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Race & Adoption Part 3: Mentoring the mentor


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Through the decades the adoptee community is both diverse as it is a powerful place to gather, learn, and support one another. You are a part of the next generation of adoptee leadership! This final installment to this three part series. We will explore what qualities make an influential leader within our community and beyond. We will also examine important factors to consider when you mentor younger adoptees. This final webinar will put what you have learned together.

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Race & Adoption Part 3: Mentoring the mentor

  1. 1. 12/2/2018 1 z We are a People Melanie Chung-Sherman, LCSW-S, LCPAA, PLLC z z z Objectives Gain Gain new insights when engaging younger adoptees Define Define characteristics of leadership Highlight Highlight some current issues impacting the Korean Adoptee Community Explore Explore history of Korean Adoptee Leadership & Importance of Mirrors/Mentors z Disclaimer z ▪ This will focus specifically on the Korean adoptee community. ▪ We have so many incredible leaders and organizations within our community and around the world, unfortunately I cannot name them all, but I am thankful for each of them. ▪ There will be some issues that we will address within our community that, due to time, I have had to truncate/shorten, but each is equally important. I will leave a list of websites/resources at the end of the workshop. ▪ Thank you for your time, inquiries, and passion. ▪ Thank you for your heart to lead and guide the next generation of adoptees. You are doing incredible work!
  2. 2. 12/2/2018 2 z zz Understanding our History z Never Forget Who Your People Are z ▪ Honor those before. ▪ Honor those during. ▪ Honor those after. ▪ Honor the supporters. ▪ Honor the naysayers. ▪ Honor yourself. ▪ Honor the process. z KADs are a People Scholars Social Workers Engineers Attorneys Medical Doctors Teachers Researchers Activists Nurses Artists Athletes Actors Film makers Therapists Journalists Parents Grandparents Spouses/Partners
  3. 3. 12/2/2018 3 z z Our History: 1955 - Today z z Korean Adoptions z ▪ Harry Holt circa 1955 ▪ 1950s-1960s: Racial diaspora and extraction of biracial Korean children (by 1960s monoracial Korean adoptees placed) ▪ 1970s – 1980s: known as “Cadillac” adoption process by PAPs and Aps (height of placement) ▪ 1990s: decrease in placements, Korean adoptees visiting Korea, rise in male placements ▪ 2000s: increase of special needs placements ▪ 2012: Korean adoptees influence/changefederal child placing policies ▪ Estimated 177,000 Korean adoptees placed around the world z z Chung, Chae Hee C-1942 Circa 1977 z
  4. 4. 12/2/2018 4 z We Come from People: Our History in Leadership ▪ 1996: Also-Known-As, Inc (AKA) founded by KADs for KADs ▪ 1998: GOAL established in S. Korea by adoptees (Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link) ▪ 1999: First Gathering of Korean Adoptees (Washington, D.C.) ▪ 2004: IKAA established in Europe and later in the U.S. (International Korean AdopteeAssociation) ▪ 2011: Connect-A-Kid ▪ 2015: 325KAMRAestablished by Korean adoptees to distribute and connect KADs and first families ▪ 2015: Adoptee Rights Campaign established by international adoptees and allies ▪ 2017: I AM Adoptee established by Korean adoptees ▪ Numerous adoptee blogs, websites, films, galleries, and online and in-person support groups z zz The Gathering 1999 z First Gathering of Korean Adoptees Washington D.C., Sept. 10-12, 1999 ▪ Korean adoptees born between 1952-1978 ▪ 400+ in attendance ▪ Korean adoptees from 30 states and across Europe ▪ First international gathering of Korean adoptees ▪ Reinforced and inspired growing activism, research, policy, and practice changes within international adoption
  5. 5. 12/2/2018 5 z z Influential Adoptee Works (There are so many—this list is not exhaustive, but a start) Cultural Reclamation of Our History and Experiences z z z First Person Plural (2000) z z zz Adopted (2008)
  6. 6. 12/2/2018 6 z zz “Approved for Adoption” (2013) z zz “AKA Dan” (2014) z zz Side by Side (2018)
  7. 7. 12/2/2018 7 z z Adoption Museum Project (2011-current) z z z Korean Adoption History by Korean Adoptees z z z Seminal Books by Korean Adoptees (1997-2003) z
  8. 8. 12/2/2018 8 z z Korean Adoptee Works 2003-2018 z z zz Clinical Work Exploring Teenhood (2017) z Connect-A-Kid Mentorship ▪ You being here is already a sign that you want to make a positive change! ▪ Your voice, perspective, and insight is so valuable. ▪ What interestedyou in becoming a mentor? ▪ What do you wish you had when you were growing up as an adoptee? ▪ What are your strengths and limitations?
