“Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does.
So, what are we, helpless? Puppets? Nah. The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's
when you find out who you are." - Joss Whedon

Monday, December 1, 2008

Janelle's FSA November Conference Presentation

Parenting Adopted Children

Parenting and adoption can be complicated topics by themselves,--- however, place the two together and you might have all kinds of new and different complications you never expected. ---Some examples might be…

*Facing the issues around an open adoption or closed.
*Communications with birthparents.
*Emotional questions such as “Who is my birthmother? Why did they give me up? Will I ever meet them.”
*Physical differences between parent and child especially if there are racial differences.
*Addressing issues of grief and loss.

These issues fall under three categories I call the 3 C’s…


Communication is one of the most effective means of establishing good communication in a family is to always display a willingness to listen. Being attentive and not interrupting when a spouse or child talks about his or her thoughts, ideas and feelings tells the person that what is being said is of value and interest to you. Children, particularly, develop a sense of self worth and trust when a parent takes the time to pay attention to their words.

By having an open line of communication you will be able to talk about those sensitive issues that surround adoption.

How do you develop an open line of communication?

*Hold Family & most importantly individual council.

Robert D. Hales said, “…we should regularly counsel with each of our children individually. Without this one-on-one counseling together with our children, they are prone to believe that we, don’t understand or care about the challenges they are facing.”

*Create meaningful bonds

It is so important to have one on one time with each of your children. Each parent should schedule a little time for each child. Take time to participate in activities that they enjoy.

Russell M Ballard also said, “Create meaningful family bonds that give your children an identity stronger than what they can find with their peer group or at school or anyplace else. This can be done through family traditions for birthdays, for holidays, for dinnertime, and for Sundays. It can also be done through family policies and rules with natural and well-understood consequences.”

*Be willing to talk about the uncomfortable.

We have to be willing to talk about difficult topics, such as: who are my birth parents, will I ever meet them, why did they give me away. Decide ahead of time how you are going to handle these questions so you are better prepared when they are asked.

Creating a lifebook for your child is one way to share their adoption story with them. A lifebook is a collection of words, photos, graphics, memorabilia that creates a life record of the child who was adopted. It is a simple, truthful story written through the eyes of the child. It starts from the moment you were matched, communication with the birth family, the hospital, coming home, finalization, sealing and their blessing.

Lifebooks can be for anyone, biological, adoptive and foster. It gives a child a sense of who they are. It answers those questions that often grow from the unknown. A great resource is a book titled , “Lifebooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child” by Beth O’Malley.


All children have emotional struggles. Adoptive children may face different struggles that stem from their adoption. Feelings of abandonment, hurt and neglect might come into play. Being able to recognize the root of their feelings may help how we can help them.

Because many of our children will never have contact with their birth families, we must teach them to live with the loss and ambivalence that are normal in adoption. These are tough feelings to tolerate; and some children may feel helpless and powerless. They may redirect these feelings and lash out at the ones that love them, their adoptive parents.

Show them that no matter what they do they cannot make you love them less. We need to be able to offer a hug and genuine love to our children.


A consistent parent gives the child a gift of always knowing what to expect. Neither, the rules, nor the consequences change daily.

*Be consistent in your behavior as parents

Immature behavior from a parent will instill fear in a child; versus calm controlled behavior will instill respect.

*Be consistent in your daily schedules

Consistent schedules breeds calm kids. Children thrive on routines if they are consistent.

*Be consistent in your discipline & consequences.

Discipline is about teaching children to make their own decisions as they become able to do so. Discipline also involves giving a child ownership of his or her problems and helping them to determine solutions to these problems that will leave both dignity and self esteem intact.

Make sure that everyone understands the rules and consequences. Then be prepared to follow through with them. Don’t set consequences that you are not willing to do. And be prepared to follow through no matter what; temper tantrums, store fits etc.

*Be consistent in how you treat your children.

It is so important to show equality to your children in how they are treated, how much time you spend with them, how the rules are applied. You don’t want your children to think that their parents have favorites.

