December 17, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Preparation for Foster and Adoptive Parents

Check out this article about the 12 Days of Christmas for adoptive and foster parents!

December 13, 2010

"A Home for the Holidays"

According to the CBS Press Release...

THE 12TH ANNUAL A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, a new entertainment special to be broadcast Wednesday, Dec. 22 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, will include moving performances by Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge, Grammy Award-winning group Maroon 5, Grammy Award-winning superstar Ricky Martin and Grammy Award-winning hip hop artist Nelly. The show will open with a performance by pop sensation Katy Perry. The hosts of "The Talk," Julie Chen, Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Holly Robinson Peete, Leah Remini and Marissa Jaret Winokur, as well as Academy Award and Golden Globe Award winning actress Mira Sorvino ("Mighty Aphrodite") will be among the talent set to present.

Following the success of the past 11 annual shows, the special continues to tell touching stories about foster care adoption to raise awareness for this important social issue. The inspirational stories of these American families are enhanced by performances by some of today's most popular artists.

The musical performances frame several pre-taped story segments which are presented by celebrities who either have their own adoption experiences or are involved with children's issues. The stories highlight many exceptional American children and families involved in this rewarding process.

• Jimmy Wayne (Nashville, TN)
Country music artist Jimmy Wayne knows first hand about living in foster care. Wayne was abandoned at a bus station when he was 13 years old and shuffled through 12 schools and more than eight foster placements before he met Russell and Bea Costner, a couple in their 70s who opened their home and hearts to him. "I was 16 years old and that family changed my whole life, every cell in my body. I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for them." Wayne graduated from college and soon signed his

Today, giving back is a key part of Wayne's life. Earlier this year, he launched his MEET ME HALFWAY project with his seven-month walk halfway across America to raise awareness.

• Anderson Family (Los Angeles)
Marsha and Corey Anderson were married 11 years and had three children when they began talking about adding to their family through adoption. Initially, Corey was hesitant, but had a change of heart after watching "A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS." "The show took away my fears, and I was fully committed from that moment forward," says Corey. Featured on the show last December were foster children 6-year-old Ashley and her 4-year-old brother Jacob, who were waiting to be adopted. "We thought we would adopt one child, but when we saw Ashley and Jacob, we knew they would fit perfectly into our family," says Marsha.

• Cates Family (Los Angeles)
In 2001, Arthur and Mary Cates met 7-year-old Darnell at an adoption fair. In foster care since birth, Darnell had less than a 30 percent chance of ever being adopted. "When I saw Darnell in the play area all by himself, I saw in his eyes a sad little boy that needed to be loved," says Mary. Now 16, Darnell is a confident young man who is gifted in the arts. "I've experienced a new world full of hope and have overcome that sadness. It feels like I've been with my parents my whole life," says Darnell. The Cates decided to adopt again in 2007 when they met foster children Sierra and Phillip at an adoption event.

• Carter Family (Missouri)
SWAT team paramedic Kasha Carter knew the plight of children living with neglect and abuse. "After we made entry into a home I often watched the children until Social Services came to place them in foster care. It really tugged on my heartstrings and I wanted to raise one of those children as my own," says Kasha. In 2001, single at the time, Kasha adopted a young foster child named Austin. "When I was first taken from my home I was just devastated. But then I met my mom and I was so happy because I knew I really mattered to her," says Austin. Five years later, Kasha met fellow paramedic Aaron Carter and they soon married. "I knew right away that Kasha was special. She had a big enough heart to take in a child," says Aaron. Today, Austin has made the honor roll and is the proud big brother to their 4-year-old son, Hunter.

• Children Waiting
There are over one half million children currently in foster care in the United States, 114,000 waiting to be adopted. This segment gives voice to these children by creating an intimate portrait of youth who need permanent loving homes.

The special is presented in association with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Children's Action Network. Wendy's International founder Dave Thomas, who was adopted, established the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption in 1992. It is dedicated to dramatically increasing the adoptions of the more than 114,000 waiting children in the United States foster care system. Wendy's is a program sponsor.

The Children's Action Network was founded in 1990 by leaders in the entertainment industry to harness the power of the entertainment media on behalf of children. The special is a part of CAN's National Adoption Campaign to raise awareness of the joys of adopting and to find homes for the children who are waiting.

December 3, 2010

New APAC Counseling Newsletter!

Check out our new APAC Counseling Newsletter, The Journey!

December 2, 2010

Tis' The Season

Holidays can be difficult for adoptive and foster families for a variety of reasons. One challenge, specific to multicultural families, is trying to figure out how to incorporate different cultures in their celebrations. This article discusses how adoptive families can celebrate traditions from a variety of cultures and gives tips for planning your celebrations this holiday season. Check it out here.

November 30, 2010

And the winner is...

The winner of our "National Adoption Month" giveaway is...Ernestine Young!!

Ernestine says, "The best thing about being an adoptive parent is that every day I learn something new about our son. The process is totally different from bio children. Every day is an adventure and exciting because I really don't know what is going to come out. Some days it is totally crazy but I learned to bend and change beyond what I thought I was capable. If everyone could adopt a child, the world would be a better place."

Ernestine, please email me at to claim your $25 Outback gift certificate!!

Keep checking back for more drawings in the future...

