We have spent hours researching how to help our children. Below are a few of the resources that have helped us over the years.
Adoption/Mental Health Resources
- National Foster Parent Association Training Institute – On demand training for anyone (membership not required). Searchable by topic.
- EMDR – psychotherapy treatment for trauma that has been wildly effective for both our families.
- Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) – Learn about ACEs and take the quiz yourself here. The economic and social costs to families, communities, and society totals hundreds of billions of dollars each year. A 10% reduction in ACEs in North America could equate to an annual savings of $56 billion.
- Neurofeedback – Shelley wishes she had found neurofeedback when her children were young, because it helped them so much. One child had been diagnosed with ADHD and taken medication for years. After a neurofeedback scan, we realized she had very little ADHD but anxiety and insomnia off-the-charts. ADHD meds make anxiety worse. Mom guilt forever. Bought some over the counter anxiety supplements and a weighted blanket, and she slept soundly for the first time in her life.
- Parenting The Hurt Child: Helping Adoptive Families Heal And Grow
- Adopting The Hurt Child: Hope For Families With Special-Needs Kids: A Guide For Parents And Professionals
- Dr. Daniel Hughes – Dr. Hughes is an expert in Reactive Attachment Disorder, and his theories are what were successfully used in in-patient and outpatient psychiatric care with Shelley’s child.
- Attaching In Adoption: Practical Tools For Today’s Parents
- When Love Is Not Enough: A Guide To Parenting With RAD-Reactive Attachment Disorder
- The Connected Child: Bring Hope And Healing To Your Adoptive Family and Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at TCU – Dr. Purvis’ Trust Based Relational Intervention
- DDP Network
- Healing The Shame That Binds You
- The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, Body and the Healing of Trauma
- The Explosive Child: A New Approach For Understanding And Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children
- Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete Authoritative Guide For Parents
- 12 Principles For Raising A Child With ADH
- US Department of Education Guide to the Individualized Education Program (IEP)
- Understanding Special Ed
- Educational Assistance for Adopted People
- Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program – up to $5,000 for education expenses.
- National Foster Parent Association Scholarship – $500 scholarships
- Horatio Alger Assocation – over 70 programs that specifically assist high school students who have faced and overcome great obstacles in their young lives. While many programs are directed primarily to recognizing academic achievement or leadership potential, the Horatio Alger Association seeks students who have exhibited determination, integrity, and perseverance in overcoming adversity, as well as have critical financial need.
- Umps Care Scholarship – awards scholarships of varying amounts to young people who were adopted later in life.
- Scholarships.org Foster Care Scholarships
- Foster Care Alumni of America Scholarship
- Foster Care To Success: America’s College Fund for Foster Youth
- Holt Adoptee Contest ($500)
- Adoption Star Scholarships
- Family Fellowship – scholarships and support for young people aging out of foster care.
- International Student Foundation – scholarships for young people aging out of foster care.
- David E. Ballard Scholarship – $10,000 for students who have experienced homelessness or been in foster care and who are pursuing a career in live entertainment.
- Nick and Helena Patti Foundation Scholarship – $6,500 for students who have experienced foster care.
- Quell Foundation Scholarships – Scholarships for students with a diagnosed mental health condition as well as scholarships for students pursuing careers in mental health.
Legislation & Policy Resources/Advocacy
Favorite Kids Books
- Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You – We love this gorgeous, reassuring book.
- Have You Filled A Bucket Today: A Guide For Daily Happiness For Kids – This book allows kids and caregivers to have a common vocabulary about actions that hurt or help. “Are you filling your bucket with what you just said/did?” helps everyone to understand what and reconsider their actions. It’s also a great way to compliment a positive action with, “Wow, you really filled that person’s bucket!”
- The Seven Habits Of Happy Kids
- March: Book One – Shelley bought this at the Newseum. Great, authentic, accessible way to learn about the Civil Rights movement from one of its leaders.
- The Survival Guide For Kids with ADHD
- What To Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety
- It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, Gender, and Sexual Health
- It’s Not The Stork!: A Book About Boys, Girls, Babies, Bodies, Families, and Friends
- Worrywart Wes – Thanks to Villager Lauren Zeligson for this one.
- I Miss You: Grief and Mental Health Books for Kids – Thanks to Villager bizzybizzy247 for this one.
