family. I wrote about it on the Adoptive Families Association of BC’s website http://ow.ly/RZNZH
I said in that article:
“Adoption has changed a great deal over the last decade, and it can change again. When international adoptions became less available, North Americans had to look for other ways to create a family. Single women, single men, LGBTQ couples, foster families, and interracial families became more desirable as adoptive parents. This has been a positive expansion of families for children, and finding families is important, but it’s just the first step. Pertman says we must ensure that adoptive families are permanent and successful. He would like to see our laws and policies focus on the ways in which all agencies can assist families to provide a successful environment. Ensuring success would mean that education, support training, and services came with the child. We can’t simply assume families are going to be successful if they adopt or foster a child; we must do more to ensure the probability is high.”
More on Pertman on his Facebook page.
Once I became interested in the concepts of permanency and successful parenting I began to see references to this in many places, even a news site labelled “permanency in the News.” References to permanency were everywhere particularly in professional websites and in reports and books for social workers and professional caregivers. The word “permanence” resonates in the professional world but seems less common in books and articles written for adoptive parents. Odd that, as we are committed to permanency. The point is, I suspect, that permanency is a concept considered from the point of view of the child, teen or young adult, not from the point of view of parents. To create permanency for children in our social systems, we must look at it from the child’s point of view. We adoptive parents play a big part in this, but we aren’t the only choice for permanency; there are others. Our social systems need to look at kin placement, foster care and strong community support of our youth.
I love the stimulation of a big conference with competent speakers such as Adam Pertman, Dan Siegel. Jon Sobraske and Maris H. Blechner to name just a few of the many who were there. I can investigate ideas that are new to me, even if they have been discussed and considered by others for some time. I absorb these new ideas and fit them into what I already know, looking at how they can change my thinking. We all come to the adoption world with our knowledge and skills and, as adoptive parents, we have much to offer. New ideas can add to our skill set. We’re parents, we know how to learn and apply that learning. I look forward to how our developing notions of permanency can affect our children.
Thicker Than Blood: Adoptive Parenting in the Modern World (Arsenal Pulp Press, Spring 2016)