  9. 9. 12/2/2018 9 z zz Let’s Talk About Some Issues Impacting our Community z Unique Issues Impacting our Community ▪ Suicide Attempts and Death ▪ Adoptee Citizenship Act (Adoptees Rights Campaign) ▪ Racism and Microaggressions ▪ Bullying ▪ Interracial Dating, Partnership, & Marriage ▪ Dissolution and Rehoming ▪ Mental Health Issues ▪ Gaining access to birth records and information ▪ Returning to Birth Country ▪ DNA databases for KADs z zz Adoptee Citizenship Act
  10. 10. 12/2/2018 10 z DNA and Birth Information ▪ KAMRA323 ▪ Advent of locating biological relatives ▪ Closed adoption no longer exists as it had before ▪ Most require 13 years old + ▪ Adoptees deserve access to informed consent ▪ Consider how information is used—what are costs and benefits? z Laws and Policies that Protect Kids/Teens: Bullying z Higher Risk for Sexual Harassment and Assault ▪ Female adoptees of color ▪ LGBTQIA adoptees, particularly TRAs ▪ Young adoptees coming of age ▪ High school adoptees afraid of upsetting or fearing rejection z z Suicide and the Adoption Community z
  11. 11. 12/2/2018 11 z Suicide Warning Signs (American Psychological Association, 2017) ▪ Talks about committing suicide ▪ Has trouble eating or sleeping ▪ Exhibits drastic changes in behavior ▪ Withdrawsfrom friends or social activities ▪ Loses interest in school, work or hobbies ▪ Prepares for death by writing a will and making final arrangements ▪ Gives away prized possessions ▪ Has attempted suicide before or has family member who has ▪ Has recently experienced serious losses ▪ Seems preoccupied with death and dying ▪ Loses interest in his or her personal appearance ▪ Increases alcohol or drug use. z z Unique Issues for Adoptees Perfectionism Fear of abandonment and rejection from peers/loved ones Undiagnosed mental health challenges Mistrust of others (may not share openly) Living with Disabilities (invisible and visible) Isolation from racial mirrors & mentors (constant bullying/ostracism) LGBTQIA (potential fear of rejection from adopt family, community, birth culture, and adoptees) z When to get help… z ▪ Talk of hurting self or others (no matter how innocent it appears) ▪ Anytime a plan is mentioned ▪ Discussion that they are afraid to go to certain activities, environments ▪ Sharing about any abuse or neglect by any one ▪ When your “gut” just says something is off –it usually is.
  12. 12. 12/2/2018 12 z What to do if someone is suicidal? z ▪ Don’t be afraid to ask if they are thinking of hurting/killing themselves. ▪ Take it very seriously. It is a sign of depression, not a bid for attention. ▪ Just because a child is young does not meant that he or she is not capable of harming themselves. ▪ Tell them that you believe them and want to help them. ▪ Let them know that you will need to inform others about any suicidal or abusive behavior. ▪ Have a list of trusted people you can call immediately if you or your mentee is in crisis. Do not wait. z z Pandora’s Box ▪ Where do you hurt the most? ▪ How can I help? ▪ What keeps you safe? ▪ One connection can change a life. z z Suicide Awareness & Education Who are the licensed professionals in your area? What referral sources do you know of?
