Adopt Salon Constellation Support Group : Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Adopt Salon Constellation Support Group : Tuesday, March 8, 2022

FREE monthly open support group called ADOPT SALON CONSTELLATION for all members of the Adoption Constellation: First Birthparents, Adoptees, Former Foster Youth, Foster, Adoptive Parents, and Kinship Families. Ages 18 and above.

A place for the Adoption & Foster Care community to come together to share stories, thoughts, feelings, and ideas, receive psycho-education, process grief/loss, and build strong bonds and connections.

The group is facilitated by Adoptions/Foster Care Psychotherapist, adult adoptee Cathy Leckie Koley,  Adoptee and Intern

5 – 7 pm Pacific Time
8-10 pm Eastern Time

Time and place are shown in the Events Calendar. Meetings held virtually via ZOOM until further notice.

Please register below to receive your ZOOM link for the event.


Cathy Leckie Koley BIO:
Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Instructor, Adoptee Speaker/ Writer / Educator. After reuniting with her birth family at age 43, Cathy found herself on an unexpected healing journey related to her own relinquishment. The process included yoga, through which she found significant healing, and a new career path. As a yoga teacher since 2012, Cathy teaches others about the adoptee experience, strategies for unearthing and healing adoption wounds, and mind-body practices that help with adoption-related difficulties. Trained in Trauma-Sensitive in 2014 with Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score, and David Emerson, author of Overcoming Trauma through Yoga. Cathy is currently pursuing an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Adopt Salon Constellation Support Group : Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Adopt Salon Constellation Support Group : Thursday, February 10, 2022

FREE monthly open support group called ADOPT SALON CONSTELLATION for all members of the Adoption Constellation: First Birthparents, Adoptees, Former Foster Youth, Foster, Adoptive Parents, and Kinship Families. Ages 18 and above.

A place for the Adoption & Foster Care community to come together to share stories, thoughts, feelings, and ideas, receive psycho-education, process grief/loss, and build strong bonds and connections.

The group is facilitated by Adoptions/Foster Care Psychotherapist, adult adoptee Cathy Leckie Koley,  Adoptee and Intern

5 – 7 pm Pacific Time
8-10 pm Eastern Time

Time and place are shown in the Events Calendar. Meetings held virtually via ZOOM until further notice.

Please register below to receive your ZOOM link for the event.

Cathy Leckie Koley BIO:
Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Instructor, Adoptee Speaker/ Writer / Educator. After reuniting with her birth family at age 43, Cathy found herself on an unexpected healing journey related to her own relinquishment. The process included yoga, through which she found significant healing, and a new career path. As a yoga teacher since 2012, Cathy teaches others about the adoptee experience, strategies for unearthing and healing adoption wounds, and mind-body practices that help with adoption-related difficulties. Trained in Trauma-Sensitive in 2014 with Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score, and David Emerson, author of Overcoming Trauma through Yoga. Cathy is currently pursuing an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute.

National Adoption Conference – Virtual – November 2020 Organized During a Pandemic!!!

National Adoption Conference – Virtual – November 2020 Organized During a Pandemic!!!

National Adoption Conference was held virtually on WHOVA in 2020

This conference took place on Friday, November 14-15, 2020. Celia Center sponsored this conference and 250 people attended virtually. 

The National Adoption Conference is a groundbreaking two days of education, training, networking and invaluable resources for all members of the adoption and foster care ‘constellation’. Taking full advantage of an entirely ‘virtual’ conference, we will bring you face to face with some of the Nation’s leading experts and visionaries in the field as well as live music, entertainment, coffee talk, Q&A’s, diverse exhibitors and even an art gallery to explore. 

Web access available for all sessions, films, and music for 6 months AFTER the conference through May 13, 2021. PURCHASE ACCESS HERE

This event is for First Birth Mothers and Fathers, Adoptees, Foster Youth Alumni, Foster Parents, Adoptive Parents, Siblings, and Extended Family Members, Social Workers, Psychotherapists, Teachers, and Doctors. 

Full Conference details HERE 


The goals of the conference were threefold:

  • To provide insight, education and resources for people involved in any aspect of the adoption | foster care constellation so that they may find trustworthy and immediate mental, physical or emotional assistance.
  • To begin an on-going and transparent conversation around how this Nation approaches, administers and discusses issues regarding foster care and adoption.
  • To challenge the old and largely inaccurate negative stigmas surrounding foster care and adoption and create a new shared language that champions openness, challenges labels and prejudice and creates an atmosphere of love and normalcy around non-traditional families.