(1) “Lifebooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child” by Beth O’Malley. That encourages adoptive parents create lifebook for their children.

Info from Melissa's Presentation on Being Adopted from the November 2008 Conference

Hello my name is Melissa Fannin! One of my sayings in life is I was adopted and proud of it! Being adopted is awesome! My theory on adoption is simple. Us, adopted kids, have six parents: Our Heavenly Parents, Our Birth – Parents, and my parents. With all these people we have so much extra love than the people with only four. I grew up always knowing that I was adopted. In my opinion EVERY child needs to grow up with this knowledge. Seriously, if you don’t tell them it will ruin your relationship with your child. Plus, they won’t get out of those genetic science assignments. Growing up adopted was cool. I’m just a normal person. Every child has to come to terms with adoption. So while coming to terms with being adopted I had this blanket give and made by my birth mother which says made with love! I was also recently given a ring that my birth mother gave to me with a heart that says you’re in my heart. These gifts helped me through times where I felt unloved or unwanted. These gifts always remind me of how much I am extra loved. I wear my ring on a chain everyday since I received it and I sleep with the blanket every night and I make sure that the made with love corner is right by my heart. When other people found out I was adopted they didn’t understand it at all. I sometimes wonder how come they don’t get it. It used to bother me when friends at school would find out because they didn’t understand what I understood. They didn’t know that adoption means just an extra bundle of love. They would make me feel like an outsider or something. But, as I grew up I started to feel sorry for them because they didn’t understand that adoption is amazingly AWESOME! Sometimes I would feel like I was the only one is the whole world that was adopted but, then I would meet other kids my age who were too. We instantly feel this amazing connection it is like we are members of a select exclusive club. This past summer I learned my roommate at EFY was adopted too and we just totally hit it off and had a lot of the same opinions about being adopted. We also had grown up with similar experiences. It was really great being able to relate with someone on that level. While going through understanding adoption I came across this song which really helped me comprehend adoption. Its called "You are Loved" by Josh Groban and he has an amazing voice so you should listen to it on my blog (http://adopted-and-proud-of-it.blogspot.com). I just want to express how thankful I am for my birth mother I know that she still loves me and cares for me and that is why she gave me to my parents. She gave me the most precious gift of life and she gave me my amazing parents! There isn’t a day where I am unthankful for her sacrifice. It reminds me of the scripture in John 3 :15. She loved me so much that she gave me to my parents! To close I’d like to read this Poem and I thought it was pretty fantastic. The name of it is Legacy of an Adopted Child.

Once there were two women who never each other.
One you do not remember, the other you call Mother.
Two different lives, shaped to make you one.
One became a guiding star; the other became your sun.
The first gave you life and the second taught you to live in it.
One gave you nationality; the other gave you a name.
One gave you a seed of talent; the other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions; the other calmed your fears.
One gave you up…it was all that she could do.
The other prayed for a child and God led her straight to you.
And now you ask, through your fears.
The age old questions, unanswered through the years.
Heredity or environment…which are you the product of…

Neither my darling…neither.
Just two special kinds of love.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jessica's Handout from her November 2008 FSA Presentation

Talking with your child about adoption:

Have FAITH in your relationship with your child. You need to have a conviction and a testimony that adoption is not second best or the best you can do – it is the way that God brought children to your family. How your child feels about being adopted begins with you!

Do not take it personally, it is NOT about you!

Make and be OPEN to opportunities to talk about adoption.

Go at your child’s pace.

In order for your child to completely love and accept themselves (birth families, adoptive families and all), WE MUST!

