What are some coping strategies for dealing with your child’s birth parent when they are struggling with addiction? Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national adoption & foster care education and support nonprofit, interviews Kate Cleary, Executive Director of Consortium for Kids. She is a social worker, an adult adoptee whose mother was addicted, and she has helped negotiate over 40,000 post-adoption openness agreements for kids transitioning out of foster care.

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Hit the Highlights
  • The nature of addiction.
  • If you could summarize into just one of two key points for adoptive and foster parents:
    • Dealing with your own grief that the relationship isn’t what you want
    • Don’t expect them to change – accept them as they are. They aren’t like you.
  • How to handle things when birth parent shows up for a meeting with child high or stoned?
  • How to handle things when birth parents who are addicted fail to show up for meetings with adoptive family and child?
  • How to set healthy boundaries with birth parents who are addicted? How to set these boundaries when you have an open adoption with a birth parent dealing with addiction?
  • How to avoid becoming an enabler? Nar-Anon, Al-Anon, etc. are good places to get educated.
  • Suggestions for ways to maintain the spirit of openness even if you feel the need to reduce contact?
  • Don’t make changes written in stone. People heal.
  • Issues in foster care for foster parents working with birth parents who are addicted.
  • Explaining drug addiction of birth parents to children. When? How?
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[/sws_blue_box] Image credit: ECraig4