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In November of 2008, we started this site with a single goal. We wanted parents to find a safe place to support each other. Six years later, we have had over 400 new posts. There have been over 700 responses to those posts. So many great conversations where we have helped each other.

We're getting ready to try and improve your experience as parents. So, I'm posting to find out what features you'd like to see on the site and why!

Help a Foster Kid Go To College

Surfing on CNN, I came across this article on kids in the Foster System and University. A shocking 2% of kids from foster care in the USA go to University. Why? They often miss out on formative experiences that give them the tools that they need to cope. It makes total sense to me that this would be the case. Kids who live through multiple traumas and are re-damaged over and over again live in a "fight or flight" world. Their brains haven't developed properly and the organizational skills often lack.

Jana Trantow - This is why foster kids are the cool kids. - Ignite Boulder 14

A friend of mine, who was in the foster care system, shared her thoughts and insights recently at Ignite in Boulder. Ignite gives you 5 minutes to do a slide show presentation about some topic. She chose to talk about why foster kids are cool.

Simple Pleasures - Bonding with Your FostAdopt Child

When working with a Child of Trauma, keeping things simple and non-stressful is critical aiding in the bonding process. Sometimes this might simply be sitting on the couch watching tv. You can also engage in simple card or board games. Getting down on the floor and playing with your child is a great way to bond as well.

I like doing things out of doors. You need to be fairly far away from the hustle and bustle of traffic and people - kids who have traumatic backgrounds often have difficulty focusing when there is a lot going on around him or her. So, what do you do out in the middle of a field? What can seemingly be magical but is relatively easy to do?

Head to the local dollar store or the grocery store. The cheap $4 kites fly remarkably well and are inexpensive enough that you won't care if they get destroyed.

Off Topic - Become a Bone Marrow Donor

I'm a 10 year+ survivor of cancer. I was lucky that a great deal of research had been put into my disease. I was also lucky because it was caught really early.

A dear friend of mine has a nephew named Nico who has been fighting acute lymphocytic leukemia for 6 years or half his life. My friend is trying to get the word out to encourage folks to get tested for the bone marrow registry and so I agreed to post a blog post and ask for your help. You see, his options have been dwindling as he's continued to battle the disease leaving him with one option left - a bone marrow transplant. A few minutes of your time and you can be tested by the bone marrow registry to see if you are a match.

So far, no one on the international bone marrow registry is a match for Nico. Would you consider registering and potentially save his life, or another like him? it's quick, and easy to do. Simply log on to http://www.dkmsamericas.org/ or call 1-866-340-3567, They’ll mail you a kit. Swab your cheek and mail it back. Of course, if you can donate $, it would be great to help defray lab costs, but the service is FREE.

Nico's donor match may come from ANY ethnicity but because there are so few Asian/part-Asians registered, if you fit this category, another site also offers the cheek swab kit and online registration for free. You can go to Asian American Donor Program http://www.aadp.org/

Transitions

shiftThink about looking down a dark alley or into an unfamiliar space where you can't see all the way into the corners of the room. Think about your last job interview. Think about your first day of school. Your first date. A trip to the doctor when you don't quite know what's wrong with you.

All these things evoke fear.

We are wired to be frightened of things unknown. Many thousands of years this was infused into our being to ensure we didn't get eaten by some much larger critter.

We all know what it feels like to fear something we are unsure of.

Now spend a little bit imagining what it would be like to be a little kid from a traumatic background. You have no control over your life. You might have a father who does drugs - perhaps he smacks your mother around while you watch or listen. Perhaps your mother isn't reliable either - she doesn't feed you regularly and perhaps has lots of different men over to your home. Possibly you get hit for no real good reason like spilling a little milk or having an accident. Maybe your parent just don't pay any attention to you at all, leaving you at home alone and you never really know when they are going to come home.

Seasons of Lights

chatfield lightsAny kind of activity you can engage in that brings you closer to your child is excellent when dealing with the Child of Trauma. Walking in the out of doors is always a good way to spend quiet contemplative time with a kid and allow you to talk or not talk as the case may be. It allows you to be present and often just being present is what a fostadopt child needs.

The average "normal" parent in the United States spends just 10 minutes of quality time with his or her child per day. The benefits of spending much more time than that builds trust, helps a child regulate, and brings parents and children closer to relationship.

Spend the time to love your children, it will make a world of difference in how they relate to you and to others.

In Metro Denver, you could go for a walk at the Botanic Gardens near Chatfield and just enjoy the lights, taking the opportunity to just "be".

Happy Anniversary TraumaAdoption.org!

Well, today is a day to celebrate! TraumaAdoption has turned two years old. What started as a labour of love two a little over two years ago - a way to create a virtual support group amongst folks all around the world - has become a little supportive community.

We chose November 1st to launch the site because it was the first day of "National Adoption Month". We thought it would be fitting to share the day.

Activities and Bonding

Seemingly small actions can have a huge effect on your relationship with your child. Special events can help play into these small actions. When ever you possibly can, take time to do things with your child. If you're a guy and you don't like to play with Barbies, perhaps you could colour a picture with your little girl.

Fear

Climbers and outdoorsmen will tell you that fear is the killer when you are in a dangerous situation. Yoda said, "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

Bryan Post would say that all bad behaviours in our Children of Trauma are based in fear. Fear that was brought on by early childhood trauma whether that trauma be  physical, sexual, or verbal or if was based in neglect. These children are forced into survival mode - they become hyper vigilant - and the whole world is hostile and dangerous. Imagine that for a moment - every person and event feels like it is potentially life threatening. Normal is chaotic. Normal is unbalanced. Normal is loud and dangerous.