Children’s Books about adoption that we have used:
*How I Was Adopted, by Joanna Cole (**my favorite!)
*Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born, by Jamie Lee Curtis
*Happy Adoption Day, by John McCutcheon
*The Day We Met You, by Phoebe Koehler

Other children’s books I searched on Amazon.com that looked good:
*Forever Fingerprints: An Amazing Discovery for Adopted Children, by Sherrie Eldridge
*I Don’t Have Your Eyes, by Carrie A. Kitze

Books about adoption for parents:
*Talking with Young Children about Adoption, by Mary Watkins and Susan Fisher (*highly recommend*)
*Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew, by Sherrie Eldridge
*For the Love of a Child The Journey of Adoption, by Monica Blume and Gideon Burton
*From God’s Arms to my Arms to Yours, by Michael McLean

Children’s books about race we have used (mostly for African American):

*The Colors of Us, by Karen Katz (**excellent, for any race!)
*Whose Toes Are Those?, by Jabari Asim (good for any race)
*I Love My Hair!, by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
*Shades of Black, by Sandra L. Pinkney
*I’m Like You, You’re Like Me, by Cindy Gainer (understanding differences and seeing our similarities)

Books about race for parents:

*I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race-Conscious World, by Marguerite A. Wright (**excellent!, good for parents, teachers, social workers)

Handout put together by Jessica Lothyan (jlothyan10@hotmail.com) and presented at the Families Supporting Adoption Seattle WA Chapter Adoption Annual Event

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

November Adoption Month Event

The FSA event was a great success. It was nice to meet many of you and to learn more about one another our adoption connection. Your willingness to participate is greatly appreciated and facilitates the growth and positive image of adoption. (And a special thanks to the 2 young men from Renton who gave generously of their time to provide a children's room). Notes from each presenter will be added to our blog as they are received. We will look forward to seeing you all again next November in Celebration of Adoption Month!

Annual Temple Trip and Potluck

2:00pm Welcome: (appetizers)
2:30pm Keynote Speaker: Growing Up Adopted
3:00pm Adoption Stories -- How Will I Know?
3:30pm Raising an Adopted Child
4:00pm Birth Parent Presentation -- Helping Your Birth Parent Heal
5:00pm Potluck Dinner
6:30pm Assembly Room Meeting -- Seattle Temple
7:00 Endowment Session

Speakers included:

Melissa F. (and her parents): "Growing Up Adopted"

Nicholle J.: “Helping them know about the richness of their adoption while parenting adopted children.” REAL life parenting.

Janelle F. : “How to support your child through misperceptions they may feel throughout their life and general parenting skills.”

Jessica L.: “Now They Are Here…What’s Next?” Including some information regarding children of different ethnic/racial backgrounds.

Birth Mother Panel

Saturday, October 25, 2008

1. First Hand - Intro and Background


Lincoln and I (Megan) are just beginning the adoption process. Each new step brings us into new and unfamiliar territory. We are people who are fairly comfortable in new settings and circumstances, however, knowing where the next step will take us and what we will be asked to do when we get there, would be nice. To that end, I thought it would be interesting (and maybe helpful) to other couples starting down their road to adoption to hear about the major landmarks along the trail.

So, as we move from one step to the next, I will write a short article about the sight, smells and sounds on that leg of the journey from our perspective. Come along for the ride. The view from our backseat is sure to differ from that of your own captain’s chair, but at least it won’t be the first time you’ve see this twisty canyon road.

A bit of background.

Link and I have one biological son. He is a year old. We have always wanted several children, fairly close in age. When we learned that it would not be safe for us to have any more children “the old fashioned way.” We knew instantly that adoption was the way for us to go.
Link’s brother has adopted two children, whom we love dearly (along with their one biological child.) Adoption has been a great blessing to them, and we have been privileged to be a part of that. Link’s family, obviously, has a tremendous appreciation and understanding of adoption.
Two of my father’s cousins have also adopted children. They were both place with severely emotionally and mentally disturbed children, unbeknownst to them at the time. (I should mention that they were both international adoptions.) These parents do love their children, however, they were not prepared for these trials. The agencies neither disclosed possible problems, nor offered any post adoption support. Naturally, these being the only two first hand experience my family has had with adoption, they are a bit leery. They are supportive, but cautious.

That is where we started, lucky to not feel alone in our desire to adopt, but with one side of the family unnaturally concerned about our decision.

Note: I will tag each of these articles "first hand". They will also be numbered, chronologically.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Shout Out from Alison (our National FSA Rep)

Sign up on the new National FSA website. Be apart of the largest volunteer advocacy group for adoption! If we don't keep the option of adoption alive and well... who will? Go Go Adoption!

