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COMMUNITY STATEMENTS

(September 2022)  As the Supreme Court prepares to review the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) this fall via Brackeen v. Haaland, MN ADOPT stands strongly in support of upholding the constitutionality of ICWA. Since 1978, ICWA has provided protections for Native American children with regard to forced separation from their families, Native nations, and Indigenous culture. Today, Native American children continue to be placed into foster care at a disproportionately high rate, making the protections created through ICWA as important now as they were when the law was enacted.

Over the coming weeks, we will share more information and perspectives about the historical context and importance of ICWA, as well as considerations for today’s child welfare landscape.

(June 2022)  In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding reproductive health access, as an organization that provides support and education to the adoption, foster care and kinship communities, we feel it is necessary to acknowledge how the nuances and rhetoric around this divisive topic are impacting these communities.

No matter your personal reaction and opinion regarding the recent Supreme Court decision, it can be helpful to be able to hold space for the multitude of feelings and reactions that may be experienced by members of the adoption constellation (adopted persons, first parents, adoptive parents, etc.). Some of the common themes expressed particularly by adopted persons and first parents have been:

  • Adopted persons – are we holding space for the impact of their experiences with abandonment, ambiguous loss, expectations of gratefulness, identity formation, the dehumanization that can happen when discussing issues like the costs involved with adoption, adoption being viewed as the alternative to abortion, and the trauma and loss inherent in adoption?
  • First parents – are we prioritizing family preservation and equitable access to resources; efforts to maintain connections between the child and their first families and relatives; being responsive to the impact on BIPOC, lower-income, and LGBTQ+ communities; holding space for the lifelong impact of voluntarily or involuntarily relinquishing their child; and dehumanization that can occur when viewing first parents one-dimensionally as the person who birthed the child as opposed to an important person in the child’s life?

It is also important to acknowledge the ongoing reform needed within the child welfare and adoption systems that is child-centered, trauma informed, and culturally-aware and focuses on more adequately preparing caregivers for the realities of adoption and parenting a child who has experienced trauma. Children and caregivers also need to be provided with ongoing specialized support and learning opportunities after finalization.

Our hope in considering these perspectives is that this will encourage awareness, conversation and increased understanding around the complexities of this issue and strengthen connections within adoptive, foster and kinship families.


(June 2022)  May was a time to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage, and to pay tribute to the impact and contributions that these communities have had on our country. Now that this time of celebration has passed, we feel it is also important to recognize the challenges that Asian Americans are experiencing – most notably the disturbing trend of anti-Asian hate crimes, which saw a dramatic 339% increase in 2021.

As an organization that supports the adoption community, we would also like to acknowledge the intersectionality of anti-Asian hate and the experience of Asian adoptees, along with the very unique needs and challenges inherent in transracial and intercountry adoption. As incidents of violence against Asians has increased, the Asian adoptee community has been particularly vocal about the complexities of the impact of anti-Asian hate on adoptees. In the wake of these horrifying and heartbreaking incidents, many Asian adoptees have been faced with the challenge of not being fully accepted within AAPI communities and not receiving the understanding or support they need from their adoptive families- leaving many Asian adoptees to feel very alone and “othered” as they grapple with how to process AAPI hate in the context of adoption.

The resources included below provide opportunities to learn more about the impact of anti-Asian hate crimes on transracial adoptees.

https://stopaapihate.org/

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-04-16/asian-adoptees-and-their-experiences

https://www.npr.org/2021/03/27/981269559/am-i-asian-enough-adoptees-struggle-to-make-sense-of-spike-in-anti-asian-violenc

https://www.yahoo.com/video/asian-adoptees-raised-in-the-us-describe-the-challenges-of-forging-a-racial-identity-200205665.html

https://mineinchina.com/2021/04/09/what-im-reading-23-stop-aapi-hate-edition/


(May 2022)  All of us at MN ADOPT are deeply saddened by the tragic murder of Eli Hart.  As the investigation unfolds, we grieve with his friends, family and loved ones; our kinship and foster families; and child welfare communities as we all struggle to understand how this could have happened and how to move forward.  MN ADOPT is here to support our communities with a listening ear and tailored resources if you choose to reach out during this difficult time.

HELP Program https://www.mnadopt.org/help_program_overview/

612-746-5137 or HELP-program@mnadopt.org


(May 2022)  The shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, TX is beyond horrific. Nineteen kids, two teachers, and another 17 people wounded. It was an event that is every parent and educator’s nightmare. No matter how many shooter drills we put our country’s kids through, we can’t drop our kids off at school and know they will be safe. Words fall empty. Sometimes, all we can do is hold our kids close.

Almost all our staff at MN ADOPT are parents, and this touches our community from multiple avenues. This week we are here with you, as you are a person with children in your life and heart. We are right there alongside you, holding our kids close, trying to find the words for ourselves, let alone our children and youth.

We’ve included some resources below about how to talk to children about school shootings and other violent events. May the upcoming long weekend be restful as it can be for you and your families. Please be gentle with yourself.