Sessions Presented were as follows:

 

 

 

Foster Parent Poem…

Foster Parent Poem…

There I sat, alone and afraid,

You got a call and came right to my aid.

You bundled me up with blankets and love.

And, when I needed it most, you gave me a hug.

I learned that the world is not all that scary and cold.

That sometimes there is someone to have and to hold.

You taught me what love is, you helped me to mend.

You loved me and healed me and became my first friend.

And just when I thought you’d done all you do,

There came along not one new lesson, but two.

First, you said, “Sweetheart, you’re ready to go.

I’ve done all I can, and you’ve learned all I know”

Then you bundled me up with a blanket and a kiss.

Along came a new family, they even have kids!

They took me to their home, forever to stay.

At first, I thought you sent me away.

Then that second lesson became perfectly clear.

No matter how far, you will always be near.

And so, Foster Mom, you know I’ve moved on.

I have a new home, with toys and a lawn.

But I’ll never forget what I learned that first day.

You never really give your fosters away.

You gave me these thoughts to remember you by.

We may never meet again, and now I know why.

You’ll remember I lived with you for a time.

I may not be yours, but you’ll always be mine.

–Author Unknown

 

Attachment Parenting: Building Safety & Trust With Foster & Adopted Children/Teens by Jeanette Yoffe

Attachment Parenting: Building Safety & Trust With Foster & Adopted Children/Teens by Jeanette Yoffe

This article was published in Fostering Families Today Magazine November/December 2019

I am always thinking of ways “out of the box” and “practical tools” to help families understand the “inner world” of foster and adopted children. Because this inner world is an invisible wound that is hard to put into words for any child, due to the implicit pre-verbal experience of loss and separation. Children don’t have the developmental capacity to express the feelings, thoughts, and sensations. So, I have gone to great lengths via trainings, private psychotherapy, support groups every month, one on one coaching, and showing films to help families so they “get it.”

In 2014, Celia Center spnosored a training for foster and adoptive families in Los Angeles, from a child’s point of view in the first person, Truly, Madly Deeply Understanding Your Foster and Adopted Child. I tapped into my own inner child, as a foster youth and adoptee with the inspiration to help parents “truly, madly, deeply” feel their child’s inner life. Watch a clip HERE.