Even if you signed up on this site before you'll need to sign in as a 'new user'. Come join! The more the merrier!


Share it with anyone you know that is a member of the LDS church that has adopted!

PS -- The first time, you have to go to the link on the right that says "Sign up for FSA Membership". You enter your basic info and set up a log in and password. Then you will have access to a lot of valuable adoption information. (I tried to log in using Mozilla and it would not work, so for increased website function, I would suggest using Internet Explorer).

You Tube Birth Mom Video

This video was made by a birth mother in Oregon. It is quite touching to watch the adoption process through her eyes.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Glimpse into Our Trans-Racial Adoption Experience

This was posted on the Co-Chair Yahoo Group. I found it very insightful and asked Rebecca if I could share it with all of you. She speaks briefly about her perspective on their trans-racial adoption experience.

We have 3 children who are adopted- 2 boys and a girl. Our daughter is Caucasian/African American although most people think she is Samoan. Our second son is actually a biological half sibling with her but is full Caucasian. When people ask questions about “where we got her from?” they are very surprised and always say they would have guessed our two boys were biologically related not our 2nd son and daughter. Immediately after adopting our daughter we also began receiving a lot of attention in public. Except for occasional times, we enjoy discussing adoption and it is a very positive conversation. One of those times, a particular woman who wasn’t very sensitive in the way she asked questions got a reply that “Of course they were all mine, they just have different fathers.” :) At a very young age, about 3, our daughter began noticing that she “looked different than us.” She has been aware but OK with it. Now, in kindergarten, she is even more aware of it. I could chalk this up to being a mom that is extra sensitive about my baby girl starting school, but the first day of kindergarten she sat down at a table next to three blue-eyed blond-haired little girls and they not only totally ignored her but picked up their toys and moved away from her to another table. She was hurt but I just quickly moved her to another table with more racially mixed little girls and they have been great friends ever since.

We were always very conservative when it came to marking our acceptance of racial/ethnic backgrounds in our adoption paperwork, but when contacted about our daughter had no hesitation at all in saying yes. She is a joy and any “comments” or “issues” we face have been eye opening for us and strengthened the bonds of our eternal family. Overall, we have found it easier and more smooth than anticipated.

As for counsel, I would just suggest that couples be aware and prepared with responses for situations that are bound to occur so they can protect their children and reduce the potential negative affects. Also, be aware of special needs for them such as for their skin and hair. It took us a little while to become aware of that but we were comfortable talking to strangers to get answers. Also, try to find a few children who they feel are “like them” as friends.

Resources- People- Other adoptive families who have adopted trans-racially, as well as those that are the race of your child.

Adoption Story book- A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza

I hope this quick response is helpful. Feel free to contact us with any other questions.


Rebecca & Todd Harrison
Executive Co-Chairs, Oregon FSA Chapter

Friday, September 5, 2008

Any ideas or Suggestions?

The FSA board is working on the plans for the November 22nd activity. We reviewed the helpful comments and feedback of those who attended the Regional Conference and are soliciting more ideas as far as topics to cover for the November mini-conference. The plan is to have some presenters and likely another birth parent panel before the potluck. Then we will enjoy a yummy meal and head over to the Bellevue Temple for an assembly room meeting and session. If you did not have a chance to complete an evaluation form or if you just have thoughts to share as far as making the November 22nd FSA event a success, we would love to hear them. Feel free to comment here or email FSA at Families.Supporting.Adoption@gmail.com. Hope you can attend on the 22nd!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Book Review - The Adoption Decision by Laura Christianson

The Adoption Decision - 15 Things You Want to Know Before Adopting
Laura Christianson

This book review will come with a disclaimer that this is the first adoption book I have read, so keep that in mind.

This is a Christian centered book. Christianson refers to it as a:
"how to for the heart"- a guide through the critical heart issues you'll encounter during the adoption process and after you bring home your child. (p. 10)
She starts out with a glossary of adoption terms, something I thought was a great idea, but would have liked to be more extensive.

