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Ask the expert: Trauma-informed care

The back of a little girl wearing a white shirt with black dots. There are a lot of pink flowers in the background.

Rebekah Craig, former Education Manager at the Belonging Network, sat down with Registered Clinical Counsellor Carrie DeJong to discuss trauma-informed care. You can also view the full video of the interview here. Why it is important to consider someone’s past that may have had exposure to trauma? Trauma produces a lot of emotional, behavioural, or […]

Adoptees and suicide risk

A teenage girl with pink hair and a sad expression is sitting on gray stone stairs.

Adoptees are four times more likely to attempt suicide than non-adoptees. There’s no easy way to talk about this topic, but talk about it we must. As the adoptive mom of four young adults — two sons adopted as babies and twin daughters adopted at 6 years old — I know what joy adoption can […]

Mindfulness for youth: A modern take on meditation

A male teenage boy meditating near a pond surrounded by greenery

Why mindfulness? Mindfulness has become a buzzword that’s as likely to be heard in the business world as in a yoga studio, but what is it? Simply put, mindfulness is a type of meditation that focuses on being present in the moment without judgement, regardless of what is happening. Mindfulness meditation comes from Buddhist teachings […]

Somatic therapy: A new approach to adoption trauma

A pebble tower on a rocky beach.

For more than 25 years, Catherine has worked in and with the adoption community as a therapist, an adoptee, and an adoptive mom, always searching for a truly effective approach to adoption therapy. In this article, she explains an approach that she’s found to be highly effective for issues related to adoption trauma. The lasting […]

Shame and the adopted child

A blond kid, wearing a yellow T-shirt and jeans, is playing on the sand with a yellow and red truck.

Catherine is the co-founder of the non-profit organization We Are Adopted/Adoptees Association. In this article she draws on her personal experience as an adoptee and an adoptive mother as well as her professional experience as a registered clinical counsellor to explain why shame and adoption are so intertwined. Shadowed by shame Shame is something that […]

Depression in adopted teens: What families need to know

A sad hispanic teenage boy with his hands on his head.

Only 20% of depressed teens ever receive help, yet over 80% of people who are treated feel better as a result. Parenting teenagers can often trigger your own memories of growing up and the roller coaster ride of emotions, drama, unpredictability, and the need to fit in. You may be realizing that being a teenager […]

Navigating anxiety

A young woman is holding his face with her hands. She seems to have anxiety or depression.

I have always been anxious. I didn’t recognize it until my mid 30s, when I went through full-blown, severe anxiety and depression. After months of hell, I saw the pain as the message it was: “you need to change.” During a lengthy process of growth and learning, I looked back and saw the patterns of […]

Help your child: Focus on strengths

A blond kid, wearing a yellow T-shirt and jeans, is playing on the sand with a yellow and red truck.

Tara Webber, Registered Clinical Counsellor and adoptive mom, provides her tips on building a struggling child’s self-esteem. If you ask children what they do well, there is usually a long pause as they search for an answer. Ask them what they don’t do well, and they have an instant list. When I was working as […]

When emotional development is delayed

Young girl with black hair in tears, seated on a bed

Your adopted child’s early life experiences may have caused a delay in their emotional development. Child and family counsellor and behav­iourist, Carol Olafson, explains how paying attention to emotional development can help you and your child. Emotional development is thought to be one of the most important factors in individuals being able to function well […]

Helping children cope with and understand abandonment

A young boy with brown hair gazes out the window, appearing lonely and sad.

We know that the stress of  growing within a mother who is considering whether she will be able to raise the child she is carrying affects the developing brain of the fetus. Primed to connect on an unmistakably profound level at birth, the newborn or older baby or child, regardless of the excellence of the care […]

Developing brains: Building attachment in adopted children

Parent and child holding hands up close

Trauma and brain development The brain develops from the inside out. A newborn’s brain has about 100 billion cells. At birth, the primitive brain, called the brainstem, is sufficiently developed to insure that vital functions can be maintained independently for a short period. Baby can breathe, the heart beats, the body temperature self-regulates, reflexes are […]