**Winner was chosen by assigning numbers to each entry, in order of entry and choosing a random number with Randomizer.**

November 29, 2010

Ten Myths and Realities of Sibling Adoption

AdoptUsKids recently issued a resource that reviews ten myths and realities of adopting siblings and provides resources on each topic. Check it out here.

November 8, 2010

30 Ways to Celebrate National Adoption Month

Check out the calendar on the Adoptive Families website to find ways that YOU can celebrate National Adoption Month!

November 3, 2010

iFoster Member Discount Program

iFoster Member Discount Program
Program to help raise children in foster care. This program can save the average household over $4,500* a year with discounts at national and local retailers, grocery stores, healthcare providers (dental & vision), restaurants, movie theatres and attractions. They've brought the benefits program used by Fortune 500 companies such as Oracle, US Bank, Virgin, The Walt Disney Company, and even the US Army to the foster care community. Transition age foster youth (16-21), Families (foster, resource, kin, guardian, adoptive) and Organizations (e.g. group home, transitional housing, CASA) supporting children in foster care are eligible to become members for free.

They have over 100,000 discounts now with new discounts constantly being added.

Get more information and sign up at

Promoted by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

November 1, 2010

Is Your Child Being Bullied?

"As we all know too well, name–calling, cruel taunts, cyberbullying and physical bullying happen every day to kids across the country. When your child is being bullied, it’s hard to concentrate on anything else—all you want to do is make it stop immediately. Janet Lehman, MSW explains what you can do to help your child—and what could hurt them in the long run." Check out the article here.

Happy National Adoption Month!!

November is National Adoption Month!! APAC would like to thank each and every adoptive parent in Alabama for being YOU! To show our appreciation, we would like to have our first giveaway on The Adoption Place. To participate, leave a comment telling us your favorite part of being an adoptive parent and you will be entered into a drawing for a $25 Outback Steakhouse gift certificate! We will reveal the winner on November 30th, so keep checking back!

Thanks again for all you do as adoptive parents!!

**Only Alabama adoptive parents are eligible to win the giveaway.**

October 28, 2010

P.E.A.C.E.F.U.L. Component #8

Continuing Bryan Post's Eight Components of a Peaceful Parent/Child Relationship...

#8. Love is the ribbon that ties patience, empathy, acceptance, compassion, encouragement, forgiveness, and understanding all together.

Love is not a feeling - it is an action.

Love does not just occur or present itself - it takes effort.

Love is not a noun - it is a verb!

Your child will not just feel loved because you say you love him.

He must feel it through your actions.

This may take the form of a hug, a smile, or a kiss; but it takes some action before love can be experienced.

It will do your child no good to talk about how much you love him if he does not experience your love through your actions.

All else pales in comparison to a child feeling loved.

Children need this love above anything else.

The practice of love is difficult.

The process of expressing love is displayed through the actions of showing patience, connecting in empathy, providing acceptance, approaching with compassion, offering encouragement, showering with forgiveness, and seeking to truly understand your child.

Bryan Post
Post Institute for Family-Centered Therapy "There is help, There is hope."
Office: 866-848-POST (7678)

October 27, 2010

Keeping The Promise: The Critical Need for Post-Adoption Services to Enable Children and Families to Succeed

Alabama is one of the few states that provide adoption support!

October 26, 2010

Expanded Adoption Credit

IRS Offers Guidance on Expanded Adoption Credit

Washington, D.C. (September 29, 2010)
By WebCPA Staff

The Internal Revenue Service has released guidance on the expanded adoption credit that is available for tax year 2010 as a result of the Affordable Care Act, along with a draft version of the form that taxpayers will use to claim it.

The Affordable Care Act raises the maximum adoption credit to $13,170 per child, up from $12,150 in 2009. It also makes the credit refundable, meaning that eligible taxpayers can get it even if they owe no tax for that year. In general, the credit is based on the reasonable and necessary expenses related to a legal adoption, including adoption fees, court costs, attorney’s fees and travel expenses. Income limits and other special rules apply.

In addition to filling out Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses, eligible taxpayers must include with their 2010 tax returns one or more adoption-related documents, detailed in the guidance issued today. The documentation requirements, designed to ensure that taxpayers properly claim the credit, mean that taxpayers claiming the credit will have to file paper tax returns. Normally, it takes six to eight weeks to get a refund claimed on a complete and accurate paper return where all required documents are attached. The IRS encourages taxpayers to use direct deposit to speed their refund.

Taxpayers claiming the credit will still be able to use IRS Free File to prepare their returns, but the returns must be printed out and sent to the IRS, along with all the required documentation.

October 25, 2010

P.E.A.C.E.F.U.L. Component #7

Continuing Bryan Post's Eight Components of a Peaceful Parent/Child Relationship...

#7. Understanding our children means perceiving precisely what they mean rather than assuming an ulterior motive.

It means being sympathetic toward their point of view.

Most parenting theories fail to teach parents the necessity of understanding.

This failure is not in the parents themselves, but in what they have been taught.

This teaching began with the parent's parents and their parents before them.

Along the way, in all of the confusion, some have been led even further astray by misinformed therapists who themselves had received much the same form of parenting.

This problem runs rampant in our society.

