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Adoption Blog: Be Bold or Go Home

When Your Family Needs Help: Resources for Parents

In recent posts, I've been discussing how to cope when your family is struggling. In my opinion, one of the best things you can do to improve the quality of your family life is to improve your skills as a parent. I personally feel that no matter how good you are already, you can always learn some new tricks! Today I'm sharing some of the resources that have helped me the most through the years, and the places I still go for advice when I need it.

First, if you adopted internationally, I recommend seeking out an international adoption medical clinic if at all possible; there are several around the country. The International Adoption Clinic at Oakland Children's Hospital has been a great ongoing support for us. My three children, adopted from Ethiopia and India, each received health and neuro-psych screenings at the clinic upon arrival in the US. I've kept in touch with the staff, checking in whenever I've had serious questions about the kids' health. Through the years, Dr. Curtis and Dr. Bethke have helped me find therapists, medical specialists, and even tutoring for learning issues. 
Families Adopting in Response (FAIR) is based in Palo Alto, California, and offers support groups and social gatherings for local families, but anyone can order FAIR's informational DVDs or review the resources on their website. Also, I think FAIR's best service is its "warm line"; call in with a problem, and a volunteer, veteran adoptive parent who has dealt with that particular issue will call you back to talk it through. I've personally used this service. And it's free!
PACT: an Adoption Alliance, located in Oakland, California, offers adoption-related services for children of color, their birthparents, and their adoptive parents. As a Bay area resident, I've been able to attend some of their conferences, but you can access their online resource library from anywhere.
Hand in Hand is dedicated to nurturing the parent-child connection in all families. Their newsletter Parenting by Connection offers lots of free tips and tools, and the website is full of helpful articles. Although based in the Bay area, Hand in Hand offers frequent programs in Los Angeles and occasional seminars in locations around the globe. Online classes on a range of topics, like "Addressing Listening Challenges" or "Staying Close with Sons," are also available.
The Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio is a great resource for families facing attachment challenges. Although our family hasn't faced significant attachment issues, I'm still a huge fan of the books written by the center's founder, Dr. Gregory Keck and Social Worker Regina Kupecky, and their library of online articles is fantastic. Several years ago, I had the chance to hear Ms. Kupecky speak when she visited the Bay area, and it was one of the best talks on adoption I've ever heard. Her sage advice: focus on nurturing your child. Nurture more, control less, and you will reap the rewards. I remember those words at least once a week, and try to live up to them. [Regina Kupecky is hosting a Q&A Webinar on older child adoption on March 12, 1-2pm EDT – Register now!]
Judy M. Miller, adoptive parent educator and support specialist, offers workshops in the Midwest, but also has many great resources available on her website, including a blog covering adoption-related topics. I haven't ordered her e-book, What to Expect from Your Adopted Tween, yet, but I intend to very soon. I love Judy's take on parenting, especially her frequent reminder to parents that it's not about you – it's about your child.
Finally, I wanted share my favorite books on managing kid behavior. 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 by Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D., offers a simple approach that has consistently worked for our family. And with three kids very close in age all vying for mom and dad's attention, we wouldn't have survived without the practical advice found in the classic Siblings Without Rivalry, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

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Wow, that is a lot of good information, especially all the online info.  I know I am constantly searching the internet for info on our particular issues, and I have actually taken quite a few webinars.  Having this all in one place saves me a lot of time.  Thanks!

By imagine3399 on Monday, March 18, 2013 at 5:28 pm.

So glad to hear it was helpful!

By Sharon Van Epps on Monday, March 18, 2013 at 6:42 pm.

Parents have to be attentive towards the health related issues of their children, besides providing them a friendly atmosphere, where they can learn the basics of life in a better way.
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By Danyr on Wednesday, February 04, 2015 at 1:58 am.

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Sharon Van Epps

Sharon Van Epps


I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
Ethiopia, India

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