Marriage & Relationship Resources
It turns out marriage is hard, especially when you’re raising tricky kids. The divorce rate of people who adopt is much higher than the already high rate of the general population. These are resources Shelley and her husband (so nice, she married him twice!) have used.
Miscellaneous “Make Your Life Easier” Resources
- The Best Slow Cooker Cookbook Ever – Not one condensed soup recipe here.
- Textured Tresses: The Ultimate Guide To Maintaining And Styling Natural Hair
- Mealime app – Shelley loves this app. Select any diet choices your family has, and this app will crank out a meal plan with an accompanying grocery list, every week. The recipes are easy to follow and interruption proof.
- One-use sized personal care products for those of you whose kids (like ours) can use a whole bottle of soap in one shower. Go Essentials, Thanks to Villager, Lori Decter-Wright for this!
Miscellaneous Parenting Resources
Miscellaneous Life Changing Authors
- Brene Brown – We both love Brene Brown. Shelley began reading Brene Brown’s books because of her shame research and ended up learning more about herself than about her kids.
- Pema Chodron – Shelley has read Pema Chodron’s books for 10+ years, and finds something new every time she picks one up.
- Glennon Doyle – Inspiring women to stop being small and take charge of their lives, because they are God damned cheetahs.
- Witnessing Whiteness: The Need To Talk About Race And How To Do It
- I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Bi-Racial Children In A Race-Conscious World
- When You’re Accustomed to Privilege, Equality Feels Like Oppression
- Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person
- 11 Ways White American Avoids Taking Responsibility for its Racism
- We Are One Body: White Christians, Time To Get in the Game
- Racism is not a Mental Illness
Resources on Race for Educators
We are very thankful for the many educators who have very patiently listened when we explained our kids’ unique needs. We are even more thankful for the teachers who told us midway through the year that they thought we were nuts when we described our kids’ behavior but had finally seen what we’d been describing! Here are the few resources we’ve found for helping traumatized kids in the classroom. We hope it grows over time, because as we ask more and more of our teachers, this is becoming one of our country’s biggest issues. Shelley is especially intrigued by the implementation of Restorative Justice in major school districts, and the drastic reduction in suspensions those districts have seen.
Great Adoption/Attachment Stories/Blogs
Resources by State
- Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation Scholarship
- Arizona Assocation for Foster and Adoptive Parents
- Cut it Forward – non-profit providing culturally specific hair and skin care resources for foster and adopted youth of color, and their caregivers.
- Parents Helping Parents – Through a network of communities, Parents Helping Parents, Inc., provides education, resources, shared experiences and support to parents whose children, no matter the age, are struggling with substance use disorder.
- Oklahoma City Community Foundation Scholarships – The Donna and Harry Kornbaum scholarship ($3,000) may give preference to those formerly in foster care; The Kirschner Scholarship Program awards scholarships in varying amounts to young people who have lost both of their parents; or live independently from their parents (examples: emergency or transitional housing, hotel/motel, vehicle, park, campground, alone or without an adult caregiver, etc.); or are currently living in foster care; or who qualify under the McKinney-Vento Act; The Oklahoma Youth With Promise Scholarship awards scholarships in varying amounts to young people who have been in the foster care system; The Dr. Edith King Mental Health Scholarship ($2,000) is for those pursuing a graduate degree that will further a career in mental health services and preference is given to applicants committed to working with juveniles or applicants pursuing degrees or certification at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
- OK Independent Living Act Foster Care Tuition Waiver
- Foster Care and Adoption Association of Oklahoma
- Oklahoma City Community College Fostering Higher Education Scholarship ($1,500)
- Oregon Foster Youth Connection
- Chaffee Education and Training Grant – up to $5,000 for current or former foster youth.
- Attachment disorders, including Reactive Attachment Disorder.
- Emotional Labor – this term was originally coined in 1983 to describe the requirements of “putting on a happy face” within a job, and has since broadened to mean lots of things including the emotional labor of people of color, LGBTQ+, or people with disabilities to “fit” into society. We use it to describe the many ways in which people raising Tricky Kids have to show one emotion while feeling something different and/or the work it takes to keep all the balls in the air.
- Hypervigilance – the elevated state of constantly assessing potential threats around you.
- PTSD – a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event – either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. May also include Complex PTSD.
- Tricky Kids – Stefanie coined this term. Tricky Kids are kids whose behaviors or innate characteristics make our world a tough fit for them.