The first chapter is a guide to communicating with the people around you (friends, family, obnoxious busy bodies) as you begin your adoption journey. She has some excellent suggestions on how to handle a variety of responses and questions that you are likely to field.

Next she deals with the emotions and reactions that both you and others will have once your child arrives home. This was one my my favorite chapters, as I find Chrsitanson's dry reactions to some astonishing comments about her children, very fitting.
I've been married to the same man for 25 years and I can attest that biologically unrelated people possess the capacity to bond.
The most valuable part of the book for me personally was chapter 4, A Labor of Love. I appreciated the Christianson's candor about the home study, about the personal questions you will be asked and expected to answer, and the emotions you will encounter as you qualify the special needs you may or may not be willing to accept in your child.

Other chapter's include dealing with the emotional aspects of infertility (and the insensitivity you may encounter,) a personal perspective on meeting birth parents, and overcoming the trauma of failed placements. She also covers international adoption, adopting children of a different ethnicity than your own, and gives a look into the lives and coping mechanisms of families whose children have severe developmental, emotional, or behavioral challenges.

Throughout the book Christianson gives examples of her topic from the Bible and reminds us of the continual support and love of our Father in Heaven. Some may find this aspect of the book distracting, but she effectively positions these portions of her book in such a way that, if desired, they can be skimmed over without missing any of the information in the chapter.

Again, this is the first adoption related book I have read, so my experience is very limited, however, I found this book useful, uplifting, and a welcome look into the more personal and emotional aspects of adoption that I have been concerned about.

Thank you Laura for a valuable book.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Congratulations to the Hur Family!

They have TWO beautiful new additions to their family.

It is a wonderful story, best told by Sindea. Read about it on their website.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"We conceive a child in our minds and hearts. During the first trimester of our "pregnancy," we prove our parenting fitness to assorted officials. And then we wait. And wait. Like elephants, our gestation period averages about 22 months."

--Laura Christianson The Adoption Decision

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

FSA Conference was a Great Success

Personally, I thought the birth mother/ birth grandmother teams and the birth mother panel were phenomenal. These are amazing women. Women who took a wrong turn, and used that detour to bless the lives of others. Thank you for your insight.

Here are the sporadic photos I took during the conference. I am not attaching names both for privacy reasons, and because I can't remember everyone's names. Naturally, feel free to download photos of you and your family at will.

Please note that the slide show crops the images to a square, but they are not actually cropped that way. Click on the photo that you want to see/download to be taken to the full sized version.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Thank You!

The Regional Conference was sensational! A special thank you to all of those who helped to make it a success. So many of you put in many hours of behind the scenes service. I cannot tell you enough how much your time and talents are appreciated. Here is a list of some of the conference volunteers and their supportive roll in random order.

Lynetta and Duane Clare (Conference Co-Chairs), Amy Frampton (Conference Co-Chair), Greg (Amy's Brother, Hero of the Day and Catering Coordinator), Colleen and Rob Smith (Children's Room), Rachel and Tyler Bailey (Michael McLean Registration), Jill and Johnathan Hart (Information Packets), Andrew and Janetta Boone (Conference Food/Building Coordination), Gary Yukish (Technical Support), Dawn Zorer (Gift Bags), Denise Gardner (Registration and Donations), Megan and Lincoln Wright (Name Tags and Set Up), Sindea Upton-Rowley (Registration), Geoff Upton- Rowley (Medical On Call and Set Up), Gwenn (Registration), Cary and Teresa Deccio, (Door Prizes), Casey Peay (MC and Clean Up), Larissa Peay (Conference Planning Committee), Susan Price (Hotel Coordinator), Todd and Rebecca Harrison (General Support and Marketing), Ryan and Robin Booth (General Support and Assistance in Children's Room), Nickie Wood (Conference Planning Committee).

