My name is Sarah and my two brothers and I were adopted from Bolivia when we were babies. We noticed right away we were all very different; our older brother is of Inca descent, my twin and I are a mix of Spanish and Bolivian descent, and our fair, blue eyed adoptive parents were Canadian and American. Now throw in the fact that we lived in the multicultural area of McAllen, Texas and you have the recipe for a lot of confusion.
When I was one year old my parents adopted me from the Jiangxi Province in China. Growing up, my parents constantly reassured me that my biological parents wanted me but were unable to keep me. At the time, China had a one-child policy, so most families kept the son because he passes down the family name and takes care of the parents once they grew older.
However, I still don't know if that's the real reason why I was adopted, because the orphanage I was in didn't know anything about my biological parents. A few years ago, I figured out the only thing they knew about my life pre-orphanage was that they found me on the front steps of a power plant.
Below is an example of a typical after school conversation with my son: Him: Mom, do white and black people ever marry each other? Me: Of course, all the time. Why do you ask? Him: A friend at school told me I couldn't marry the girl I like because she is white.
No one told me you guys. No one told me raising an African American boy in a country whose history has never had his best interest at heart, would be this hard. But then again, no one should've had to.
Many families I have worked with who have adopted have expressed feeling a need for more support. These families were not fully aware of the extent of their child’s trauma until after the adoption was finalized. These experiences are very real and can be extremely overwhelming. However, I always tell parents that the number one predictor for how their child is going to heal is the relationship they have with their child and the environment they have at home. Parents can’t control what has happened to their child or take away their child’s pain, but they can begin to take back control on how they connect with their child and the space they provide for them to heal.
Subtle reminders can trigger a flood of painful responses to perceived threats. Even without the cognitive memories, even in tiny babies, even in children years removed from the traumatic events. Trauma is sneaky and pervasive like that. And often it hides behind its favorite cohorts: rage, fear, detachment, anxiety, hyperactivity, withdrawal, and physical ailments to wear like a protective mask over the root of pain underneath.
We are deeply impacted by trauma. If you have experienced trauma firsthand, you understand this. Trauma has a way of sticking with us—even when we wish it would just go away. Sometimes the effects are conscious—we can’t stop thinking about the trauma. Other times, the effects are unconscious—we might be jumpy or anxious, but don’t understand why. In a similar way, trauma can impact almost every aspect of our kids’ lives…
“It has been great working with Stand Up Eight. For my husband and I, it was a chance to refocus our trauma-informed parenting, reminding us of strategies that would bring about connection. The activities strengthened our family as well as helped us reflect positively as parents. Our family relationships were positively impacted by the support, encouragement and wisdom of Stand Up Eight. Thank you!”
Let’s get reading! Here is a compilation of books on Adoption, Foster Care, Trauma and Healing, Attachment, International Development, Race, Kids books, and so much more. Although we have read some of these books, many of these books have come as recommendations from adoptive/ foster parents, professionals in each of these fields, development workers, etc., and are books we have not read. Thank you so much to the many people who gave us these incredible book recommendations, we are excited to read them alongside you and learn with you!
My name is Brittaney. I'm a midwest girl turned loyal New Englander. Former foster kiddo, current foster mama. I’m married to my sweet husband, Justin, and this coming November we will celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary. Over the last three years we have fostered three amazing kids and hope to adopt our son out of foster care late this summer. Foster care has always been apart of my story. I was adopted out of foster care when I was seven and was gifted this beautiful life that I am incredibly proud of. I have always wanted to gift that to someone else one day, which lead me to becoming a foster parent.
Nearly three years ago, Aaron and I encountered a major life change. Suddenly, three incredible kiddos moved in with us for an indefinite amount of time. And then those three kids became five, then four, then five again… then suddenly six and now seven. Oh yes, you read that correctly. Today, Aaron and I share our five-bedroom home with seven incredible children that our whole world now revolves around. And we’re happy to do so because these kids belong together – they’re siblings.
My name is MK Hill. I’m a 29 year old single foster and adoptive mom living in Memphis, TN. I began my foster care journey 4 years ago after returning home from a year of living and working abroad in 11 different countries. Before that trip I had traveled to Guatemala over 20 times and even thought I would move there one day to work in a children’s home long term. I have always longed to open my home to vulnerable children and after encountering one woman in Memphis, my life was forever changed.
I always imagined that once our home was finally filled with small feet, giggles and spilled milk that I'd feel completely content. As a woman who has wanted to adopt for several years, and as a woman who has walked through the loss of four children, I couldn't imagine being anything other than borderline-obsessed with my kids and my role as a mother some day. Young mothers would post on social media about being sick of their three-year-old's tantrums or the piles of laundry swallowing their beds, and I would roll my eyes and think about how I would be the most grateful mother when the time came.
We encourage you to press for honesty, transparency, and a willingness to engage in the hard questions. Asking these and other important questions can be the start of a partnership toward an ethical adoption process, and one that seeks not only the child’s best interest but that protects both the vulnerable and adoptive family as well.