We have been directed to look outside of ourselves for solutions, but in doing so we miss the single greatest solution to almost any conflict, which is simply understanding the situation from the other person's perspective.

It is often difficult to understand the behavior of a child because we fail to understand our own reactions first.

Generally, misbehavior, if not interpreted correctly, will lead to a parental feeling of fear, which will give way to guilt or blame, and in some instances, a deeper sense of shame.

When this occurs the parent has already stepped out of range of understanding her child.

The primary key to understanding your child is in your perception of her behavior.

Parents are often so intent on believing that children are inherently disobedient, that they fail to see the true emotions driving their children's behavior.

Most often, it is not about disobedience at all.

It is the presence of fear that causes the adverse behavior.

If a parent will look beneath the behavior to the underlying fear of the child, she will be better able to approach her child with an attitude of understanding.

Bryan Post
Post Institute for Family-Centered Therapy "There is help, There is hope."
Office: 866-848-POST (7678)

October 18, 2010

The Impact of Oxytocin on Children's Behavior

This is a pretty cool webinar on how the hormone Oxytocin impacts your child's behavior. I encourage you to check it out here!

P.E.A.C.E.F.U.L. Component #6

Continuing Bryan Post's Eight Components of a Peaceful Parent/Child Relationship...

#6 Forgiveness of self forms the foundation for love and forgiveness of others.

In my work with families I encounter all of the time parents who have experienced deep pain during childhood at the hands of their own parents, and the first thing they generally say is, "Oh I have forgiven my parents."

Without a doubt when I hear this question I sense deeply within myself an individual who has not fully embraced the understanding of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a process of self-awareness and self-acceptance, which allows us to see our actions both positive and negative and take responsibility for them as opposed to feeling blamed, which leads to guilt.

In other words, it is the human condition to blame ourselves for all things negative.

Regrettably this takes the place in the form of shaming, and denial of ones feelings, and a building up of a sense of ones lack of worth.

The abused child comes to believe that they are the reason for the abuse.

If only they could behave better.

The abused child as an adult comes to deny the feeling of not being good enough and reinforces this negative self-picture with a misconception of forgiving her parents.

In fact, this only fosters her sense of shame and denial.

Rather, the adult must come to the deeply emotional awakening that she must forgive herself for the years spent devaluing, blaming, and shaming her beautiful self.

Until we can forgive ourselves we cannot forgive others fully.

All else becomes face value, simply surface.

For parents in their interaction with their own children it is essential to see their own inherent parental shortcomings.

We must strive to do the best that we can but also realize we will make mistakes as our parents also made mistakes.

When the mistakes occur, as surely they will, we must first forgive ourselves for our imperfections and then seek forgiveness from our children.

Forgiveness should also come with the promise and effort to do better next time.

As God forgives us so should we forgive ourselves and seek forgiveness from others.

Bryan Post
Post Institute for Family-Centered Therapy "There is help, There is hope."
Office: 866-848-POST (7678)

October 8, 2010

P.E.A.C.E.F.U.L. Component #5

Continuing Bryan Post's Eight Components of a Peaceful Parent/Child Relationship...

#5. Encouragement is an aspect of our relationship with
our children that we simply cannot do enough.

Have you ever had the experience as an adult of wanting
to do something new?

Maybe you were considering a new job or a major purchase,
but were feeling unsure.

What did you need?

What did you eventually receive?

Ultimately, when life presents us with a challenge,
the sheer magnitude of the fear we create can lead
us to fall back and not make an effort.

For children, this experience happens daily.

Simply the effort to work on a homework assignment
alone can present an enormous degree of fear for a child.

Imagine the significance of a simple, "You can do it,
I have faith in you," for a child when facing a life obstacle.

As we encourage our children in daily life experiences
we are endowing them with a deep sense of their
ability to trust themselves in the endeavors they pursue.

As a child growing up I can recall, with the greatest sensation
of love, never an ill word spoken towards my endeavors.

From seven years of age when I wanted to start a lemonade
stand on the corner block, to an adult when I desire to build
a fortress for family healing, nothing but loving support.

Encouragement is one of the purest blessings we can ever
bestow upon our children.

Bryan Post
Post Institute for Family-Centered Therapy
"There is help, There is hope."
Office: 866-848-POST (7678)

October 5, 2010

Preparing Siblings for Adoption

There is a great article today on the "Creating a Family" website. Here is an excerpt from the article. "The addition of a child changes the family dynamics for everyone and especially for the children already in the home. This is the case regardless how the new child enters the family, but adoption throws in an added wrinkle. The adopted child may not be a newborn, the child may have established habits and behaviors that complicate sibling relationships, and the child may be of a different race. Plus, there are fewer resources available to help with this transition. And let’s face it: adoption isn’t the norm, so you and your existing children often have more explaining to do." Check out the article here.

September 30, 2010

P.E.A.C.E.F.U.L. Component #4

Continuing Bryan Post's Eight Components of a Peaceful Parent/Child Relationship...

#4. Compassion is the act of feeling deeply for the life position of another individual.

Life position is defined as the stage of internal growth one has attained through experience.

For children, their life position is vastly compromised and so completely dependent upon the responses of the environment.

For example, when I took my child to Disney World for a summer vacation.