RESOURCES
Talking to Children About Terrorist Attacks and School and Community Shootings:
https://www.schoolcrisiscenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Guidelines-Talking-to-Kids-About-Attacks-Two-Sided-Onesheet-Format.pdf

Podcast: How to Teach Our Children Emotional Resilience with Dr. Becky Kennedy: https://www.goodinside.com/podcast/3213/sharon-says-so-how-to-teach-our-children-emotional-resilience-with-dr-becky-kennedy/

APA Resources for Coping with Mass Shootings, Understanding Gun Violence: https://www.apa.org/topics/gun-violence-crime/mass-shooting-resources

Sesame Street Community and Gun Violence: https://sesamestreetincommunities.org/subtopics/community-gun-violence/

What to Say to Kids About School Shootings to Ease Their Stress: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/05/26/1101306073/what-to-say-to-kids-about-school-shootings-to-ease-their-stress

Make your voice heard by contacting your senators: https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm


(May 2022)  MN ADOPT denounces the white supremacist terrorism attack in Buffalo, NY that took 10 innocent Black lives. We mourn with all who have been impacted by this horrific act of hate.

The information that has been released so far shows this was a targeted act of racial violence against the Black community. Black Americans should not have to live with the fear that their own life or the life of a loved one could be taken by simply shopping at a grocery store, driving a car, or sleeping in their own bed.

We know in order for this reality to change, we must all take up the commitment to dismantling white supremacy on individual, local, and national levels. We recognize that acts of violence such as this will never end if we, as a collective, do not take up the commitment to changing systems of oppression in our society that breed white supremacist thinking and violent behavior. We recognize the urgency and vastness of this task and continue to devote ourselves to the pursuit of equity and peace for all.

As part of our commitment to adoptive, foster, and kinship families, we have compiled resources and education to aid in family conversations around this particular topic.

Resources on racialized violence:

  1. https://mailchi.mp/embrace…/may-2022-general-newsletter…
  2. https://centerracialjustice.org/…/resources-for…/
  3. https://www.childtrends.org/…/resources-to-support…
  4. https://childmind.org/…/racism-and-violence-how-to…/…

 


(February 2022)  Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott wrote a letter directing the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate “gender transitioning procedures” as child abuse.

MN ADOPT denounces the notion that loving and supporting a transgender child is abuse. In fact, supporting a queer and/or trans youth decreases the chance of the youth attempting suicide by almost 40%. It is imperative that parents and caregivers continue to educate themselves and support their children and youth, wherever they are in their journeys. Governor Abbott directing DFPS, nurses, teachers, and other mandated reporters to treat this as child abuse goes against what social services stand for. We know what child abuse actually looks like, and it is harmful to compare or conflate these experiences with being trans or gender nonconforming.

While MN ADOPT is deeply concerned about the directive in Texas, these trends are not isolated to Texan state lines. We are concerned about the many anti-trans messages our youth are receiving from many parts of our current society and the media.

Studies have found that about 30% of youth in foster care identify as LGBTQ+. These youth, and all youth, deserve affirming care and deserve to be loved and celebrated for who they are.

The Trevor Project suicide hotline: 1-866-488-7386

More about The Trevor Project: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

Research around hormone therapy and suicide risk:
https://www.thetrevorproject.org/…/new-study-finds…/

CORE Right Time video: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression https://www.mnadopt.org/…/Module-6-CORE_SOGIE_20190405…

Resources for Parents of Transgender Youth:
http://www.transyouthequality.org/for-parents
https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/lgbtqyouth.pdf

Research around the importance of affirming policies:
https://www.childtrends.org/…/anti-lgbtq-policy… https://www.childtrends.org/…/policies-that…

Best practices for working with LGBTQ+ youth:
https://www.mnadopt.org/wp…/uploads/2020/08/10-LGBTQi.pdf


(February 2022)  Black History Month: The Black Lives Matter Movement

Black Lives Matter is a movement and call to action that began as a love letter from a heartbroken Black woman, Alicia Garza, to the Black community: “black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter.” It has since served as the battle cry of a community that has had enough. It is a reminder that, even though they are constantly shown otherwise—Black lives DO matter and SHOULD matter.

There has been a great deal of misunderstanding and misinformation surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement since its inception in 2013, and the name itself has become a powerful and polarizing force amidst the assertions that “ALL Lives Matter.” The reality is that all lives should matter, however, throughout our nation’s history—Black lives have always been viewed as inferior or lesser than.

Black Lives Matter has never been about Black lives mattering more than non-Black lives. It has always been about the need for Black lives to matter as much as non-Black lives.

The movement also centers around the Black lives that have been lost due to the actions of police or while in police custody and calls for widespread criminal justice and systemic reform.

Though issues of race, racism, and racialized violence have become highly politicized throughout the years, it is important to understand that these are not political issues—these are issues of humanity.

