Empowered Transition Theory_ Practice_ and Models _Part 1_

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Empowered Transition Theory_ Practice_ and Models _Part 1_ Powered By Docstoc
					    Managing Transition:
Building Adoptions That Work

                Maris H. Blechner, M Ed, LCSW
                    Little Neck, New York
     Today’s Plan

• Who are you and who am I?

• What we want to accomplish

• Handouts? - Questions?
 What is “transition” anyway
…..and why is it so important?

   • a specific time-frame

   • lots of danger/minefields

   • many variables involved
What are some variables
  within transition?
• local versus distant placements
• moving from a foster home versus
   moving from an institution
• moving to a stranger versus kin

• the “team” surrounding a child
Let’s step back a step, and look
 at some adoption realities…
1. Are there different types of adoptive families that
  impact upon successful adoptive placement?

2. Given the reality of approved families, and the histories
   of the children moving to adoption, are there minimum
   requirements necessary for any protective adoptive
   placement process?

3. What are some ways to minimize disruptions?
Approved Families

(1) The “Committed”

(2) The “Well-intentioned”

(3) The “Entitled”
The “Committed” Families
• People who grow……and learn.

• People who follow through and hold
  on……claiming the child as their own.

• (What is adoption anyway - if not a
 What Adoption is not:

athe day in court (that’s the finalization!!)

athe paperwork (that’s following the rules)

aa getting-together of equals, like marriage
    What is Adoption?
aA decision made by an adult

aIn a discrete moment in time

aPermanent, irrevocable, and
  unconditional (like all parenthood)

aAn emotional claiming

aA true life-cycle event, like birth
   Committed families finalize their
adoptions - because they have claimed
             their children.

 Note: Sometimes there are those who
find themselves unable to “connect” to a
particular child (the “mismatched”), but go
on to successfully adopt a different child.
The “Well-intentioned” Families

• The “Fantasizers”

• The “Under-estimators”

• The “Life-stylers”

• The “Eccentrics”
    The “Entitled” Families
• They are the center of their universe……and not open
  to change.
• “I am owed” is their mantra.

• They are “blamers.”

• They cannot tolerate a transition process.

• They will always disrupt.

• The only cases where the children will end transition.*
                                 *(except the “Deceivers”)
The Children Being Placed
• The multiply rejected:
    A) by their birth family,
    B) by one, and often more than one, foster home.

• A small minority of the children who were available
for adoption. They require special planning, beyond
the typical ways children are moved into adoption.
Above all, these children need to be protected from
disruption and its consequences.
        Transition Process
• The protocol used to move children from their
  foster placements into adoptive homes.
• It is, above all, a protected period of time for
  a child and a family to do the work each
  needs to do in order to enter an adoption that
  all of us - child, family, and agency - can trust
  will be permanent, unconditional, and
   Empowered Transition : The structure

   for that protected period of time.
   Top 3 Goals of
Empowered Transition               TM

     1. Protection
     2. Protection
     3. Protection!
* Protection for the child
* Protection for the family (and
    sometimes from the family)
* Protection for the referring agency
   How does the Empowered Transition
   accomplish these goals of protection?

    By correcting the imbalance of power
  intrinsic within any adult-child relationship.
  (Adoption, always a relationship between
   adult parent and child, is built upon that
   imbalance of power.)

   The balancing of power occurs with the
empowerment of the child which, paradoxically,
       equally empowers the family.
• The idea of “maybe” is the most important
  concept we can give to children and to
  families. Nothing we can do will protect the
  children more. It is the truth: maybe the
  family will adopt the child, or maybe they

• “Maybe” is the foundation of empowerment.
    Maximizing Empowerment
• Time: Commit to open-ended time frame: no deadlines.
• Transition Teams: One worker for the child; one for the

• Control: We insist that the child make a conscious
  decision about whether to be adopted by the family.

• Establish a structure of clearly defined measures of
  progress in meeting the challenges of transition. We call
  that structure: the Steps of Empowered TransitionTM.
How To Construct An Adoption Ceremony

• The formal recognition of the claim, the “discrete
   moment in time.”

• The place to sign special individualized papers.

• The creation of an adoption “Rite of Passage.”

• Pictures, refreshments, and celebration are all
    part of the ceremony.
     The Adoption Covenant:
A Tool for Defining Responsibility
 • Covenants are “agreements” or “contracts of

 • These are initiated by the adoptive parent(s)
    and responded to by the child.

 • They are read at the ceremony and signed by
    the parties involved.
Major Points to Remember:
* Approved families fall into three general categories.
* All of the children have been multiply rejected and are
* The goal of any transition process is to protect from
     disruption and its consequences.

* Empowered Transition corrects for the inherent
     imbalance of power between the children and families.

* The concept of “maybe-families” is the best possible
     protection for the children, the families, and the
     referring agencies.
Still more worry about:
• Who has prepared the new family?

• Things are not always what they seem.

• How long does it take for a child to heal?

• Who has warned the new family about
interference and lack of understanding by
friend and neighbors, and relatives?
   Workshop Wrap Up

     • Questions, please!

     • Technical support; where to get
more information

     • Thank you!


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