In the process of my own internal frenzy to ensure that she had the greatest time possible, I stopped for a moment to reflect upon what I was feeling and what she might be feeling.

In an instant, relief flooded my body as I realized how lost she was in the excitement of the experience, and to simply be in the experience from her life position would be an abundant experience.

I didn't have to rush all around Disney like a mad man; I could simply allow my child to experience life from her seven-year-old position.

I was able to experience deeply a sense of compassion for her youth that I had seldom felt.

To this day I continue to reflect on the essence of that moment to allow me to connect to my child on a deep and compassionate level.

Bryan Post
Post Institute for Family-Centered Therapy "There is help, There is hope."
Office: 866-848-POST (7678)

September 23, 2010

P.E.A.C.E.F.U.L. Component #3

Continuing Bryan Post's P.E.A.C.E.F.U.L. components for a Peaceful Parent/Child Relationship...

Component #3

Acceptance is the unconditional love that lies
beneath the essential lifelong commitment a parent makes
to her child.

It is vital to the child's healthy survival in the world.

This level of commitment communicates to your child,
"No matter what may happen in life, you are okay with
me, and for this reason, I accept you as you are."

When a child receives this core message, she will carry
this as a stepping-stone into all areas throughout the rest
of her life.

We all have a need to be accepted, to belong, to feel a
part, to be invited into a group with values and beliefs
that coincide with those that resonate deep within our

Whether it is a group of friends, the human race, a
community, or a family; being accepted is a means of
defining ourselves.

Many children, unfortunately, do not have this deep sense
of acceptance to fall back on during the struggles of life.

These children live with a deep belief that they are inadequate,
not accepted, and unable to be valued and loved.

The result is a life of constant self-doubt and low self-worth.

Such children grow up and become adults who try to find
their self-worth in others, always looking to others or
their work or their money for approval.

Acceptance between a parent and child is the unspoken
agreement that within their relationship that all is okay
for now and forever.

When difficult times come, as surely they will, this
child knows that she can always return to her parent
for security and acceptance.

Bryan Post
Post Institute for Family-Centered Therapy
"There is help, There is hope."
Office: 866-848-POST (7678)

September 20, 2010

P.E.A.C.E.F.U.L. Component #2

Today we are continuing with Bryan Post's Eight Components of a Peaceful Parent/Child Relationship. Today is Component #2!

#2 Empathy is the ability to experience and identify with the emotional state of another person.

It is important to understand that there are only two primary emotions: Love and Fear.

Often times that which looks opposite to love is stemming from fear.

Understanding the primary emotions will assist you in the process of empathy.

This ability is one of the most important aspects in a healthy relationship between a parent and child.

One of the most common misconceptions among parents is that a child displaying aggressive behavior is angry.

This shows a lack of empathy and leads the parent to respond as if he is relating to an angry child, which in turn builds up defensive barriers in the child.

Once you begin to view your child as angry and untrusting, you fail to empathize with him.

It is very difficult for you to move from a place of anger at your child if you are not able to empathize and identify with what your child is actually feeling.

Remember to work diligently to see the fear underneath
the anger.

Your own personal history and upbringing may get in the way of empathy as well.

We have all experienced various traumas of childhood.
You need to be careful to empathize with what your child is actually feeling, rather than assuming he is feeling what you felt as a child.

It is important not to react from an unconscious desire to rescue your child from the pain that you may have felt yourself as a child, or to compensate for something missing in your own interpersonal life.

The longer you live with unresolved traumas in your own life, the further down inside you bury them, and they become deeply ingrained into your unconscious drives.

The task of being empathetic becomes a two-fold experience.

One, for the parent to be aware of his own unconscious and past issues; and two, to look beyond seeing his child as angry, and to identify with the child's true feelings.

This empathetic connection will make parenting a much more mutually satisfying experience.

Bryan Post
Post Institute for Family-Centered Therapy "There is help, There is hope."
Office: 866-848-POST (7678)

September 16, 2010

P.E.A.C.E.F.U.L. Component #1

Bryan Post is one of America's foremost child behavior experts. You can find more information about him on his website. He has written a series of posts called P.E.A.C.E.F.U.L. Eight Components of a Peaceful Parent/Child Relationship. He will be discussing the eight components that he believes are necessary for transforming the parent/child relationship. Sound interesting? Read on!

P.E.A.C.E.F.U.L. Component #1

#1. Patience is a process that comes from a deep sense of calmness and well-being. It is an absolute necessity in a parent's daily interaction with her child.
As a parent, when you are stressed, the task of being patient will be infinitely more difficult than when you are calm.

In order to remain patient, you must first take into consideration your own stress that may be unconsciously driving your state of functioning.

Next, you must make a concerted effort to be aware of your child's needs at all times and consider what she may be feeling at any given moment.

And remember, you cannot be patient all of the time.

When you do fail in the area of patience you can always apologize for raising your voice or lashing out, and promise to do better the next time.

Bryan Post
Post Institute for Family-Centered Therapy "There is help, There is hope."
Office: 866-848-POST (7678)

September 14, 2010


a ministry of faith, hope and love
Second Saturday of each month.
Inaugural Night is Sat, Sep 11 from 4-8 pm

Joy for Johnny is a respite ministry for families that have children with special needs. An outreach ministry of First United Methodist Church, Joy for Johnny honors Jesus' desire that all children be welcomed and embraced as signs of the Kingdom. Kids with special needs, together with their families, receive the loving support of Christ's church through respite care.

