What an exciting time in the world of adoption. There is so much new research, creative ideas and new innovative approaches for children and adults on adoption permanency journeys together with their original and adopted families. A stronger sense of ‘belonging’ for children and adults continues to emerge. Listening to their voices and living experiences is generating new ideas on Family MATTERS.
As I commence my role as Executive Director of the ACO, I begin by thanking the children and adults who are living in challenging journeys for trusting me over many decades and sharing their lives, stories and experiences with me. As mentors and therapists, we are seen as the “expert” and intervene often when life is challenging. However, I am not sure that the individuals we help, realize the enormity of what we, the professionals, can and do learn from them, as well as the richness and importance of what they share.
I have learned that their voices and experiences living in adoption must be heard, acknowledged and viewed through a lens that is personally attuned to who they are and what they truly need. In adoption permanency journeys, we as professionals need to be open to learn and understand what living experience in adoption really means. The ACO has social workers that are engaged with children and families from the moment they begin their journey.
We have learned that as the core concepts of adoption emerge and recycle over time, many myths and stereotypes are slowly peeling away. Truth and openness are important in adoption. Adopted children and adults can know their histories and whatever they are, they can be healed. Knowing this truth is a foundation on which to build a sense of identity.
We have learned that Family MATTERS. In adoption permanency journeys there are the original parents and kinship family, as well as the adoptive family. Each matters in different and important ways.
Many children are asking for and need a sense of family and permanence, causing adoption protocols to change dramatically over time. As transition occurs, parenting families need guidance. The role and importance of original/birth families may also be impacted. The ACO knows this and provides programs to support families and professionals.
Adoption is a life long journey for those who are living that experience. The core issues of adoption weave their tapestry through their lives and the sense of being cared for and listened to ensures that no child or adult feels alone or alienated. We provide them the safety and security they need.
I joined the ACO team because the members of this organization are listeners and learners. They are individuals who believe that there are no obstacles too big when it comes to supporting children, supporting the families of children and being a caring village. I am excited by the many opportunities that exist in the adoption world. Family MATTERS and together with our partners we can implement meaningful change.
Dianne Mathes R.S.W.
Executive Director, ACO