It is important for everyone, especially parents of BIPOC and non-BIPOC children, to understand what the Black Lives Matter movement is truly about. The movement itself requires that non-Black people step outside of their comfort zones in an effort to educate themselves and grow in their understanding of why this movement needs to exist. In doing so, the hope is that there will be a greater and more widespread acknowledgment of the trauma within the Black community that has been passed down through generations of Black Americans and an increased desire to learn how we can support and walk alongside the Black community as they work to heal and continue to fight for survival, justice, equity, and equality within this country.

Learn more about Black Lives Matter:


(February 2022)  During a month in which we honor the Black community and raise awareness of their history and the adversities generations of Black Americans have had to navigate—we would be remiss to not acknowledge the heartbreaking realities their community has had to face in this country for decades, and especially in recent years.

Jahmari Rice, Amir Locke, and Deshaun Hill are just three of the young Black lives lost to senseless acts of violence in Minnesota within the past few weeks. They, along with others in the Black community whose lives have been taken far too soon, should all be alive today. Yet here we are, as we have countless times throughout the years—saying their names as we mourn their deaths and hold their loved ones in our hearts.

It can be difficult to know how to talk to children and teens about these tragedies when they occur—especially when we struggle to make sense of it ourselves. Included below are a few resources to help parents mindfully and meaningfully engage in these discussions with their children and teens.

Please click on the link below to read the full statement from MN ADOPT and access additional resources:

https://www.mnadopt.org/resources/on-race-racism/statement/

(April 2021) Within an hour of the historic verdict finding Derek Chauvin guilty on all 3 counts, we learned as a community that Ma’Khia Bryant, a Black 16-year-old girl who was living in foster-care under the guardianship of the State of Ohio, was fatally shot four-times in the chest by police during a fight.

We are disappointed that law enforcement called to the scene were unable to effectively de-escalate those involved and turned to lethal force as a response.

As professionals supporting adoptive, foster and kinship families across Minnesota, we are aware of the fear that many of our families face when needing to call police to intervene when safety concerns are present.

We are also attuned to the additional layers of loss, trauma, and survival for Ma’Khia and everyone involved in her life.

We stand in solidarity with Ma’Khia’s loved ones, and all who are shaken yet again, by another senseless death of a member of the Black community.


(April 2021) At MN ADOPT, we are relieved by the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial, but we also acknowledge that there is no verdict that can undo the loss of life, and our hearts remain with Mr. Floyd’s family, loved ones, and community as they continue to mourn the loss of his presence each and every day.

There is a long journey ahead of us as our country and community must continue to dismantle the structural and systemic racism that negatively impacts members of our BIPOC communities on a daily basis.

We remain committed to being a part of the solution – to challenging ourselves, our community, and our systems to do and be better.

(April 2021) As our community continues to grapple with the death of George Floyd nearly a year ago, we are saddened by yet another senseless and tragic death of a Black man in our community.  We stand in solidarity with Daunte Wright’s family, his loved ones, and members of the community who are hurting right now.


(March 2021) At MN ADOPT, we are horrified by the recent violence in our country, including the shooting in Atlanta that resulted in the death of six Asian American women. This violence has occurred against a backdrop of a country that has seen a dramatic increase in anti-Asian hate crimes and rhetoric, leaving many in our community feeling a lack of safety and belonging.

We feel it is important to also recognize the complexities for our adoption, foster and kinship communities. As an organization that employs, serves, and advocates for members of the AAPI community, we stand in solidarity and support and challenge ourselves and each of you to learn and do more. The below links provide information, safety tips, and ideas for how you can help.

https://stopaapihate.org/actnow/

https://anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co/

(May 2020) At MN ADOPT, the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 has left us angry, frustrated and deeply saddened. As our community is once again confronted with the death of an unarmed black man, we feel for his family, friends and community, and we struggle with the senselessness of his death and grieve that he should be alive today.

As human beings who care about our neighbors and community members, we must demand better. Better from our leaders, our systems, ourselves, and each other. We need to stand together to fight the systematic inequities and discrimination that lead to senseless loss of life, disproportionate numbers of families and children of color in the child welfare system, and inequities the impact the daily lives of communities of color.

We are committed to providing the support, tools and resources needed during this difficult time. As you or those you care about may grapple with questions, fears, and uncertainties, below are some resources that may be helpful.

Resources:

MN ADOPT HELP Program – free support service connecting Minnesota’s adoptive, foster and kinship families to specialized therapeutic services and resources.

https://www.mnadopt.org/help-prog/

612-746-5137; help@mnadopt.org

NACAC – Minnesota’s Adoptive, Foster, Kinship Connections Support

Main page: https://www.nacac.org/…/support-for-minnesota-adoptive…/

Calendar of all online support groups across MN: https://calendar.google.com/calendar/embed?src=mnasncalendar@gmail.com

They offer twice monthly groups focused on transracial adoption support for both parents/caregivers & youth:

  • Embracing Race in Transracial Families parent groups with Deb Reisner and Sally Ankerfelt
  • Virtual Hang Time for teenagers led by Jerome Brown and other mentors.

Center for Racial Justice in Education

Resources for Talking About Race, Racism and Racialized Violence with Kids:

https://centerracialjustice.org/…/resources-for…/

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