For more information Contact
Rev. Nathan Attwood at 334-834-8990 or Susan Hunt at (334) 239-9887

September 2, 2010

Back to School

Since it is that time of year again I figured a back to school article would be appropriate! This article discusses various issues regarding adoption and the schools. For example, should you tell the school that your child is adopted? And how do you prepare your child to answer difficult questions? Check it out here.

August 6, 2010

10 Quick Tips for Back to School Success, by Bryan Post

It’s time for another year of school to begin. No doubt both parents and children are feeling anxious. Parents are anxiously pulling out the last hairs on their heads wishing that bell would have rang last week, and children are anxiously pining away for every last minute of uninterrupted cartoons knowing surely the bell is going to ring soon!

The following are some quick tips comprised for both parents and teachers that will help kick the new school year off on a positive note.


1.Back to Bed. This one tip is probably one of the most important. Due to a summer of little structure most children’s natural sleep rhythms are out of sync. Begin at least a week ahead of time getting your child back into the school week sleep routine. By the time school finally starts they’ll be well rested and slipping back into a natural pattern.
2.High protein, Low Carbs. Research has finally revealed that a diet high in proteins (meats, eggs, cheese, nuts, etc.) and low in simple carbs (refined sugars, cereals, pop tarts, fruit drinks, etc.) can help improve a child’s ability to focus and learn more effectively. Summer is often a time of free grazing in the kitchen. Quickly start doing away with the summer stand by snacks, and replacing them with energy and power foods.
3.Decreasing Television. As important as the bedtime routine is the reduction of television. A national study revealed that on average children watch five hours of television a day. Imagine how much that increases during the summer. Television is overwhelming to the brain system of a child, leading to hyperactivity and defiance. Now is a great time to start cutting the television time in half and encouraging your child to pick up a book.
4.Familiarity with Environment. For some children this will be their first time at school, and for others this will be their first time in a new school. It can be very beneficial to take your child to the school and allow them to see it, walk down the halls, perhaps even meet their new teacher. This will create an opportunity for familiarity that will help your child feel more calm and safe when the first bell finally rings.
5.Talk to your Child. Take the days leading up to school to sit down and talk to your child about any fears he or she may be feeling with the new school year approaching. Going into a new grade can be quite intimidating. Let your child know that you will support him and love him no matter what, and you are sure that he will do his very best. Most of all, just listen to what his feelings may be as the big day approaches.

6.Verbalizing Expectations. A particularly powerful opening exercise with new students is asking them their expectations of you as the teacher. Write these down on the board. Following that inform them of your expectations for them. After discussion and agreement, write them in a place where the children can review them from time to time. When things aren’t going so good refer them back to their expectations of you, and yours of them. This will set a tone of openness and trust early in the formation of your new relationship.
7.Get a Heads Up on the Child with Special Needs. All teachers want to give each child a clean slate to start with during the new school year, however a slate absent of a child’s needs is not necessarily beneficial. If you have a child in your classroom that had problems last year, converse with the past teacher and ask her or him what worked with the child and what did not. Help this child begin their year on a positive note by sitting them on the front row, making them the new assistant, and being the lunch line leader (which is code for keeping him next to you!). Remember, you are not punishing the child, but rather creating an environment for success!
8.The Importance of Touch. The simple gesture of a handshake or a pat on the shoulder during a hello is enough to help an anxious child feel safe and secure in a new environment. Unfortunately the use of touch has become a lost ingredient in the relationship between teachers and students, yet we fail to realize for some children the touch they receive from you may be the only positive touch they’ve had all summer. Don’t be afraid to say hello, smile, and touch the child on the shoulder, or hold their hand for a moment longer than normal. This small interaction can go a long way in building trust and security.
9.Quiet Time. Because of the hectic and unstructured schedules of most children during the summer, when they arrive into your classroom they’ll be wound as tight as grandma’s clock. After each major transition time such as early morning playground time to first class, transition from one class to the next, or following lunch and recess, take three minutes to turn the lights off, play a classical song, and encourage the children to breathe and slowly calm down. Not only are such techniques proven effective for children with ADHD, they are effective for all children following a transition.
10.Be Patient with You. It is critically important to remember that even though you’ve been doing this for years, or perhaps maybe this is your first year, you too are going to be forming new relationships. This naturally causes some initial anxiety. Take some deep breaths before your students come into the classroom, and remind yourself that you are the best teacher they could possibly have. Be patient with yourself first, and this will allow you to be patient with your students when they need it the most.
Have a Great Year!

Bryan Post is an internationally recognized expert in the treatment of children with behavior problems. He has consulted with families and schools throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia

August 3, 2010

July 19, 2010


ParenTalk is a great newsletter put out by the Alabama Department of Children's Affairs. This month's newsletter covers topics from "101 Ways to Praise a Child", how to determine if your child is ready for kindergarten, guidelines on leaving children at home alone, ideas to cure the summertime blues, to the top 10 kids' health issues to be aware of in 2010. To sign-up for this newsletter visit this website.