In this article, I want to share 8 pieces of parenting that I have mended, nurtured, and savored in my practice working with families today that are helpful for parenting a child with attachment trauma where the repair needs to be focused on building relationship and trust.
#1- I need you to maintain a positive affective tone that influences me, rather than letting my negative tone influence you. If you react to my “big hurt feelings”, then I will feel more powerful and want to be in control. By remaining calm… time, time, and time again, I will eventually see you as strong enough to deal with me, and my pain and I will stop testing you. Trust me!
How do you develop a positive affective tone? Rather than asking a question and expecting an answer, have an attitude of curiosity? Your tone of voice, will be higher, lighter, and calm and inviting. I will feel better and I will do better! #askanadoptee #askafosteryouth
#2- Try getting below eye level, in a relaxed posture, have empathy and tell me “I’m right here with you.” The science behind brain and behavior, says this activates an adaptive neural network and builds the executive function of the brain! -Tina Payne Bryson talks about this, she’s the Author of The Whole Brain Child.
#3- Please be aware of your non-verbal cues and how you “look to me” – eye contact, posture, tone of voice, and your timing/intensity of response. And pay attention to mine, because all my behaviors are ways of communicating unmet needs. Even if I am manipulating? That means, I don’t know how to get my needs met in a healthy way. Please show me how, rather than making me feel ashamed about this.
What’s hysterical, is historical!
#4- When you see me “act out” step back (literally take a step back!), assess- look at me and ask yourself “What is he/she trying to tell me?”, then go inside and ask yourself the following acronym, P.A.C.E. first to yourself, and then guide me with them. You do not have to do it this order, they are interchangeable ;0)
P.A.C.E.
An attachment based acronym of “attitudes” “ways of being with” your child when they have big feelings!
P3 – 1. Be Playful with U & Me- Humor is very important to create a quality of lightness an openness. Laughter builds memories of unconditional acceptance of US.
2. Be Present with U & Me. Go inside and see how you are feeling, then see if you can feel what I am feeling and ask me “I’m sensing you are feeling _________. Is that correct?” “How can I help you feel better?”
3. Be Patient with U & Me. This was not meant to be easy, my feelings are messy and the clean up isn’t always neat. It will feel bumpy, at times and then the road will feel smoother. Do this intervention to learn how to Hold Onto My Feelings
A – Have an Acceptance of U & Me, and an understanding of my behavior. My behavior represents my best effort at that time. “I am doing the best that I can.” Please accept, if you don’t this will cause you more suffering. I still need limits for unsafe situations, and direct my behavior by focusing the “teaching on the behavior,” not on me or I’ll develop shame, which won’t help either of us get along better. Trust me.
C – BE Curious. Have a nonjudgmental, “not knowing” stance to inquire about my inner life that led to my behaviors so I feel safe, that my inner life will not be criticized. If I sense your judgment, I will go hide my motives and not be able to modify my behavior. So ask me with open ended questions like …“What do you think about that?” “ “Tell me about that?” “That looks, seems difficult, tell me how does that feel for you?”
E – HAVE Empathy. Empathy must be conveyed both verbally and non verbally. 95% of communication IS NON-VERBAL. I’ve been through a lot, I know! but you don’t have to rescue me from the event or solve the problem for me. Say, “That must be SO hard for you!” “It is really hard, and you’re doing it and struggling with it.” “I’m so sorry you feel so sorry about _________.” And let me cry, I sometimes have a lot to cry about.
It’s not your fault, you are not responsible. #lifelongprocess #sigh
Adapted From the Daniel Hughe’s book, Attachment Focused Parenting
#5- I need your connection, not correction. Lectures are not effective with me because they are actually educating me to comply with “big people” rather than to develop my own meaning about a something.
It’s like giving a prosecuting attorney more information to work with!!!” Please do “storytelling” with me which conveys an “attitude of acceptance of the listener”, rather than evaluation/criticism & encourages a non-reactive response in me. Trust me, I know.” 
#6- I need to know the truth of my story….even if it is hard for you, it will be healing for me… trust me. I need to know you are strong enough to be WITH me in my pain, and still be loved.

Here’s a way to help me look at this intervention, My Family Tree.

#7- Please set expectations, chores, to-do’s based on my developmental emotional age, not chronological age, I will do better and feel better! I heard that children with attachment trauma have at least 2 years delay? So minus 2 years from my age!
#8- I need you to accept responsibility for initiating repair with me when I have my “big feelings”. If you insist I “apologize”, you are communicating that I’m responsible for the continuity of the relationship. I will then think “the relationship is not important to you and it will be highly unlikely that I will have the confidence to take the first step which will lead to a downward spiral of negative distancing and possibly ‘Take FOREVER” or…
…if I do initiate repair, I’m going to experience resentment that I had to be “a good foster kid or good adoptee” and be “sorry first” beforemy parent would welcome me back again into their mind and heart. This will effect my ability to be receptive to love. I need to be taught how to love and forgive.
When I feel love, I learn to feel my loss. When I feel forgiveness, I learn to feel empathy.
#9- I will say “I can’t” alot sometimes for my performance in school, my behaviors, or sports. This can stem from fear, worry, shame or from not knowing how to do it so I may avoid. Please reframe this “I can’t” as “I haven’t learned how yet” or “I haven’t done it yet” or “A part of me is afraid right now, in time I will grow a new part that will learn how to.” The word “scared” is vulnerable” for me, use the word “WORRIED.” “I see you are worried about this…”
#10- Please don’t withhold the following activities for discipline – Family Time, Sports, Hobbies & One-on-One time with Parents…these activities help me feel good about myself, accomplished, successful, and get me out of the “black hole of the primal wound.”
One last thing, I know “MY HURT PART” in my heart is a a part of me that is overdoing its job of protecting me from trusting a new relationship… “it keeps love away from me…”
Please accept and be curious of all of my parts so I can help organize who I am…Provide permission for emoting and externalizing. “Did you want to have your fit now about going to bed to get it out of the way?” Have me punch a pillow, rip up paper, pop bubble wrap.”
More interventions for emoting my big feelings HERE.
Thank you for being there for me. I need you more than you know!