And all of you who attended, thank you! I know many of you helped on sight and also participated in the program as speakers and contributed with your touching prayers. Thank you very much! I hope I am not forgetting anyone. If so, please comment so we can thank everyone for their contribution.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Conference Schedule


1:00 PM - 1:20 PM Registration

1:20 PM - 1:30 PM Welcome and Song by Diane Burbach

1:30 PM - 2:00 PM The Emotional Rollercoaster of Adoption

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Adoption Options

3:00 PM - 3:15 PM Break

3:15 PM - 4:00 PM Beyond the Basics

3:15 PM - 4:00 PM Have No Fear: Establishing Comfortable Connections

4:10 PM - 5:00 PM Mother Daughter Birth Panel

5:00 PM - 5:15 PM Closing remarks

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Dinner

7:30 PM - 9:00 PM Michael McLean and Awards


9:30 AM - 10:00 AM Registration

10:00 AM - 11:45 AM Welcome, Song by Diane Burbach and SLC Broadcast

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Lunch

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM Conscious Fathering

2:30 PM - 2:45 AM Break

2:45 PM - 3:45 PM Birth mother Panel; Song by Brooke Hughes

3:45 PM - 4:00 PM Close and Door Prizes

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Conference Speaker Highlight - Bernie Dorsey

Bernie Dorsey is the Founder and Program Coordinator of Conscious Fathering, a program of Parent Trust for Washington Children.

Mr. Dorsey will be offering his popular class for today's fathers who are anxious to take an active and early role in parenting.
In 1999, I developed a program to help men be better prepared to meet the challenges of new fatherhood and to parent in partnership with mom. The idea is simple: It is impossible to be a competent partner in caring for a new baby if you know little or nothing about infants. So this program, Conscious Fathering, gives expectant fathers a chance to play a little – and in some cases a lot – of catch up.

In the Conscious Fathering class, the first thing these men learn is that there is only one thing they cannot do, and that’s breastfeed. So for two and a half hours, they learn as much as possible about everything else. We concentrate on the very basics of what their infants need and on how we meet those needs. Every attendee receives a doll, a onesie, sleeper or jumper, a diaper, a washcloth and a receiving blanket to use during the class. During the next couple of hours, he will practice what it takes competently and confidently care for their new baby.
-Bernie Dorsey, VIEWPOINT: Conscious Fathering Skills – and More – for New Dads,Puget Sound Parent, June 2006

Monday, July 14, 2008

One Miracle at A Time - Seattle 2008


Don't miss it! Families Supporting Adoption Conference! August 8th and 9th.

Some of our speakers will include …

  • - The Emotional Rollercoaster of Adoption – Lisa Sharp
  • - Have No Fear: Establishing Comfortable Connections and Relationships with Birth Families – Aura Lee Loveland
  • - Conscious Fathering - Bernie Dorsey, Parent Trust for Washington Children

August 8th

- 1:00 to 5:00 – Adoption Workshops
- 6:00p to 7:00 – Dinner
- 7:30 to 8:30 – Concert featuring Michael McLean (There is no charge for the concert. Due to limited seating, we are requiring separate registration from the conference. Seating starts at 7:00, the concert beginning at 7:30.)

August 9th

- 10:00 to 4:00 – Broadcast from Salt Lake, Lunch, and more adoption workshops. Entertainment by new artist Diane Burbach.

Conference Sessions will be held at the
Bellevue SOUTH Stake Center
(behind the Seattle Temple)
15205 SE 28th St.
Bellevue, WA 98007

Dinner and Performances will be held at the
Bellevue Stake Center
(2 miles north of the Seattle Temple)
14536 Main St.
Bellevue, WA 98014


$30 per person / Michael McLean concert is free


Register now at http://seattlefsa2008.eventbrite.com/
(Please remember that if you register for the conference, you must also register for the Michael McLean concert to insure seating.)

Registration fee due July 24th.

Please mail to: LDS Family Services, Attn. Nickie Wood, 220 S. 3rd Pl., Renton, WA 98057-2405
or call LDS Family Services at (425) 228-0074 to pay with a credit card.


Larissa Peay
Seattle Washington FSA Co-Chair

The greatest trust that can come to a man and woman is to have placed in their keeping the life of a little child. --President David. O. McKay