July 8, 2010

Camp APAC 2010

Camp APAC is our annual camp for adopted children and their siblings, ages 8-18 in the state of Alabama. We had 103 campers this year and had a blast!! Here is some of the fun we had...

If you are interested in your children attending Camp APAC 2011 make sure you are on our mailing list and be looking in your mail the beginning of 2011 for more information!! We hope to see you at Camp APAC 2011!

July 7, 2010

Summer Activities

"Research shows that all children experience some loss of learning when they do not take part in summer learning activities, according to the National Summer Learning Institute. The PTA, one of United Way’s national partners, has created the Urban Family Engagement Initiative Summer of Learning Toolkit. The toolkit features a calendar with quick ideas for almost every day of the week and runs through August with dozens of summer activities for children." Check it out here!

July 6, 2010

Finding Birth Family Online

Got a Web-savvy teen on your hands? Here’s how to set safety guidelines and step in if she searches for—or is found by—birth family.
By Rita Taddonio, LCSW

Fourteen-year-old Amy was on the computer, when she called out, “Hey, Mom! Come look!” As her mom approached the screen, the image smiling back at her looked oddly familiar. “I think I just Googled my birth family!” said Amy.
Noah, a 16-year-old Korean adoptee, had his parents’ support and permission to begin a birthparent search. He had just contacted his adoption agency when his birthfather reached out to him—through Facebook.

In our high-speed world, stories like these are becoming commonplace. You should begin a conversation about Internet safety and privacy as soon as your child becomes computer-literate. Establish general rules, such as “Keep Facebook open only to friends” and “Never give your address or phone number out on the Internet.”

But even as our children learn these basic rules, we have the added complexity of teaching them about searching for, and being searched for by, birth families. We can no longer assume that we are the sole gatekeepers of information.

Online…and Off
Your teen’s emotional development is probably not on a par with her technical abilities. Children may search for birth family just to see what they find, without considering the complexity of opening up an adoption. Finding someone online means having to deal with a real person, who may or may not think, act, or respond as you would like.

Christopher, a 13-year-old, was found by an older birth sibling, and they arranged to meet. At the last minute, he told his mother. She contacted the sibling and explained that she supported her son’s interest in meeting his birth family, but that she wanted to be involved, since he was still a teen. The mother accompanied her son, and all three enjoyed the visit.

Julie, a 15-year-old, found her birthmother on Facebook and began writing to her. Her birthmom felt overwhelmed and pulled back. Julie’s parents didn’t know this had happened until her grades and behavior began to deteriorate. They had a heart-to-heart, and Julie agreed to see a counselor trained in adoption, to sort out her feelings and make a realistic plan for future contact.

By opening a dialogue, you can ensure that there are no divided loyalties or secrets around relationships with birth family members who might be found. If you sanction an online search, support your child by asking about her hopes for the relationship.

You might say, “You said that you want to find your birthmother. What would you like to tell her or ask her? I’ve read about other people who searched for their birth families, and birthparents are not always ready to have contact. How would you feel if that happens?”

Just as you prepare your child to answer questions about adoption from other children, so you need to prepare him to handle interactions that might arise online.

RITA TADDONIO, LCSW, is the director of the Adoption Resource Center at Spence-Chapin, in New York City.

Search Support

Parents of teens expressing interest in finding birth family should follow three guidelines:

1. Keep a dialogue open. You should talk with your child about his birth family from the day he joins your family. Not every day, of course, but to share information at a developmentally appropriate level when there is an opportunity.

2. Respect everyone's privacy. An adopted child (or an adoptive parent) may locate a birthmother on Facebook, but find that she’s not ready to open up her world to him or her. Perhaps her family doesn’t know that she relinquished a child. Conversely, if the birth family reaches out, adoptive parents have the right to establish boundaries until everyone gets to know one another.

3. Give the relationship time. Both adoptive parents and birthparents should try to get to know each other as individuals. Exchange e-mails or letters and calls until everyone is comfortable enough to meet.

June 28, 2010

Trauma and Video Games

This is a very interesting interview on the Beyond Consequences website.

"This discussion with Dr. Robert Scaer and Heather T. Forbes, LCSW, centers on the connection of childhood trauma and the addictive nature of video games. Dr. Scaer discusses how trauma, at an unconscious level, can heighten a child's arousal system, creating the child's need to seek extreme excitement and pleasure. Video games meet this need and give children that "rush" their bodies are craving." Check it out here.

June 3, 2010

Individual Educational Plan (IEP)

The Beyond Consequences Institute has an audio discussion on their website to help you learn more about a child's eligibility for an IEP, how to prepare for an IEP meeting, and what additional resources you may need to bring to the table when attending an IEP meeting. Check it out here.

May 18, 2010

"Please Hear What I Am Not Saying"

This is a poem about the mask that so many children from foster care wear and how parents must read between the lines in order to break through that mask. Check it out here!

May 3, 2010

May is National Foster Care Month

There are currently 463,000 American children and youth in foster care. THANK YOU to all of the foster parents in Alabama, and all over the US, who provide these children with loving homes! Check out this website to see what YOU can do this month to help these children!!

April 27, 2010


Lying is a common issue with all children, but it can be especially challenging with children who have been abused, neglected, spent time in foster care, etc. It is difficult for parents to figure out why the child is lying and how to respond appropriately! This is a great handout that talks about the different kinds of lying and what you can do. Check it out here.