  13. 13. 12/2/2018 13 z z Leadership and Mentoring It is critical for transracial adoptees to have on-going exposure to racial mirrors and mentors—particularlyother TRAs. z z What Characteristics Make a Quality Leader? z ▪ Desire to Be Emotionally Present ▪ Listening ▪ Follow-Through ▪ Confidence ▪ Curiosity/Flexibility ▪ Empathy ▪ Accountability z What are the unique qualities of adoptee leadership? z ▪ Lived Experience ▪ Shared Experience ▪ Racial mirrors/mentors ▪ Modeling leadership ▪ Healthy Boundaries ▪ Internal awareness of specific issues
  14. 14. 12/2/2018 14 z What are the challenges? z ▪ Assumptions that we already know what an issue is ▪ Unchecked bias ▪ Not confronting our own adoption-related needs ▪ Trying to fix what was not fixed for ourselves ▪ Overcompensating/Undercompensating ▪ Lack of mental health training ▪ Time and resources z Assumptions z ▪ Believing something is true without proof or verification ▪ How have assumptions about your life, adoption, race, or abilities affect you? ▪ Why would this be an issue when you are mentoring? z When to Seek Professional Guidance z ▪ Suicidal Thoughts or Feelings ▪ Child Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation ▪ Domestic Violence (including harassment at school/home/community) ▪ Substance abuse ▪ Self-harming behaviors (cutting, mutilating, hitting) ▪ Running away/truancy ▪ Depression, anxiety, or other possible mental health issues ▪ Personal feelings of overwhelm, too involved with a case
  15. 15. 12/2/2018 15 z Things to Consider ▪ Ensure your mentee understands what you can and cannot do. ▪ If you are not licensed, you should not be providing specific services such as counseling or intervention. It is important to check state/local/federal guidelines. ▪ Do not promise what you cannot deliver. ▪ Mentors are in a place of power. Be mindful. ▪ Counseling for yourself, if needed. z No-Nos z ▪ Sexually inappropriate behavior/communication of any kind ▪ Sharing mentee’s private/confidential information (including posting on social media, verbally, etc.) ▪ Not reporting possible child abuse/neglect concerns to authorities ▪ Not seeking consult and assistance if there is a suicidal outcry/attempt ▪ You cannot diagnose or treat mental or physical health issues. Even if you are a licensed professional, you must ensure you adhere to your role as a CAK mentor and licensing body.
  16. 16. 12/2/2018 16 z Creating Safe Spaces z ▪ Trust-based ▪ Takes time and patience ▪ You don’t have to have all the answers. ▪ Showing up is everything. ▪ Freedom to share what mentees may be too afraid to share with others openly. z Self Care is Self Compassion z ▪ How do you take care of your needs? ▪ Who is your support system? ▪ What fills you up? ▪ What are your favorite hobbies? Activities that have nothing to do with adoption? ▪ Self compassion is essential. z Reclaiming Self Changing/integrating birth name into legal name Re-identifying and associating with adoptee culture/community Living, studying, or visiting birth country Engaging and creating new friendships and social circles outside predominantly white enclaves Educating oneself about the systemic impacts of racism/oppression “Pulling away”/interdependent from adoptive family in search for integrated identity
  17. 17. 12/2/2018 17 z Social Justice Commitment z ▪ How will you commit to individual and community-based acts of social justice? ▪ What books, blogs, podcasts, and resources will help you with this process? ▪ What have you tried already? ▪ What would you be willing to consider? z Thank you for your time! z This has been dedicated to those who have come before…and to those who will follow. Remember where we have come and the work we have yet to accomplish—individually, collaboratively, and with the help of allies. This cannot be done alone.
  18. 18. 12/2/2018 18 z Resources ▪ Connect-A-Kid, Inc: ▪ Also-Known-As, Inc: ▪ I AM Adoptee: ▪ KAS (Korean Adoption Services): ▪ 325Kamra: (DNA database for KADs) ▪ KAAN: ▪ GOAL: ▪ IKAA: ▪ Adoption Museum Project: ▪ Side by Side Documentary: