Where a child came from is an important part of his/her life story. The history of an adopted child and connections to the past cannot and should not be ignored. It is an important part of a child’s identity. This is more easily navigated with the support of adoptive parents.
ASCS supports all forms or permanency for children and youth. This could be legal guardianship, kinship care, alternate care, or adoption. We also believe and support the fact that children should be provided with age-appropriate information about their history. This will look different for each and every child and family.
The ideal situation is for children/youth to remain with their family of origin or home community, however this is not always possible. Therefore, when children come into a family through adoption, it is imperative that adoptive parent(s) honour and respect their child’s culture of origin.
We support families in understanding the value of honouring their child’s ethnic/birth culture. We believe adoptive families should feel secure in exploring cultural connections in their area. In domestic adoption situations where adoptive families may know the community their child is from, we encourage and can assist in reaching out and making connections. It will serve your child well to have mentors of the same ethnic background (racial mirrors) and have people in their child/ren’s life/lives who they can identify with as being similar to them. These mentors can provide education and experiences rooted in the birth culture. A lack of cultural understanding in adoptive families may prevent healthy growth and identity development/formation.
Prospective adoptive persons are provided education on the importance of cultural connections for children. All domestic adoptions in Saskatchewan follow the PRIDE training protocols which focus on fostering and maintaining the cultural identity of the child, among many other important aspects of forming a family through adoption. Building a positive sense of identity and well-being in all children is supported by a family who is willing to engage in this journey with a child. We encourage prospective adoptive and adoptive families to explore more information on how to support cultural identity.
In this article, AFABC explores how families and professionals can work together to support adopted Aboriginal kids.