April 26, 2010

In Response to Failed Russian Adoption...

Below you will find a letter to the editor that our Program Director, Deb Finley, wrote in response to the recent failed Russian adoption we have been hearing so much about on the news.

"I am prompted to write after observing the recent saga of the failed adoption of a 7 year old Russian child. Regardless of who is responsible for what, it is clear that the adoptive family was unprepared and overwhelmed by the emotional and behavioral needs of this young soul. In the world of foster care and adoption, the “honeymoon phase” is how we refer to the initial post placement time of a child into a new home. The child begins to feel “safe” enough to express feelings and behaviors. This can indeed be a challenging time for the child and family. Timely post placement support services by adoption professionals can be a critical factor in helping the child and family work through intense feelings and behaviors. Alabama is blessed to have what I consider an exceptional post adoption support program formed through a cooperative effort of Children’s Aid Society (a non-profit) and the Alabama Department of Human Resources. Adoptive Family Counseling and Adoptive Family Support Groups (separate adult and child groups) are two of the many services that are free to Alabama adoptive families. Yes, adoption disruptions still occur in Alabama. But thanks to Alabama’s response to challenges that adoptive families may encounter, the transition of a child into a new and unfamiliar home can be met with greater understanding, support, and capacity. Please spread the word to Alabama adoptive families."

Debra Hawk Finley, LCSW
Program Director of Alabama Pre/Post Adoption Connections
Children’s Aid Society

More on the Adoption Tax Credit

Here is a great document that explains a little bit more about the Adoption Tax Credit. Click here.

April 22, 2010

April in National Child Abuse Prevention Month

National Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect and to encourage individuals and communities to support children and families. Check out this website to find out what YOU can do!

April 19, 2010

Different Trips to the Same Place

Deciding to have a baby is like planning a trip to Australia. You've heard it's a wonderful place. You've read many guidebooks and feel certain you're ready to go. Everyone you know has traveled there by plane. They say it can be a turbulent flight with occasional rough landings, but you can look forward to being pampered on the trip.

So you go to the airport and ask the ticket agent for a ticket to Australia. All around you, excited people are boarding planes for Australia. It seems there is no seat for you: You'll have to wait for the next flight. Impatient, but anticipating a wonderful trip, you wait - and wait - and wait.

Flights to Australia continue to come and go. People say silly things like, "Relax, you'll get on a flight soon." Other people actually get on a plane and then cancel their trip, to which you cry, "It's not fair!"

After a long time the ticket agent tells you, "I'm sorry, we're not going to be able to get you on a plane to Australia. Perhaps you should think about going by boat."

"By boat!" you say, "going by boat will take a very long time and it costs a great deal of money, I really had my heart set on going by plane." So you go home and think about not going to Australia at all. You wonder if Australia will be as beautiful if you approach it by sea rather than air. But you have long dreamed of this wonderful place, and finally you decide to travel by boat.

It's a long trip, many months over many rough seas. No one pampers you. You wonder if you will ever see Australia. Meanwhile, your friends have flown back and forth to Australia two or three more times, marveling about each trip.

Then one glorious day, the boat docks in Australia. It is more exquisite than you ever imagined, and the beauty is magnified by your long days at sea. You have made many fiends during your voyage, and you find yourself comparing stories with others who also traveled by sea rather than air.

People continue to fly to Australia as often as they like, but you are able to travel only once, perhaps twice. Some say things like, "Oh, be glad you didn't fly. My flight was horrible: traveling by sea is so easy."

You will always wonder what it would have been like to fly to Australia. Still, you know God blessed you with a special appreciation of Australia, and the beauty of Australia is not in the way you got there, but in the place itself.


April 6, 2010

2007 Survey of Adoptive Parents

I came across this article today and it is VERY lengthy but has some great information in there! Check it out for general information about adoption, adoption statistics, information on the health, cognitive and physical development of adopted children, adoption satisfaction - pretty much anything adoption related!! Check it out here!

March 26, 2010

Adoption Tax Credit

Excerpt from Adoption Learning Partners...

Good news for adoptive families from the health care bill just signed into law March, 2010. Included in the bill were favorable changes to the Adoption Tax Credit. Our partners at Joint Council for International Children's Services summarize the changes as follows:

• The maximum credit was increased from $12,150 to $13,170
• The credit is extended through December, 2011.
• The credit was made refundable. If a family has no tax liability, the IRS will refund the amount due.
Read the bill's text yourself click here. (The Adoption Tax Credit is mentioned on page 903 of the 906 page bill.)

March 23, 2010

Helping Older Children Adjust

This brief question and answer article talks about how to help older children adjust to your home. It briefly discusses their anxieties and fears and ideas on how to work through these fears to develop trust. Check it out here!

March 11, 2010

The Myth of Love at First Sight

Here is an article entitled "The Myth of Love at First Sight". It is about the feelings of depression that a lot of adoptive parents go through after the child is placed in their home. It is something that is not talked about a lot but very real. Check it out here.

March 10, 2010

Adoptive Family Egg Hunt

We invite our adoptive families to have a hopping good time at our 3rd annual Easter Egg Hunt (Montgomery and surrounding areas) March 27th at Buddy Watson Park from 10-11:30. If you are interested in attending please contact the APAC office at 334-409-9477 by March 22nd to RSVP.

March 2, 2010

Discipline: With an Adoption Twist

Here's a great article on discipling children who have been adopted. Children who have been in foster care, who have been in orphanages, who have been abused and neglected have unique needs when being discipled. Typical methods that parents use are not always effective. This article talks about what actually works for our children. Check it out here! The APAC library has many of the books that the article recommends - just let us know if you are interested in checking them out!

February 24, 2010

Beyond Placement: Family Adjustment to Foster Care Adoption



After an adoption is finalized, it is not uncommon for both adoptive parents and their children to experience a period of adjustment as they transition to the changes that occur with finalization: the absence of previously ever-present professionals, changes in the schedule of birth family visitation, changes in family dynamics, etc. Families may experience challenges around their child's reworking issues related to loss and grief of birth family ties. Some families may struggle with how to fulfill the obligations of their open adoption agreement. This webinar will help parents understand and successfully navigate through these concerns.

Online Registration is now open!
Beyond Placement: Family Adjustment to Foster Care Adoption
Thursday, March 11th, 2010
9:00p.m - 10:30p.m. (Eastern Standard Time)
Fee: $25

To register for this training click here.

February 22, 2010

How trauma affects a child's development

This is an excellent interview with the co-author of "The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love and Healing". In this interview, Bruce Perry talks about a variety of topics regarding children who have experienced trauma. You can listen to the interview here.

February 15, 2010

The Stages of Waiting

Here is an article from an adoptive parent about the waiting process that is involved with adoption. Whether you are adopting domestically, internationally, privately...there is still WAITING! Here is one parent's journey through the roller coaster emotions involved in this wait. Check it out here.

February 9, 2010

Adoption Orientation in Dothan

You can change the life of an Alabama child!!!
This orientation is for those of you who would like to gain more information regarding adoption and also for those of you who are ready to begin the process. You are welcome to stay afterwards and ask specific questions and take a look at pictures/biographies of some of the Alabama children who are free for adoption and currently awaiting forever families.

Open your heart & home

You are cordially invited to the
Adoption Orientation

Monday, March 8, 2010
Ridgecrest Baptist Church
Recreation Fitness Center
1231 Fortner Street, Dothan, AL

Contact Lisa Williams at 334-673-0008 or for more information.

Currently, there are more than 300 children in foster care in Alabama who are awaiting a loving and caring adoptive home. Many have never felt the warmth and joy that comes from a forever family. Most have been placed in agency custody due to parental neglect or physical abuse. The good news is that the lives of these children can be brightened forever by just one person - YOU!

APAC is a collaborative effort between Children’s Aid Society and the Department of Human Resources to provide education and support to Alabama's adoptive families.

February 8, 2010

Reassuring Our Children

Current events can trigger hidden fears and emotions that young adoptees have about birthparents or their place in their family. If your child seems worried and confused about current events, or even if she hasn't yet expressed concern, this article discusses ways that parents can help their children regain a sense of security. Check it out here.

January 29, 2010

7 Core Issues in Adoption

Here is a great handout that briefly summarizes the major issues that the adoption triad faces throughout their lifespan. Check it out here!

January 28, 2010

Adoption Orientation in Montgomery

You can change the life of an Alabama child

This orientation is for those of you who would like to gain more information regarding adoption and also for those of you who are ready to begin the process. You are welcome to stay afterwards and ask specific questions and take a look at pictures/biographies of some of the Alabama children who are free for adoption and currently awaiting forever families.
Open your heart & home

You are cordially invited to the
Adoption Orientation
Monday, February 8, 2010

First Assembly of God
135 Bell Road, Montgomery AL 36117

Contact Jill Sexton @ 334-409-9477 or
for more information


Currently, there are more than 270 children in foster care in Alabama who are awaiting a loving and caring adoptive home. Many have never felt the warmth and joy that comes from a forever family. Most have been placed in agency custody due to parental neglect or physical abuse. The good news is that the lives of these children can be brightened forever by just one person - YOU!

APAC is a collaborative effort between Children’s Aid Society
and the Department of Human Resources
to provide education and support to Alabama's adoptive families.

January 27, 2010

Parenting Your Adopted School-Age Child

This article is in the same format as the article on "Parenting Your Adopted Teen" except it is all about parenting children ages 6-12. The article discusses typical developmental tasks of children in this age group and how adoption can impact these developmental tasks. Check it out here!

January 25, 2010

Parenting Your Adopted Teen

Parenting is hard...parenting teens is harder...parenting teens who have been adopted adds another layer of confusion for adoptive parents. This is a great article with information on how your teen is developing and the impact of adoption, how to communicate with your teen, how to discipline, how to prepare your teen for adulthood and so much more. If you are a parent of an adopted teenager, or if you ever will have a teenager :) check it out here!

January 21, 2010

Orphans in Haiti

I have heard a lot of talk about adopting from Haiti since the earthquake. There is a lot of confusion in the general population about international adoptions anyway, so there is GREAT confusion now when the media is showing pictures of so many orphans. People want to help out and are confused about the best way to do so. This article does a great job explaining exactly what is going on with the orphans in Haiti and discusses the best way to help them. Check it out here.